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CSR: Polaris Bank Gets Accolades for Supporting Feminine Hygiene Initiative

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…as Bank Empowers 9 schools
In its resolve to overcome one of the biggest healthcare challenges facing teenage girls from less privileged homes in Nigeria, Polaris Bank has launched a Feminine Hygiene initiative. The programme has so far seen the Bank sensitize over a thousand secondary school girls on feminine hygiene practices and provide them with the items with which they could manage their menstrual cycle without missing any day at school. 
The initial intervention which ended August 2021, spanned two geo-political zones: North Central and North East, directly reaching nine schools across three states. The initiative has been lauded as timely, especially in improving the lives of many young girls and women in the country with thousands of girls as beneficiaries.
The project was in collaboration with Green Girls Company, a subsidiary of Folio Media Group, covered Kogi, Gombe, and Borno States, respectively. The beneficiary schools include Federal Government Girls College, Kabba; Government Science Secondary School, Lokoja and Army Day Secondary School, Lokoja; Kogi State. Other schools include Government Girls Secondary School, Doma; Government. Science Secondary School, Budapest Shongo, Government Secondary School, Pilot, Gombe State; Government Girls College Maiduguri; Government Secondary School, Ville and Federal Government College Maiduguri in Borno State.
In a statement issued by Polaris Bank’s Group Head, Strategic Brand Management, Nduneche Ezurike, “the feminine hygiene campaign fulfills a vital pillar of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.”
Mr. Ezurike said that the perceived ‘culture of silence and shame among school girls and women regarding feminine hygiene is partly due to cultural restrictions. “Unfortunately, this has given rise to the transmission of inaccurate and insufficient information on the subject,” he added.
He explained that: “The intervention is an important exercise to disabuse minds of people on the myths and taboos associated with feminine hygiene, as well as raise awareness on the subject so that women and girls feel empowered to manage their periods safely, hygienically, and without embarrassment.”

A cross section of students from Government Girls College (GGC), Maiduguri.

Ms. Oyebola Oyedele, the lead consultant of the Green Dignity Kit project, said, “Making the girls feel a sense of worth is the high point for me. I could see the sense of appreciation and self-confidence from them. The intervention from Polaris Bank in response to the needs of young girls is a move in the right direction towards debunking existing myths and solving a global issue.”
Dr. Erisa Danladi, Director of Programmes, Women Affairs, Gombe State, commended the efforts of Polaris Bank and the organizers of the program, noting that: “The exercise will impact the lives of the young girls; I look forward to more of such programmes taken to remote areas of Gombe state.”
Mrs. Emilia Ugochi, the School Health Personnel at Army Day Secondary School, Lokoja, Kogi State, noted: “We are grateful for this initiative, as most of the girls have been unable until now to state the challenges they are facing. This programme has given them more confidence to reach out for help when needed.”
Remarking on the impact of the initiative, Fibi Mohammed, Head Girl, Government Girls College, Doma, Gombe State, said that: “The products will go a long way in making us feel more comfortable during our monthly period. In the past, we often rush to our hostels to overcome the inconveniences that come with inability to access sanitary products.”
“The lecture was very useful and I am excited to pass it on to my younger ones. The health tips have encouraged me in my ambition to become a medical doctor,” said Aisha Abdulahi-Abubakar, an SS2 student of Government Girls Secondary School, Ngoshe.
Also, Bilkis Barma, from Government Girls College, Maiduguri, said, “My parents have four girls, so there are often more pressing things to take care of in the home. My Friends and I have been using different materials which I was made to understand from this lecture that they are unhygienic. I am more than happy to receive these products and please come back to our school,” pleaded Hauwa Musa-Maina from Government Girls Secondary School Maiduguri.
Polaris Bank’s feminine advancement footprint which includes partnerships with the International Women’s Society; Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; Care Organization and Public Enlightenment (C.O.PE) Foundation and a host of others are all efforts geared towards the empowerment of women.
The Bank’s intervention supports Principle 4 of UNEP-FI Principles for Responsible Banking. The Bank seeks to engender a sustainable Nigerian society through its business and Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) targets for sustainable impact.
Polaris Bank is a future-determining bank committed to delivering industry-defining products and services across all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

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FIRSTBANK BROADENS ITS INTERNATIONAL MONEY TRANSFER NETWORK, REITERATES COMMITMENT TO CUSTOMER SERVICE

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In furtherance of the need to expand diaspora remittance inflow into the country, FirstBank of Nigeria Limited has increased its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), targeted at easing the accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner. With over 750 branches across the country, customers can receive money from the nearest FirstBank branch closest to them.

  

Over the years, FirstBank has been in partnership with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs which include Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflow into the country, thereby putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the world.

Beneficiaries can receive remittance in US dollars in any of our over 750 branches spread across the country. Customers without an existing domiciliary account can have dollar account automatically created for their remittances. You can also receive inflow directly into your account through Western Union.

In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly-owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the Bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Gbenga Shobo said “at FirstBank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are, across the world.”

FirstBank pioneered international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago and has been at the forefront of promoting cross-border payments in the country, having started the journey with Western Union Money Transfer. The Bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market.

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Commitment to Customer Service Translates to Financial Gains – UBA GMD Kennedy Uzoka

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The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Kennedy Uzoka, has said that the bank recorded significant improvement in its operational and financial performance as a result of its unending commitment towards delivering products and services aimed at meeting customers’ demands.

Uzoka said this during the Investors/Analysts Conference Call at the bank’s head office in Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday September 16, 2021, following the release of its results for the half year ended June 30, 2021.

UBA delivered a 33.4% appreciation in its profit before tax which rose to N76.2bn as at June 2021, up from N57.1bn recorded in the same period of 2020, translating to an annualised Return on Average Equity of 17.5% as against 14.4% a year earlier. Profit after tax grew to N60.6bn representing a significant rise by 36.3% compared to N44.4bn recorded in 2020, while gross earnings grew to N316bn from N300.6bn as at June 2020; a 5.1% growth

This feat was recorded despite the challenging business and economic environment that emerged from the slow pace of activities following the global lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The GMD expressed optimism that the bank is on the trajectory of achieving and even surpassing its targets for the financial year, adding that its focus on delighting its customers remains at the forefront of all its activities.

He said, “We are very committed to the prudent and responsible growth of our risk assets, quality of our balance sheet and the overall health of the bank. We will continue to balance our growth appetite with the need to maintain very good healthy portfolio of our assets.

“Our customer-first philosophy remains our guiding strategy. We want to assure you of positive customer experience for all our customers. In addition, we would like to deliver our banking services only from the standpoint of our customers. And indeed, as we say at UBA, our customers are our ultimate employers,” Uzoka explained.

Whilst expressing optimism that the Nigerian economy and the broader economy will continue to recover and rebound from the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the remaining quarter of 2021 and all the way into 2022, the GMD assured the investors and participants of the bank’s commitment to maintain professionalism and continue to ensure strict compliance with the rules and regulations guiding our operations in all our presence countries. “With the trusted commitment of all our great and wonderful employees, board and management, we will continue to match towards actualising our enterprise goals,” he noted.

UBA’s Chief Financial Officer, Ugo Nwaghodoh, who spoke on the bank’s significant geographical diversification across key economies in Africa and beyond, noted that UBA recorded impressive growth in interest incomes and net incomes, with steady growth in funding and deposits from customers.

He pointed out that even as the operating environment remains largely uncertain and volatile, despite marked improvement from Covid-19 induced macroeconomic stress, UBA will continue to build resilience through its geographically diversified business model to support headline earnings growth for the Group.

“We remain committed to our 18% and 15% respective RoAE and deposit growth guidance for FY 2021, as we continue to invest in growth opportunities across our geographies of operation, whilst managing capital and balance sheet prudently,” Nwaghodoh said.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-five million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints, in 20 African countries. With a presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance and ancillary banking services.

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Heritage Bank Boss; Ifie Sekibo urges govt, stakeholders to prioritize SMEs, youth entrepreneurship 

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Bridging the gap to attain sustainable solutions to economic recovery will be the most impactful route to drive lasting and meaningful growth; for this to be achieved, the creation of opportunities, conscious inclusion of Small and Medium Enterprises and youth entrepreneurship are crucial. MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo gave this submission on the sidelines of the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with a theme: “Economic Recovery, Inclusion & Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance.” 

According to him, one of the key areas where government, financial institutions and other stakeholders can move this nation from poverty to prosperity is through the conscious creation of a viable environment for small businesses and young entrepreneurs to thrive because they are the backbone of local economies around the world – they happen to be the biggest employers, job creators and contributors of the national gross domestic products.

“We cannot talk about moving from poverty to prosperity without taking SMEs very seriously in this country.

“We must support the SMEs sector reform through providing infrastructure, providing loans to farmers and ensuring interest rate loans are single digit,” he affirmed.

Sekibo who was represented at the conference by the Regional Head Abuja-1, Daniel Oniko, stated that giving SMEs and young entrepreneurs leverage to contribute immensely to the development of their host community through engaging the youths and unemployed individuals will bring about and facilitate economic recovery.

 

He emphasized that the role of SMEs in creating and sustaining national development in relation to job creation has been considered a key tool in modern-day poverty alleviation, economic emancipation, and total well-being. The MD, however, disclosed, “One of Heritage Bank’s major cardinal points as a bank is supporting micro, small and medium scale businesses and our strong desire to see young men and women succeed in any area of their business. This will help the society and economy to grow, thereby moving the nation from poverty to prosperity, he added.

L-R: Edison Okoro, Heritage Bank’s Experience Centre Manager, Herbert Macaulay, Abuja; Dr. Uche Olowo; Immediate past President/Chairman of Council, CIBN; Daniel Oniko Regional Head Abuja 1; Isaiah Ediae, Experience Centre Manager, Algiers Wuse and Blessing Eyo, Heritage Bank’s Experience Centre Associate, during the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with a theme: “Economic Recovery, Inclusion & Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance,” held in Abuja.

He noted that Heritage Bank was taking the lead through various initiatives such as its youth entrepreneurship development programmes which were aimed at increasing the contributions of the MSME segment to the economy. He further explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank in the support for business had always focused on dependable job-creating sectors such as the agricultural value chain: fish farming, poultry, snail farming, etc., cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry: tourism, arts and crafts, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

 

Speaking earlier, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said emerging challenges require that the banking and finance sector takes on more transformative projects such as housing and renewable energy. The VP acknowledged that the banking and finance sector has over the years played significant roles in the nation’s economic development. According to the Vice President, “it is time for the sector to take on some of the transformative big-ticket items that would fundamentally transform our economy.

 

Such matters include consumer finance but housing finance. “In his goodwill message, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele stated that the banking sector remained well-positioned to support the recovery efforts of the monetary and fiscal authorities. “Clearly, Nigeria’s banks have become not only strong and resilient but have also carved a good niche in the world to consolidate on the growth and resilience of the banks in the last decades”, he added.

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