Diamond Bank Appoints Babade Acting Chairman

Diamond Bank Plc on Thursday notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that following the recent resignation of Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth as Director/ Chairman
of the Board, the Board of Directors of the bank has appointed Mr. Dele Babade as acting Chairman effective December 24, 2018.

Babade holds Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Laws from University of London and was called to both the Nigerian and English Bar.

He started his career with Midland Montagu London (the predecessor of HSBC Investment Bank) on the Graduate Training Programme in 1988 and at various times worked in the UK and Greece mainly in Corporate and Merchant Banking.

He joined Citibank in 1993 and garnered experience from Citibank’s Emerging Markets business focusing on businesses beyond Africa and became Vice President in charge of all cross border/international deals for Africa in 1996, statement on the NSE website explained.

In 1998, he joined Nomura International in London as a Director for Investment Banking for Africa. After re-joining Citibank in 2000, he was moved to Nigeria and Ivory Coast in 2001 as Executive Director covering Nigeria and West Africa and was a board member of Citibank Nigeria from 2001 to 2006. He also served as Citibank’s Director & Regional Head Sub-Sahara Africa Corporate Finance & Investment Banking based in South Africa from 2002 to 2006.

He started his own investment advisory firm in 2007 but left briefly to join Ecobank Transnational Inc as Head of Ecobank Capital from 2010 to 2012 and was also a member of the Group Executive Committee, the top executive body for overall direction of the Ecobank Group. Since 2012, he has been running his firm focusing on inward cross border transactions across the African continent.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Africa Risk Capacity Pan African Insurance Company (ARC Ltd) and is also the Chairman of its Finance and Investment Committee. ARC Ltd is a financial affiliate of the African Risk Capacity, a specialized agency of the African Union (AU), an initiative designed to improve current responses to climate-related food security emergencies.

Babade was nominated by First Carlyle Growth V (Carlyle) and his appointment as a Non-Executive Director was approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria effective April 20, 2017. Diamond Bank is currently in a business combination deal with Access Bank Plc

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FG Establishes Four Trade Zones In Nigeria

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the four trade zones recently established in the country will attract 15 billion dollars worth of Foreign Direct Investment into the nation’s economy.

Managing Director of NEPZA, Mr Emmanuel Jime, made this known in Abuja during a courtesy visit to his office by Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN).

Mr Jime, said only 15 out of the 39 trade zones in the country are currently operational while application for the establishments of additional zones to boost the economy of the country are undergoing various processes.

Of these 39, four of them were established recently during the course of my stewardship here. These four zones that were established recently under our watch are reputed to have the capacity of attracting about 15 billion dollars worth of foreign direct investment,” he said.

“There are many other applications, the last time I checked, close to 10 are either somewhere in the office of the minister leading up to Mr President office or waiting for the president’s declaration,” Mr Jime added.

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Access Bank Acquires Diamond Bank

Access Bank has finally acquired Diamond Bank.

According to insiders, the official announcement of the transaction will be made in the course of the week by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The acquisition was midwifed by the CBN in a bid to further consolidate the banking industry, sources informed TheCable.

A Diamond Bank official who spoke to TheCable said there was no need for the public to panic as “the bank is in safe hands”.

Journey to acquisition

Last week, Diamond Bank announced its decision to drop its international operating licence to focus on national operations following capitalisation issues.

Uzoma Dozie, the bank’s chief executive officer, had confirmed in a statement released on Friday that it would cease to operate as an international bank.

“The re-licensing as a national bank supports Diamond Bank’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and the economy as a whole,” he had said in a statement.

“The move follows Diamond Bank’s decision to sell its international operations, which included the disposal of its West African Subsidiary in 2017 and Diamond Bank UK, the sale of which is currently in its final stages.

“The change to national bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement of 10 per cent, as against 15 per cent required for international banks.”

The bank recorded its worst month on record in November with share plunging to 0.61k per unit on November 30, 2018.

Diamond Bank Q3 2018 report had showed that the bank was under some financial stress with profit after tax falling from N3.9 billion in 2017 to N1.6 billion.

This impacted the bank’s earnings per share, which also dropped sharply from N17 in 2017 to N7 in 2018.

CBN’s N250 million fine

Apart from dealing with non-performing loans, the bank also had to contend with a fine from the Central Bank of Nigeria in August for allegedly aiding MTN Nigeria to illegally repatriate $8.1 billion.

“Your bank issued three CCIs in favour of Dantata Investment for the sum of $5million without converting the foreign exchange received into Naira as required by our regulations.  On the basis of these illegally issued CCIs, your bank repatriated the sum of $102,545,336.77 in respect of these CCIs,” CBN’s letter read.

Your bank failed to indemnify SCB for losses and/or liabilities that may arise from the use of the CCIs you transferred to SCB in violation of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Manual 2006;

Your bank issued three CCIs outside the regulatory 24 hours without the approval of the CBN contrary to provisions of Memorandum 22 of the Foreign Exchange Manual 2006; and

Your bank illegally remitted the sum of $352,222,358.39 on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank in respect of the various CCIs issued to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

Chairman, director make their exit

In October, Oluwaseyi Bickerseth, the bank’s chairman who was appointed in July, and three non-executive directors resigned.

“The directors are resigning for varied personal reasons, which will include focusing on their priorities. Diamond Bank will update the market with any further development in due course,” a notice signed by Uzoma Uja, the company secretary, read.

S&P downgrades bank’s rating

In November, S&P Global Ratings downgraded the bank’s rating to CCC+/C from ‘B-/B’ and its Nigeria national scale ratings to ‘ngBB-/ngB’ from ‘ngBBB-/ngA-3.

Giving its reason, the agency said the bank is “dependent on favourable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial obligations”.

“We believe that Diamond Bank will have to set aside higher provisions than we initially expected, following the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standard No. 9 (IFRS 9), which implies weaker asset quality than we expected and exerts significant pressure on the bank’s capitalization,” it said.

TheCable

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Nigeria’s Capital Importation Decreases To $2.85bn In Q3, Says NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that the total value of capital importation into Nigeria reduced to $2.855 billion in the third quarter of 2018.

The NBS disclosed this in its “Nigeria Capital Importation (Q3 2018)’’ report released yesterday in Abuja.

According to the bureau, the figure represents a 48.21 per cent decrease compared to the second quarter and 31.12 per cent decrease compared to the third quarter of 2017.

It said the largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 60.5 per cent ($1.723 billion) of the total capital importation.

“This was followed by other investment, which accounts for 21.07 per cent ($601.53 million) of the total capital import in the period under review.

“And then Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) accounts for 18.58 per cent ($530.63 million) of the total capital imported in the third quarter.

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Ecobank Nigeria Upgrade Core Banking Application; Assures Customers Of Improved Services

The Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan has announced that the bank has upgraded its core banking application being part of the bank’s commitment to ensuring customers receive the best service possible.

“Our upgraded system has superior functionalities which will help us deliver our brand promise as the Bank of choice for convenient, reliable and affordable services to our customers. The new platform also promises improved performance of our digital channels as well as top range security as you carry out your transactions”, Mr Akinwuntan stated.

The Ecobank Nigeria Managing Director also apologized to customers over disruptions that they experienced during the period of the upgrade. The bank MD in a letter to Ecobank customers in Nigeria and made available to the media expressed excitement for the support during the time of the upgrade.
According to Mr Akinwuntan “during the period our ATMs, Cards, and Mobile App were
available for use, however, we experienced some post migration issues which affected transfers in and out of the bank and have now been mostly resolved. I apologise for any service hitches experienced during the upgrade and appreciate our customers’ commitment and partnership with Ecobank. We value their relationship greatly and are committed to ensuring they receive the best service possible”.

He appealed to customers of Ecobank to contact their dedicated Relationship Managers or call the Bank’s Contact Centre, should they have any feedback, enquiries or insight they wish to share about their experience with the system upgrade.

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Electronic Fraud In Banking Hits N6.1trn By 2021 – CBN

Mr Sunday Salam-Alada, Director, Consumer Protection Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said electronic fraud losses in the banking system are projected to reach N6.1 trillion by 2021.

Salam-Alada disclosed this at the ongoing workshop for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents, organised by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Benin.

According to him, the volume and value of e-transactions are projected to continue to increase nationally and globally.

Salam-Alada, represented by Mr Ibrahim Hassan, Director, Research, Policy, International Relations Department (RPIRD) NDIC, said it was due to broader ecosystem scope, the evolution of channels, adaptability to disruptive innovations and modes payment.
He said other reasons included increased inclusion and evolving technologies.

The director also said that the CBN, through its Consumer Protection Department (CPD), had resolved over 13,715 complaints.

Salam-Alada added that this resulted in a refund of about N72.2 billion to customers by the commercial banks based on 25,043 cases of fraud in 2017.

He said the amount represented a 28 per cent increase if compared to 19,531 cases recorded in 2016.

Salam-Alada said there was a 24 per cent reduction in actual fraud loss value in 2017 with N1.63 billion as against the to 2016 figures.

According to him, the statistics provided by the CBN shows there is a significant increase in the year-on-year volume and value of transactions across all payment channels in Nigeria.

Consequently, 1.4 billion transactions with a value of N97.4 trillion were processed in 2017 as against 869 million transactions with a value of N69.1 trillion recorded in 2016.

He said the increase of 59.7 per cent and 40.9 per cent were recorded in the volume and value of transactions in 2017.

The director hinted that the CBN would soon issue a framework on consumer protection.

Salam-Alada said the CPD conducted a mapping exercise of financial literacy activities in the country.

He added that it was one of the achievements of the department.

He said the achievements also included the biannual consumer protection compliance exams and review of the guide to banks’ charges.

NAN

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Ecobank Nigeria Launches RapidTransfer Mobile Remittance App

In line with its tradition of leadership in digital banking in Africa, Ecobank has introduced a dedicated mobile remittance app Rapidtransfer.

Rapidtransfer app was unveiled by the Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan at a commemorative dinner to thank and celebrate outgoing members of the Ecobank Nigeria Board and to welcome its newly appointed directors.

According to Akinwuntan, Rapidtransfer will enable Nigerians in diaspora to send funds home at a reduced cost.

Mr Akinwuntansaid: “Historically the cost for Nigerians in the diaspora to send funds home has been far too high, while the process itself has long been inefficient and burdensome. Customers often have to physically visit an agent and yet are left with little or no clarity as to when the funds will actually reach the intended recipient. Rapidtransfer removes all of these issues and its standout affordability will be a gamechanger in the way that Nigerians can send money to their loved ones.”

At the dinner, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, who was officially welcomed into his new role as Managing Director and Regional Executive of Ecobank Nigeria, and on to the Ecobank Nigeria Board of Directors said. “Many Nigerians work elsewhere in Africa, or further a field, and financially support their relatives back home,” he commented. “Rapidtransfer is a safe and secure low-cost remittance solution, which ultimately will put more money into the hands of the recipient. This will have a multiplier effect on the Nigerian economy by boosting demand and driving business growth.”

As well as being intuitive, easy to navigate and multi-lingual with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese variants, the app provides simple and secure digital onboarding. Users can choose how and when funds are delivered to the intended beneficiary, with transparent foreign exchange rates prior to each transaction. Charges range from 0% to 3% depending on the options the customer selects. The Rapidtransfer mobile app will enable Nigerians anywhere to easily and instantly send money to bank accounts, mobile wallets and cash collection in – and across – 33 African countries and globally.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest recipient of international remittance inflows and is also the fifth largest remittance recipient globally. It received US$22 billion in 2017[1], which accounted for 5.6% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2015[2] remittances received included $5.59 billion from the United States, $3.7 billion from the United Kingdom and $2.29 billion from Cameroon.

In the first quarter of 2018, the average cost of sending US$200 globally was 7.1%, and remittance services in Sub-Saharan Africa were the costliest in the world at an average cost of 9.4%. The International Sustainable Development Goal aims to reduce the average transaction cost of remittances to less than 3% of the remittance amount by 2030[4].

In a rousing speech during the proceedings, Mr Akinwuntan also took the opportunity to outline his vision for driving Ecobank Nigeria forward and assure his fellow Board members of his ambitions for growth. “Ecobank Nigeria must be the jewel in the Ecobank crown and the affiliate that sets the roadmap for others to follow,” he said. “We will do this by providing customer service excellence and a suite of innovative and convenient banking services that makes banking easy for retail and corporate customers alike.

“Nigeria has a vibrant population of 180 million and I want a large share of these to be served by Ecobank. Therefore, I am setting an audacious customer growth target against the group goal to serve 100 million customers by 2020. We currently have 9 million customers in Nigeria and I want to grow this to 40 million customers within two and a half years. This may be a huge challenge but I resolutely believe that it is one that can be achieved.”

The Ecobank Rapidtransfer mobile app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

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2018 WEF Global Competitiveness Report Ranks Nigeria 115 Out Of 140 Countries

The World Economic Forum in its 2018 Global Competitiveness Index, ranked Nigeria 115 out of 140 countries. This means it moved ten places upward from its 2017/2018 ranking of 125 out of 137 countries.

According to the new ranking, Nigeria improved in four(4)  of  twelve (12) ranking pillars, namely;

1.Infrastructure

2.Health

3.Business Dynamism

4.Innovation Capability

The current GCI ranking template has the following twelve (12) as pillars for assessment;

  1. Institutions
  2. ICT Adoption

4.Macroeconomic environment

6.Skill

7.Product .Market

8.Labour Market

9.Financial System

10.Market Size

11.Business Dynamism

12.Innovation capability

Nigeria was ranked 127 out of 138 countries in the 2016/2017 edition report and 124 out of 140 in the 2015/2016 GCI ranking.

 Areas that Nigeria will require improvement in the 2018 GCI competitiveness report, include;

  1. Institutions
  2. ICT Adoption

3.Macroeconomic environment

4.Skill

5.Product Market

6.Labour Market

7.Financial System

8.Market Size

Featuring the Global Competitiveness Index, the Report assesses the competitiveness landscape of 140 economies, providing unique insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. Discover the 2018 edition’s rankings, key findings, your economy’s scorecard, and much more.

The 2018 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report represents a milestone in the four-decade history of the series, with the introduction of the new Global Competitiveness Index 4.0. The new index sheds light on an emerging set of drivers of productivity and long-term growth in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It provides a much-needed compass for policy-makers and other stakeholders to help shape economic strategies and monitor progress.

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NNPC: Oil Revenue Rose By 35% To $416m In June

Nigeria’s revenue from crude oil and gas sales rose by 35 per cent, representing $416m in June, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said yesterday.

The NNPC in a statement, which announced the release of its June 2018 monthly financial and operations report in Abuja, stated the total financial value of the crude oil and gas export sales the country made in the month was $416.07 million in June.

It explained that the figures were 35.78 per cent higher than that of the previous month which was $343.08 million. This also signified the country bounced back from a drop in oil revenue in May having earned $447.58 million from oil and gas export in April before sliding to $343.08 million in May.

Industry statistics showed that oil price for Brent crude oils in June was $74.41 per barrel; $76.98 per barrel in May of 2018 – the period Nigeria earned less between these three months; and $72.11 per barrel in April.

But details of the sales figures were contained in the statement NNPC’s Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, sent to THISDAY, and it indicated that crude oil export sales contributed $274.95 million which NNPC said translated to 66.08 per cent of the dollar transactions compared with $244.72million contribution in the previous month. The export gas sales for the month, it explained amounted to $141.12 million.

 

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NDIC Pays N11.50bn To Insured Failed Banks Depositors, Recovers N28bn Debt

The Managing Director and Chief Executive, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, yesterday said N11.50 billion had been paid to depositors, creditors, shareholders and other stakeholders of closed financial institutions as at December 31, 2017.

He also said N368.43 million was recovered by the corporation from debtors of failed banks during the period under review- bringing total recoveries to N28.84 billion to date.
The NDIC boss further noted that N21.85 billion had so far been realised from sale of physical assets of closed banks as at 2017.

He also said depositors of 16 deposit money banks (DMBs) in-liquidation have so far been fully paid all the deposit balances they had in their accounts at the closure of the financial institutions as at 2017.

Speaking during the NDIC Special Day at the ongoing 13th Abuja International Trade Fair, Ibrahim further announced the successful conclusion of the adoption of bridge bank as a failure resolution option in 2011 by the corporation to address problems of the then three failing banks.

Represented by NDIC’s Director, Enterprise Risk Management Department, Mr. Peter Nggada, the NDIC boss noted that Keystone Bank Limited, the last of the three bridge banks to be sold, had been acquired by Sigma Golf River Bank Consortium on March 23, 2017, following the divestment of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).

The bridge bank transaction also had the then Mainstreet Bank Plc acquired by the defunct Skye Bank Plc, while Heritage Bank Plc had bought over Enterprise Bank.

He said in a bid to ensure financial system stability in the country, NDIC in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had conducted on-site and off-site supervision of 25 DMBs, one non-interest bank, 1008 microfinance banks (MFBs) and 38 primary mortgage banks (PMBs) using the Risk Based Examination of three banks with holding companies.

He added that as a risk minimiser, the corporation in collaboration of the CBN exists to protect depositors’ funds through effective supervision of banks as well as timely resolution of distressed financial institutions “like we saw in the case of the defunct Skye Bank and the establishment of Polaris Bank to assume its assets and liabilities.”

He pointed out however, “When various resolution measures fail, the corporation could, as the last option, liquidate the failed banks and ensure the prompt payment of all insured deposits.”

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United Capital Launches its New, Improved Online Investment Platform, InvestNow.Ng

United Capital Plc, a leading financial services group just launched its new, improved online investment platform, InvestNow. The company, which prides itself in being innovative and customer-centric rolled out this platform as part of its retail strategy and unwavering commitment to excellent service experience.

The platform was first released in 2014 as a securities trading platform but has gone through series of upgrades and improvements. Some of the new, unique products and features include the direct debit functionality which helps make saving and investment easy for the customer by allowing for direct transfer from the customer’s bank account to their investment account; the online wills, which allows users to create a will online; and zero account balance which allows customers to open an account without funding their account. In addition to these unique features, the Group also launched a mobile app which will make investing even much easier and more accessible for the user.

According to the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Peter Ashade who talked to newsmen at the event launch which held in the Group’s Lagos office, “We are extremely excited about this new upgrade. We are always thinking about how to make the customer experience better and InvestNow.ng really speaks to that. Our customers can now invest in our different products on the platform either through the website or with the App. You can buy mutual funds online, trade on the equities market, set up a trust and even write a will.”

Speaking further about the portal, the Group Chief Information Officer, Mr. Joseph Onyema also stressed that the various investment products are consolidated on the portal for ease. According to him, “A big selling point for us is that everything can be done with a single app. You don’t have to download several apps just to trade on the Stock Exchange, to buy mutual funds or to create a will. With InvestNow.Ng, you can have all your investments at a single point”.

United Capital is committed to consistently creating value for its stakeholders and has expressed hopes that the new, improved platform will help drive financial inclusion by ensuring that more people have finance and investment solutions at their fingertips.

United Capital is an integrated financial services group operating in four core business areas: Investment Banking; Asset Management; Trustee Services; and Securities Brokerage Services.

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Polaris Bank Takes Over Skye Bank

Following the withdrawal of operating license of Skye Bank Plc by the apex Central Bank of Nigeria, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Insurance Deposit Corporation (NDIC), Godwin Emefiele, has changed name of Skye Bank to Polaris Bank.

Emefiele, at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, said an injection of N786 billion has been made into the bank with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has been directed to commence the sale process of the bank from Monday.

The revocation of Skye Bank’s operating license follows the Central bank’s decision to pause its injection of funds processes in the lender.

The regulators maintain that customers deposits safe as management and members of staff will be retained under the new ownership structure.

Meanwhile, the share price of Skye Bank on Friday gained 4.05 percent at 77 kobo.

The stock is expected to be placed on suspension from Monday in accordance with bridge bank procedures.

 

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