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With a significant cut in its impairment charges (which translates into a clean loan book) in its 1Q, 2022 results, after it successfully brought down its non-performing loan to 6.1 per cent in 2021 full year performance, analysts say the repeat of the impressive performance of FirstBank in the first quarter did not only show the consistency in its rebound, but that it demonstrated the fact that the recovery is real.










For the shareholders of the Nigerian banking behemoth, FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, it is a season of celebration and a period to shower praises on the board and management of the bank for successfully working its way back into reckoning, after a long period of operational challenges mostly blamed on rising cases of non-performing loans.










The shareholders, who joined other stakeholders of the bank and its parent company, FBN Holdings Plc., in appraising its first-quarter 2022 results made public last week, said it is a great relief that the organisation has put the issue of non-performing loans behind it.










According to them, the outstanding results for the bank’s full-year 2021 is an appetiser to the first-quarter 2022 results and that the repeat of impressive results for the first quarter did not only show the consistency of its restructuring but that it demonstrated the fact that the recovery is real.


The founder and pioneer National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association, Sunny Nwosu, in an interview with THISDAY, at the weekend, said the management of FirstBank deserves praise for working the bank back to profitability and clean loan book.











He believes the ability of the FBNHoldings, the parent company, to significantly cut the exposure to non-performing loans to 6.1 percent showed that the bank has shut the door against future delinquent debtors, a development he said will consolidate the bank.












Nwosu said many of the shareholders were pleasantly surprised first, by the performance in the 2021 full results, saying the first quarter 2022 results came as a confirmation of the readiness of the bank to take its leadership position in the nation’s banking industry.










“Considering all the provisions they had made in the past two years and for them to have come out clean shows it is not a bad result and for them to have agreed to pay 35 kobo dividend to shareholders, it is encouraging because most shareholders did not know the company was going to pay anything, especially with all the challenges going on in the economy.











“We are indeed excited that they have been able to bring down non-performing loans, which means they will have more money to do business with and I’m quite sure they will be more careful this time when it comes to giving out loans,” Nwosu stated.









He maintained that FirstBank can still return to the leadership position in the Nigerian banking industry, saying the current leadership should keep an eye on the business and encourage the staff with a good incentive to compete in the industry.











Analysts said the bank has remained dazzling in virtually all its performance metrics, a development they attributed to the NPL improvements which restored investors’ confidence. And success with NPL means the quality of assets is bound to rise.









An analysis of the bank performance gleaned from the group Q1, 2022 results showed that its exposure to bad loans has substantially reduced given the fact that the amount set aside as impairment charges has come down from N13.175 billion in the first quarter of 2021 to N8.75billion in 1Q 2022.









In the period under review, First Bank of Nigeria Limited recorded gross earnings of N170.4 billion, up by 33 per cent as against N128.1billion in the previous year.










The bank’s net interest income was put at N72.9 billion, a 42.1 per cent from N51.3 billion generated in the same period of 2021, while non-interest income was N58.8 billion, up by 21.7 per cent from the 2021 figure.








Profit After Tax for the first quarter of 2022 was N31billion, whereas N16.3 billion was the figure declared for 1Q, 2021. The bank declared total assets of N8.8 trillion, a 3.5 per cent rise from N8.5 trillion in the preceding year.










To show the bank was in a serious business of lending, its customers’ loans and advances (net) totaled N2.999 trillion, up by 5.8 per cent, year-to-date as of December 2021, which was put at N2.835 trillion, while customers’ deposits were N5.9 trillion, as against N5.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, a 5.4 per cent increase.


Analysts believed the recent turnaround and improvement in the Non-performing loans of First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) have been a major boost in the bank’s quest to reinforce its leadership in the financial services industry in Nigeria.

For instance, it has been observed that the current leadership of its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adesola Adeduntan has been instrumental in building stakeholders’ confidence and trust in the bank’s financial viability with analysts left to ponder and perhaps, understudy the pace of such feat has been achieved. They said answers to these have been provided by the bank’s consistent improvements in its Non-performing Loans (NPL) ratio and position.

For instance, by June 2020, when improvements were noted in the bank’s NPL ratio, the NPL ratio stood at 8.8 per cent. By March 2021, this figure had impressively dwindled to 7.9 per cent, and going by the 2021 results, the figure only stood at 6.1 per cent.

Non-performing loans, or ‘NPLs’, are bank loans that are subject to late repayment or are unlikely to be repaid by the borrower. The inability of borrowers to pay back their loans was aggravated during the financial crisis and the subsequent recessions.

For a bank that was almost brought to its knees by the burden of non-performing loans, it came as a great relief to both the shareholders and the regulatory authorities that for the first time in a long while, FirstBank’s NPLs came down to 6.1 per cent, a significant progress for the bank when compared to other Tier 1 banks and the regulatory threshold of 5.0 per cent.

Analysts also attributed the significant fall in the NPL rates from 40 in 2016 to 6.5 per cent in 2021, to a new culture of corporate governance currently in place in the group and which has successfully revamped the company’s risk management capabilities.

According to the bank, the recent turnaround and improvement in the non-performing loans have been a major boost in FirstBank’s quest to improve profitability and reinforce its leadership in the financial services industry in Nigeria.

Analysts said with the impressive results for its 2021 operations, the board and management of FBN have proven to the investing community that the company is ready to take its leadership role in the nation’s banking sector and that the years of locusts have been put behind the institution.


For a sector already under pressure as a result of a sluggish economy, a challenging operating environment, and increased competitive intensity, the year 2022 came with a lot of fears for the Nigerian banking industry.

As economic realities dawned on Nigerians, especially in a pre-election year, many investors struggled to get decently priced loans in Nigerian banks, and their plight is not helped when a bank is risk-averse because it already has lots of bad loans on its books.

It is interesting to note that amidst the huge pressure placed on Nigerian banks by the prevailing sluggish economy, what the management of FirstBank did was diversify its loan books and maintained a fairly manageable Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio.

This is because the percentage of non-performing loans in Nigeria reflects the health of the banking system. A higher percentage of such loans shows that banks have difficulty collecting interest and principal on their credits. That may lead to less profits for the banks in Nigeria and, possibly, bank closures.

FirstBank recorded the highest NPL ratio in four years with 24.7 per cent in 2018 which dropped to 9.9 per cent, 7.7 per cent, 7.2 per cent in the period of 2019, 2020, and 6.1 per cent in the 2021 full-year results.


Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank Group, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, who expressed the determination of the bank to aim higher said, “At FirstBank, we have historically been interwoven with the fabric of this nation with a full-service commercial banking offering catering to every segment of the economy.

“We believe we are now in a good position to translate this unique revenue generating potential into improved bottom-line performance.

“Our first-quarter results demonstrate that we have commenced our journey of Quantum Profitability Leap in earnest with profit before tax doubling to N34.1 billion as the Bank begins to reap the dividends of the successful restructuring of its balance sheet, revamped risk management, robust technology, and innovative service offerings.

“Our gross earnings are also up 33.0 per cent YoY to N170.4bn and Net Interest Income up 42.1 per cent YoY to N72.9bn. Furthermore, our strengthened risk management capabilities equip us with the ability to mitigate any negative effect of headwinds that may materialise given current macroeconomic pressures.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to maximise all opportunities presented by our large network, and support our customers with innovative value-adding solutions through these uncertain times while investing in strengthening our digital banking offerings to deliver a better customer experience.”

Culled from Vanguard




Aliko Dangote Makes N460bn In A Day, Overtakes Four On Billionaires’ List



Aliko Dangote Makes N460bn In A Day, Overtakes Four On Billionaires' List

Aliko Dangote Makes N460bn In A Day, Overtakes Four On Billionaires’ List




DANGOTE– Nigerian business tycoon, Aliko Dangote, overtook two Russians, one Chinese and an Indian on the billionaires’ list on Monday, after making N460bn in a day.



Aliko Dangote Makes N460bn In A Day, Overtakes Four On Billionaires' List




The Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group made the profit following increased demand for Dangote Cement, beating his fellow billionaires by earning about $100 million.








He maintains a majority share at his Cement company, following the company’s announcement of a significant share buyback two weeks ago.







According to Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Dangote remains Africa’s richest man, a feat he has maintained for 12 years in a row.



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Sterling Bank Shines Spotlight on Creative Industries Potential



Sterling Bank Shines Spotlight on Creative Industries Potential


Sterling Bank Shines Spotlight on Creative Industries Potential






“Nigeria’s leading financial institution, Sterling Bank Plc, has reiterated its determination to empower and energise the creative industry because of its strategic importance to the economic growth of Nigeria.”









Head of Media and Entertainment Financing at Sterling Bank, Mr. Olanrewaju Olalusi, disclosed the above at the weekend in Lagos while addressing participants at a seminar organised by the Legends of Nollywood with the theme: “Empowering the Nigerian Film Industry – Actualizing Your Resources.”




Sterling Bank Shines Spotlight on Creative Industries Potential




He said the bank had begun exploring financing of the creative industries in addition to its HEART sectors programme because of its importance to the national economy.
Sterling Bank has become renowned for its strategic focus and investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation sectors of the Nigerian economy. These sectors have been affectionately dubbed the HEART of Sterling, and our HEART has contributed immensely to the growth of the bank, the sectors and the Nigerian economy.

Olalusi said it is important for artists to leverage funding from financial institutions to scale the level of their operations, remarking that the bank has set up a desk for the purpose of financing practitioners in the creative industry, information technology (IT) and animation, among others.

“We are open to having conversations with partners in the creative industry on the way forward.” He said.

He said that the industry was bustling with amazing talent and potential. But he highlighted a key challenge confronting the industry; a lack of viable business plans on the commercial perspective of creativity to show investors.

He continued by saying that there is a growing need for artists to separate their businesses from themselves and focus on improving their access to infrastructure and a ready market for their creative expressions.

Through collaborations with dedicated partners like Sterling, creatives can better their lot, both creatively and commercially, by leveraging financial advisory services, commercial loans, and other specially designed products to further capacity building and move the industry forward.

In a keynote address by Lagos State Commissioner of Planning and Budget, Mr. Samuel Egube, urged operators in the creative industry to think more deeply about how to seize available opportunities in the industry. He noted that if the industry must grow, then it should be able to attract financial resources from investors, adding that government alone cannot drive the growth in the industry.

He said the business plan should present a strong case to encourage investors to invest. He disclosed that the Lagos State Government has plans to build a media city in the Lekki axis for practitioners in the creative industry to leverage on under its 30-year development plan.

Also speaking, the President of the Association of Movie Producers, Mr. Paul Obazele encouraged his colleagues to lift the industry to a show business level by leveraging financial institutions to scale their operations instead of relying on grants alone.

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Revealed Why Banks Are Having Technical Glitches With Online Banking



Revealed Why Banks Are Having Technical Glitches With Online Banking

Revealed Why Banks Are Having Technical Glitches With Online Banking


BANKS-The cashless banking initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is being hindered as the Nigerian banks continue to experience the technology skills gap due to a brain drain that is consuming experienced tech personnel in the sector, LEADERSHIP can exclusively reveal.

Revealed Why Banks Are Having Technical Glitches With Online Banking

Findings showed that the IT department of most of the banks is now manned by inexperienced hands who cannot cope with the traffic on internet banking platforms. According to sources, although, the hike in brain drain in the banking sector started after the COVID-19 pandemic, precisely, 2021, the banks were managing the situation, until the Naira redesign policy of the apex bank kicked off early this year, hence, spiking the rate of usage of electronic and mobile banking platforms for banking transactions, a development the current personnel manning the IT backend of most banks are struggling to cope with.


The CBN had, in October 2022, announced its intention to redesign the nation’s currency, as effort to check terrorism financing, counterfeiting and imbalances in the fiscal space, to enable the apex bank take control of the currency in circulation and to move the country into a full-fledged cashless economy, initially, by January 31st, 2023.


Since the beginning of this year, when the policy was fully implemented, Nigerians have cried out over the fact that they could barely laid hands on the new naira notes, which is the only legal currency now accepted in the economy, due to insufficient cash in circulation.


This, in turn, has forced Nigerians to turn to internet banking system for their transaction. This could have been the means to moving the economy to a cashless economy, stakeholders have said, even as they lamented the poor network, infrastructure deficit and inexperienced tech, that have marred the policy in recent time.


The CEO, Precise Financial System, Mr Yemi Okeremi told LEADERSHIP, that the banking technology in Nigeria is fairly sophisticated, with respect to the country’s level of development.


Okeremi added that the naira redesign, leading to little cash in circulation and a surge in the use of the internet banking system, has caused more harm than good, as the fragile infrastructure put in place by the banks have further depleted as a result of traffic.


He said, “For me, we are not ready for the cashless policy. Before this time, we had enjoyed fairly good internet and mobile banking and that is because the banks had scaled up based on what was on the ground. They know the number of Nigerians who have signed up for their internet banking services and they also have idea of the Nigerians that are banked and have put infrastructure in place to service them.


“All of a sudden, the CBN then came up with the idea that all Nigerians must go cashless. This is like double of the figures that were using their internet services. There are many Nigerians who have accounts with banks, but not using their internet banking services. These set of people were forced to start using internet banking overnight, which has slowed down servers, thereby delaying transactions or even declining them.’’


He also said that many tech experts have left the country for greener pastures, leaving the less experienced personnel to manage the infrastructure in the bank. He said, ‘‘Most of these fresh graduates do not know the nitty-gritty on how to manage some of the software and hard ware used in the banking sector. Also, poor internet connectivity has marred the seamless transition to cashless, in the sense that, for cashless policy to work, people must transact and receive alert immediately.


“In essence, infrastructure deficit, brain drain, and social problem, whereby every Nigerians now want to use internet banking at the same time are the reasons why Nigerians are having issue with internet banking.’’


He however urged CBN to reconsider its decision. “We know cashless process is great for any economy to grow, however, CBN would have been gradual in the process of turning the Nigerian economy into cashless economy. The banking sector is doing the best they can do, because nobody envisaged the traffic of internet banking. I must commend them, however, I would appeal to them to scale up, to meet this present challenge.


“On broadband connectivity, the telecoms sector is doing its best, in that the industry is planning to scale up broadband connectivity level to like 70 per cent by 2024. If that happened, people will be able to receive alert of transaction on time,” he stated.


In the same vein, the head, of operations, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbolahan Awonuga, has urged the banking sector to upgrade their capacity. Awonuga said, “What the government is doing now is that they want a total cashless environment. We are taking about digital economy, but there must be some level of preparation. The bank should be able to accommodate the traffic flow of their customers.


“If everybody should go into cashless, the internet platforms of the banks should be able to manage the traffic. The reason we are experiencing delays in transactions or declined transactions is that there are lot of traffic at the backend. People want to do internet banking at the same time, however, because of the capacity, they cannot enter at the same time.”


He advocated for more partnership with fintech companies. Awonuga disclosed that there are some few fintech companies who are working with banks to ensure seamless online internet banking, while calling for more to join as an effort to salvage the current situation.


Speaking with LEADERSHIP, the president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Ken Opara, noted that the industry is currently suffering from talent drain. He said, “There is a whole lot of resignations and people leaving the industry particularly the younger ones. The figure is quite high. You train and then immediately you train them, they leave


the country and then you start all over again. It is a real challenge. The banking industry is losing a lot of younger ones. It is affecting the pull of manpower particularly the younger ones.


“They are moving in large numbers outside the country. We are experiencing a pull of people out of the industry to outside the country and these are the younger ones that we are supposed to hand over to after a period. So, succession planning is hindered, productivity is lowered because these guys are the next generation of people. That is also slowing


down activity.”


Also, Head, Financial Institutions Ratings at Agusto & Co, Ayokunle Olubunmi, affirmed that the mass exodus is impacting the succession plan in the banking industry.


He said, “Some banks are already having issues with their succession plans, so they are ensuring that, for each role, they have two to three people that understand it. So, if someone leaves, there is another to take over. It is not only the banking industry that is challenged, it all of the sectors of the economy from manufacturing to insurance and banking industry. The challenge is such that it is not even the lower cadre that is moving out, it is middle management and even in some cases upper management. A lot of companies are losing their best hands and even their technical hands.


“Zeroing it down into the banking industry, one area that is actually affected the most is the tech guys. Remember that a lot of banks are actually moving into digitization. So, people are losing their tech guys. Unfortunately, it is not a skill that is readily available like that. The talent pool is not that vast. The tech guys are moving to Canada and Europe. So, that has significantly affected them. It is such that in some banks, departments have lost a lot of their staff. All banks are affected and that is why you see all of them recruiting. This is how bad it is. For the banks, they actually have to manage it, because unfortunately as a bank, changing the trend is outside their purview. For banks, it is now about how you can actually adapt.”

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