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(Investigation) CBN Intervention Funds: Controversy as Keystone Bank Asks Participants to Pay Full Commercial Loan Rate on Performing Intervention Facilities

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CBN Issues update on Naira scarcity

*(Investigation) CBN Intervention Funds: Controversy as Keystone Bank Asks Participants to Pay Full Commercial Loan Rate on Performing Intervention Facilities*

*… Banks Indict CBN*

*.. Apex Bank Fail to Respond*

 

Recall that in 2020 immediately after Covid-19, the apex bank of Nigeria (CBN) swung into action by introducing a special pricing offer on the existing CIFI (Creative Industry Financing Initiative) loans. In addition to this, they injected N100bn into the economy that was disbursed through the Intervention Fund Scheme for Health Sector businesses among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The choice of health sector for the intervention was deliberate in 2020 following the realities and the need to strengthen the health sector after the covid-19 incident and the over dependence on imported drugs. The intervention was meant for those that play in the creative space and health sector including other manufacturing sectors and designed by CBN to cushion the impacts of Covid-19 and specifically focused on domestic manufacturing support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on investigation carried out by team of well trained investigative journalists under the Nigeria Guild Of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ), we learnt that businesses in these sectors are meant to enjoy interest rate of 5% at the initial period (one year subject to extension by CBN) and there after which it reverts to 9% for the duration of the facility not exceeding 10yrs in total. Other beneficiaries in the scheme are Fashion/textile, Software Developers, Healthcare Manufacturers, Healthcare Service Providers, Healthcare Value Chain Players, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, it became a serious matter when a commercial bank, specifically KEYSTONE decided to unilaterally increase the intervention facility rate from 9% to 24% on performing customers without the knowledge or consent of CBN or without regards to the attendant effect on the businesses at this time. , The guild obtained initial information (Keystone letter to several customers dated September 20th and titled “ *NOTICE OF INTEREST RATE REVIEW* ”, which led to the full investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letter referenced ‘CBN review of ‘Cash Reserve Ratio Policy and other monetary policies’ as a basis for rate change but did not reference any directive or published circular rescinding the policy rate.

 

 

 

 

 

During the course of our investigation, we realized that Keystone has already started charging the increased rate by directly deducting interest at its new rate from the customers without consent.

 

 

 

 

 

During our investigation, we spoke to the managing director of Keystone bank, Olaniran Olayinka. who confirmed the rate change by the bank but could not provide any support of a CBN directive to that effect. The core of his argument is that the funds belong to the bank.

 

 

*(Investigation) CBN  Intervention Funds: Controversy as Keystone Bank  Asks  Participants to Pay Full Commercial Loan Rate  on Performing Intervention Facilities*   

 *... Banks Indict CBN* 

 *.. Apex Bank Fail to Respond* 

Recall that in 2020 immediately after Covid-19, the apex bank of Nigeria (CBN) swung into action by introducing a special pricing offer on the existing CIFI (Creative Industry Financing Initiative) loans. In addition to this, they injected N100bn into the economy that was disbursed through the Intervention Fund Scheme for Health Sector businesses among others.

The choice of health sector for the intervention was deliberate in 2020 following the realities and the need to strengthen the health sector after the covid-19 incident and the over dependence on imported drugs. The intervention was meant for those that play in the creative space and health sector including other manufacturing sectors and  designed by CBN to cushion the impacts of Covid-19 and specifically focused on domestic manufacturing support.

 Based on investigation carried out by team of well trained investigative journalists under the Nigeria Guild Of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ), we learnt that businesses in these sectors are meant to enjoy  interest rate of 5% at the initial period (one year subject to extension by CBN) and  there after which it reverts to 9% for the duration of the facility not exceeding 10yrs in total. Other beneficiaries in the scheme are Fashion/textile, Software Developers, Healthcare Manufacturers, Healthcare Service Providers, Healthcare Value Chain Players, etc.

However, it became a serious matter when a commercial bank, specifically KEYSTONE decided to unilaterally increase the intervention facility  rate from 9% to 24% on  performing customers without the knowledge or consent of CBN or without regards to the attendant effect on the businesses at this time. , The guild obtained initial information (Keystone letter to several customers dated September 20th  and titled “ *NOTICE OF INTEREST RATE REVIEW* ”, which led to the full investigation. 

The letter referenced ‘CBN review of ‘Cash Reserve Ratio Policy and other monetary policies’  as a basis for rate change but did not reference any directive or published circular rescinding the policy rate.

 During the course of our investigation, we realized that  Keystone has already started charging the  increased rate by directly deducting interest at its new rate from the customers without consent. 

During our investigation, we spoke to  the managing director of Keystone bank, Olaniran Olayinka. who confirmed the rate change by the bank but could not provide any support of a CBN directive to that effect.  The core of his argument is that the funds belong to the bank.

 He noted that CBN never came to their aid when they needed support  but instead has increased the cash reserve requirement from 27.5% to 32%. 

He further noted that tier one banks did not participate in the intervention, but the small banks did. 

A quick investigation showed that the big banks, UBA, FBN, Zenith, Access, Fidelity etc were big participants in the sector specific DCRR intervention program and all currently are adhering to the policy guidelines for such. 

Not satisfied with the response, we went further to speak with another  bank official who revealed to us that the newly appointed CBN Governor Mr Olayemi Cardoso has announced that the Apex will no longer get involved in any intervention funds,  he said . He however did not confirm that CBN is reversing existing intervention rates while they are still performing without default.

 According to the new governor of the apex bank, the bank needs to move into a limited advisory role that supports economic growth rather than actively play a prominent role in the financing of these projects. There is nothing in this statement or others we are aware of that indicates that CBN will change, or cancel its existing interventions. If that is the case, then a circular should be issued to that effect but it has not done so.  The CBN statement is generally understood to mean more focus on monetary policy and less or away from fiscal policies or interventions that should be left for the relevant agencies and ministries such as Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture etc.

 He emphasized the need to restore the apex bank’s independence and credibility by refocusing on its core mandate and ensuring a culture of compliance.

The core question which is for CBN to answer is whether a bank can unilaterally change intervention policy rates on existing facilities on non-defaulting customers without recourse to the regulator.

 The challenge is a policy consistency challenge that does nothing but erode public and investor confidence.  

The silence from CBN has done nothing but exacerbate the challenge or at minimum embolden unscrupulous bankers to the detriment of customers and public confidence.

Our journalist attempted to  speak with the central bank director in charge when the Intervention was initiated Mr Yila Yusuf but Yila referred us to another director (Dr Musa)  noting that he is no longer in charge  and he can't speak on it .

When we spoke with Dr  Musa, he turned us down and referred us to the CBN, Head of Corporate Communications who is incommunicado since about two weeks till now. From the feelers around the CBN confirmed that the Mr Olayemi Cardoso is not interested  in running an interventionist economic policy which has manifested in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration and removal of fuel subsidy. 

It is on this note that we are calling on the CBN governor Mr Olayemi Cardoso to come out and clarify   to the public and beneficiaries the real situation of things because the companies involved are seriously concerned due to the sudden change in the policy rate. 

Some of these participants invested in these entities along with foreign partners that relied on the intervention facilties and employ thousands of Nigeria across all regions.

The biggest challenge to investing in Nigeria is policy inconsistencies.  It is hard to reconcile why a bank will reverse a CBN policy rate without recourse to CBN directive which is generally always published.

The challenge with not addressing this is that other banks will take this  cue that CBN has approved or authorized the rate change and will follow suit. 

Such arbitrariness ultimately leads to lack of investor and public confidence, potential defaults and ultimately lay off of those that were employed when these entities invested. 

The Apex bank needs to do something as a matter of urgency   to clarify what the policy is on existing intervention facilities for the entire banks and borrowers – it cannot be a cowboy country where there are no rules. 

The country, not only investors suffers where there is an appearance of lack of policy consistency.

 

 

 

He noted that CBN never came to their aid when they needed support but instead has increased the cash reserve requirement from 27.5% to 32%.

 

 

 

 

 

He further noted that tier one banks did not participate in the intervention, but the small banks did.

A quick investigation showed that the big banks, UBA, FBN, Zenith, Access, Fidelity etc were big participants in the sector specific DCRR intervention program and all currently are adhering to the policy guidelines for such.

Not satisfied with the response, we went further to speak with another bank official who revealed to us that the newly appointed CBN Governor Mr Olayemi Cardoso has announced that the Apex will no longer get involved in any intervention funds, he said . He however did not confirm that CBN is reversing existing intervention rates while they are still performing without default.

According to the new governor of the apex bank, the bank needs to move into a limited advisory role that supports economic growth rather than actively play a prominent role in the financing of these projects. There is nothing in this statement or others we are aware of that indicates that CBN will change, or cancel its existing interventions. If that is the case, then a circular should be issued to that effect but it has not done so. The CBN statement is generally understood to mean more focus on monetary policy and less or away from fiscal policies or interventions that should be left for the relevant agencies and ministries such as Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture etc.

He emphasized the need to restore the apex bank’s independence and credibility by refocusing on its core mandate and ensuring a culture of compliance.

The core question which is for CBN to answer is whether a bank can unilaterally change intervention policy rates on existing facilities on non-defaulting customers without recourse to the regulator.

The challenge is a policy consistency challenge that does nothing but erode public and investor confidence.

The silence from CBN has done nothing but exacerbate the challenge or at minimum embolden unscrupulous bankers to the detriment of customers and public confidence.

Our journalist attempted to speak with the central bank director in charge when the Intervention was initiated Mr Yila Yusuf but Yila referred us to another director (Dr Musa) noting that he is no longer in charge and he can’t speak on it .

When we spoke with Dr Musa, he turned us down and referred us to the CBN, Head of Corporate Communications who is incommunicado since about two weeks till now. From the feelers around the CBN confirmed that the Mr Olayemi Cardoso is not interested in running an interventionist economic policy which has manifested in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration and removal of fuel subsidy.

It is on this note that we are calling on the CBN governor Mr Olayemi Cardoso to come out and clarify to the public and beneficiaries the real situation of things because the companies involved are seriously concerned due to the sudden change in the policy rate.

Some of these participants invested in these entities along with foreign partners that relied on the intervention facilties and employ thousands of Nigeria across all regions.

The biggest challenge to investing in Nigeria is policy inconsistencies. It is hard to reconcile why a bank will reverse a CBN policy rate without recourse to CBN directive which is generally always published.

The challenge with not addressing this is that other banks will take this cue that CBN has approved or authorized the rate change and will follow suit.

Such arbitrariness ultimately leads to lack of investor and public confidence, potential defaults and ultimately lay off of those that were employed when these entities invested.

The Apex bank needs to do something as a matter of urgency to clarify what the policy is on existing intervention facilities for the entire banks and borrowers – it cannot be a cowboy country where there are no rules.

The country, not only investors suffers where there is an appearance of lack of policy consistency.

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Fidelity Bank Plc Promotes 11% of Staff Following Record Financial Performance

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Fidelity Bank to boost Schools’ Profitability with Value-adding Products

Fidelity Bank Plc Promotes 11% of Staff Following Record Financial Performance

Leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc has announced the promotion of 11% of its workforce, a testament to the exceptional performance and dedication of its employees. This significant move follows the release of the bank’s 2023 full year Audited Financial Statements, which reported an impressive 131.5 percent growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) to N124.26 billion.
The recent promotions span every level within the bank, reflecting Fidelity Bank Plc’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding excellence across its entire organization. This strategic initiative has garnered positive reactions from staff members, who see it as a validation of their hard work and contribution to the bank’s remarkable financial achievements.
In addition to the promotions, Fidelity Bank Plc has also concluded arrangements to raise a total of N127.1 billion through a Rights Issue to existing shareholders and a Public Offer. This move is part of the bank’s broader strategy to strengthen its capital base, support future growth, and enhance shareholder value.
Fidelity Bank Plc’s impressive financial performance and the subsequent employee promotions highlight the bank’s robust operational strategy and its commitment to fostering a rewarding work environment. By investing in its people and ensuring their career growth, the bank continues to build a motivated and high-performing workforce.
Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8.5 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United  Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.
The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.

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WEMA BANK concludes 1st tranche of Capital Raise Programme

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Wema Bank PLC (Bloomberg: WemaBank: NL) (“Wema” or “the Bank”) announces the allotment of its N40billion Rights issue programme.

 

 

 

-Raises N40billion through a Rights Issuance process.
-Part of its larger 2-year; N150billion Capital programme.
Rights fully subscribed.
-Expected to Commence concluding tranche of additional Capital in Q4, 2024.
-Corporate Ratings affirmed by Fitch at BBB & Upgraded by Agusto to BBB+

Wema Bank, Nigeria’s foremost innovative bank and pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank, ALAT, has successfully concluded the first tranche of its recapitalisation exercise having secured all relevant regulatory approvals for the allotment of its N40bn Rights Issue which was initiated in December 2023.

In view of macroeconomic conditions, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in March 2024, launched a recapitalisation programme requiring commercial banks to raise fresh capital in alignment with the minimum requirement for their respective banking licenses, within a 24-month timeline spanning April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2026. The goal of this recapitalisation programme is to simultaneously boost the Nigerian economy and strengthen the Nigerian financial services industry.

As a forward-thinking and pioneering bank, Wema Bank in December 2023 launched a N40bn Rights issue which has now been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). With this remarkable development, Wema Bank has now successfully raised the 1st tranche of its plan in the minimum requirement laid down by the CBN.

In a statement made to the public by the Bank, Moruf Oseni, Wema Bank’s Managing Director and CEO, iterated the Bank’s resolve in retaining its Commercial Banking license with National Authorisation, adding that the N40bn Rights Issue is a step in that direction. “We are delighted to announce the conclusion of the 1st tranche of our Capital Raise Programme, after obtaining the relevant approvals of all regulatory authorities. Our move to commence our Capital Raise Programme very early demonstrates our push for excellence and with a strong emphasis on our digital play, we are set to amass more successes in the coming months.”

“We were impressed by the vote of confidence given by our shareholders during the 1st Rights Issue exercise as our shares were fully subscribed. In addition, we obtained the approval of shareholders at our 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) to raise an additional N150billion to meet the capitalisation threshold set by the CBN. The process is expected to be completed within 12-18 months. We are committed to providing optimum returns for every stakeholder and the successful conclusion of this N40bn Rights Issue is a bold step in the right direction.”

In addition to the upward trend in the Bank’s financial performance and the success recorded so far in its recapitalisation exercise, Wema Bank’s corporate rating was recently upgraded to BBB+ by Pan African credit rating agency, Agusto and Co, and retained at BBB by international rating agency, Fitch. Over the medium to long term, Wema Bank is positioned to not only dominate the digital Banking space but also the Nigerian financial services industry at large as it translates its industry leadership to significant market share.

Wema Bank is a leading financial services entity with banking operations across Nigeria, its leadership position in the digital banking space speaks to its aspirations to liberate Nigerian businesses and entrepreneurs by making digital platforms widely available.

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Nkiru Olumide-Ojo’s New Book ‘Marketplace Readiness’ to Equip Young Nigerians for Marketplace Success

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Nkiru Olumide-Ojo's New Book ‘Marketplace Readiness’ to Equip Young Nigerians for Marketplace Success

Nkiru Olumide-Ojo’s New Book ‘Marketplace Readiness’ to Equip Young Nigerians for Marketplace Success

 

 

In a bold step to enforce and ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for everyone under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) in Nigeria, Corporate Executive and Founder of the LightHouse Network, Nkiru Olumide-Ojo, launched her new book titled “Step Forward: Market Place Readiness.”

The book launch took place at the Alliance Française, Mike Adenuga Event Center, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, on Thursday, June 6, 2024.

According to the National Planning Commission, Nigeria faces a significant challenge with approximately 53% of its youth currently unemployed. To address this pressing issue, Nkiru Olumide-Ojo dedicated her efforts to preparing young people for the job market, equipping them with the necessary skills to seize available opportunities or even create new ones.

In her opening remarks, Mrs. Yetunde Baderinwa, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Lagos State Coordinator, stated that “the marketplace today is dynamic, competitive, and full of opportunities; however, it also provides numerous challenges that businesses must be ready to face. Market readiness involves understanding these challenges, adapting to changes, and strategically positioning oneself to capitalize on opportunities as they arise.” She further noted that “in the last 13 years, NYSC has sensitized three million, three hundred six thousand, six hundred and forty-six corps members, opening their eyes to entrepreneurship development.

Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Adenike Ogunlesi, Founder of Ruff and Tumble, addressed both the corps members present and guests who are already in the workplace. She emphasized, “Be intentional about building your mindset. Stand your ground based on three things: building your character, understanding what you value, and what your values are as a human being, and building your competence.”

The event was remarkable, featuring discussions on marketplace readiness across two generations, including thought leaders, educators, and advocates for sustainable development. Attendees benefited from insightful panel sessions featuring distinguished speakers, engaging conversations, and networking opportunities with individuals passionate about education and sustainable growth.

Leading the panel session were Mrs. Adenike Ogunlesi, Founder of Ruff and Tumble; Mrs. Yetunde Baderinwa, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC); Mr. Victor Banjo, Director of Executive Education at Lagos Business School; Joseph Onaolapo (Jay On Air), a renowned radio and TV broadcaster, content creator, actor, and event host; and Tobiloba Aboaba, a dynamic young professional at Stanbic IBTC, among others.

The book, “Step Forward: Market Place Readiness,” is a product of Nkiru and her team’s extensive work in underserved tertiary institutions, providing essential market readiness skills to students. This book aims to broaden their reach and impact, offering valuable insights and practical advice to a wider audience. It delves into situations and issues that undergraduates face in their everyday lives, preparing them for the challenges of the marketplace.

 

Nkiru Olumide-Ojo's New Book ‘Marketplace Readiness’ to Equip Young Nigerians for Marketplace Success

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