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Excitement Heralds the launch of Polaris Bank digital bank, VULTe

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Customers and Non-Customers of the Bank to Use Platform

Polaris Bank on Tuesday launched its much anticipated digital banking platform, VULTe. In his welcome address at the well-attended unveiling ceremony which held at Eko Hotel, Lagos and virtually to national and global audience, Chairman of the Bank, M.K Ahmad (OON) disclosed that the corporate goal of Polaris is to offer customers and non-customers of the Bank, a 24-hour seamless service over two years ago when the Polaris journey started which led to the pursuit and now actualization of VULTe.

“This is a milestone in our pursuit of a strong and digitally-led retail brand. When we started the Polaris journey almost three years ago, we were very clear on the type of Bank we must build and the direction we must go. This was largely informed by the fast pace of change in financial service provisioning and the apparent technology-defined outlook of our business.”

“We are therefore bringing VULTe to the market place today. And this is not another mobile App, but one with a world of difference, a mobile digital bank. This is your Bank in your hand, affording you total Control of your financial service needs. With VULTe, you serve yourself, the way you want to be served,” the Chairman explained.

In his keynote address, the Acting Managing Director/CEO of the Bank, Mr. Innocent C. Ike said the newly-launched banking platform, is returning all powers to the customer as king. He noted that customers are now at liberty to enjoy unhindered, contactless and refreshing banking experience all at the tip of their fingers thanks to the newly launched VULTe app.

“With VULTe, we affirm our resolve to serve the customer better and make their banking experience, more pleasurable. Therefore, we will continue to launch an array of banking products to cater to the varying needs of our diverse customers.”

Explaining the premium value the Bank places on its customer with the VULTe, Ike said: “Ultimately, VULTe represents our bold declaration to hand over CONTROL of banking services to our customers and allow them to serve themselves as they would want to be served.

“As a Polaris Bank customer, you are at liberty to determine your banking experience since we have put the Bank in your hand 24/7. You now have total CONTROL to serve yourself; it’s no more customer service but customer self-service.

“Are you opening an account, setting limits on your account, verifying your identity documents, registering your biometrics, making inquiries, taking an instant loan? You are in total CONTROL – you do it at your time, at your convenience, and on your terms – you determine how delightful your banking experience will be”.

The highlight of the launching was the practical demonstration of the uniqueness of the VULTe application by the Bank’s Chief Digital Officer, Mr. Bamidele Adeyinka to the excited guests.

According to him; “The Digital Banking Platform, VULTE, will change everything that happens in the ‘brick & mortar’ space (i.e. branches) to clicks and buttons.”

“The VULTE comes in mobile (Android and iOS) and Web Applications and it allows customers with either of the options, to access banking services at the click of the button,” he added.

The CDO explained that all Bank customers in the country can take advantage of the VULTe to carry out their banking transactions including account opening, bills payments, transfers, balance enquiry, airtime rechage and quick loans.

He further stated that on-boarded customers will be able to access PayDay Loan on both mobile and web digital platform where eligibility will be displayed to the customer within the VULTe application.

Also, on-boarded customers will be enabled to pay taxes and levies for different government parastatals in addition to several other benefits such as ability to perform intra-bank and inter-bank transfers.

“To onboard, customers with BVN will input their BVN and take a selfie (photo of their face) which will be compared automatically with the photo on their BVN profile (via Facial Recognition – an advanced cognitive and artificial intelligence facial recognition technology),” the CDO disclosed.

Meanwhile, the Bank also announced special reward packages for early users of the VULTe app. Reeling out giveaways and free gifts, Mr. Muhammed Abdullahi, Executive Director, Abuja and Northern Region of the Bank said: “For your loyalty and positive acceptance of VULTe and all other banking services offered by Polaris Bank, on behalf of the Board, Management and Staff, I’m happy to announce some mouthwatering offers to everyone following us to mark this occassion.

“Consequently, please note that the first 2000 persons who download VULTe from Appstore or PlayStore and make a transaction on the platform, stand to win a collection.of beautiful mementos like;  Mugs, Michael Cable Charger, Key Rings, Pop Socket among other collection of gifts,” the ED said.

The launch event had in attendance representatives of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), key Financial Technology (FinTechs) industry players and strategic partners of Polaris Bank who all in their goodwill messages attested to the bank’s unwavering determination to ensuring quality customer satisfaction at all times.

Some of the dignitaries include: Prof. Olayinka David-West, Dean, Information Systems, Lagos Business School (LBS); Chief Demola Aladekomo, Chairman, Chams, Plc; Agada Apochi, Managing Director, Unified Payment Systems; Babatunde Okeniyi Managing Director, PayAttitude amongst others.

Others include: AyoTunde Coker, MD Rack Center; Funke Opeke, MD Main-One; Jimi Awosika Group Vice Chairman Troyka/Insight; Akin Banuso, County General Manager, Microsoft; Dr. Ken Ikpe, Group CEO Insight Redefini; Paul Mosimabale Upperlink Co-founder; Obi Emetarom, Appzone Limited MD and Mrs Abiola Laseinde, MD Edniesal Consulting.

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Half-Year Performance: Transcorp Plc Shows Powerful Growth as Profit Leaps by 713%

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Transcorp Hotels

Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) has released its unaudited results for the half-year ended June 2021, recording significant improvement across its major income lines.

The Conglomerate with strategic investments in the Power, Hospitality, and Energy sectors, recorded a profit after tax of N6.5bn, rising by 713% up from N0.8bn recorded in June of the previous year. Other key highlights of the result include the following:

  • Revenue rose by 53%, from N35.0bn in June 2020 to N53.3bn in the period under consideration.
  • Gross profit grew by 60%, from N14.7bn in June 2020 to N23.5bn in June 2021.
  • Profit before tax rose by 689% from N0.9bn in June 2020 to N7.1b in June 2021.

Commenting on the performance, Transcorp’s President/Group CEO, Mrs. Owen Omogiafo, reiterated the Conglomerate’s commitment towards producing long-term value and sustainable impact. “We are pleased to see the sustained growth in our group performance, which was achieved as a result of the improved performance across all the sectors we operate in. The revenue achieved in our power business grew by 48%, as a result of improved gas supply and increased generation capacity”, she stated.

Commenting on the hospitality sector, Omogiafo stated that the company’s strategic actions have resulted in a growth in revenue of up to 84%, despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the Nigerian and global hospitality industries. She expressed confidence in the company’s recovery strategies, citing the recent official launch of Aura, the company’s digital hospitality platform, as a testament to that confidence.

On the Group’s capacity to sustain its performance, Omogiafo said, “We do not plan to rest on our oars. We will continue to sweat our existing assets and explore new frontiers, as we continue to deliver on our purpose of Improving Lives and Transforming Nigeria.”

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Rethinking safe-haven assets and building resilient portfolios with Xend Finance

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As with most things in life, feeling overwhelmed as a newbie is simple, and this is especially true in such a volatile market as the world of cryptocurrencies. Regardless of the uncertainty and worries, the world of cryptocurrency has the potential to have a unique and substantial impact on anyone’s financial stability.

Government Bonds, treasury bills, and other forms of fixed income investments are undeniably considered as safe haven investments due to their low risk, but with inflation on the increase, the question arises how safe is money locked up for a specific period of time?

It is therefore important to build a resilient portfolio able to minimize risks and mitigate volatility, diversity into multiple unrelated investments, deliver steady returns and also able to recognize changing market conditions, new opportunities and respond accordingly.
Enter the world of Stablecoins. A less volatile cryptocurrency asset pegged to a cryptocurrency, fiat money, or to exchange-traded commodities (such as precious metals or industrial metals).

Compare to other forms of cryptocurrency assets like bitcoin, or altcoins the advantages of stablecoins are stabilized by assets that fluctuate outside of the cryptocurrency space that is prices are pinned to real-world assets.
Most stablecoins are pegged to the US Dollar as they are an easy way to get exposure to the crypto space without having to worry about volatility.

You can build a resilient portfolio with stable coins by having a good foundation on which you can build and protect your investment portfolio. This is necessary to provide a buffer when the markets are volatile or things go south.

These stablecoins also provide diversification as Investor Phillips Hodges mentioned in an interview emphasized the importance of balancing factors affecting the returns you can get across the different than the classes themselves. Stable coins also provide the extra diversification a portfolio needs to stay afloat in a stormy market, minimize losses due to their low volatility.

Be rest assured as an investor that your portfolio can only said to be strong when you have investments that can stand the test of time. Inflations and rickety market conditions.
If you’re a fund manager looking to get exposure to the crypto space through stable coins, send an email to [email protected] and someone would be in touch with you.

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Market formation framework, driver to optimally develop solid mineral sector- Ifie Sekibo 

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Ifie Sekibo

MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo has said that the market formation framework is the key to optimally exploit Nigeria’s precious metal and solid minerals endowments. He disclosed this during a webinar organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development with the theme, “Financing the Solid Minerals Sector through the Capital Market and the Critical Role of Commodity Exchanges.”  

Sekibo explained that a fully established market formation process that would lead to having a Corporation as an integrated solid mineral institution like NNPC which allows the collateralization of assets those banks can rely on for alternative funding options.

According to him, this will guarantee other creative ways of raising funds for financing commercial activities relating to solid minerals and viable projects along its value chain.

Sekibo who was represented by the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, of the Bank, Olusegun Akanji, said for the sector to be viable, it requires lots of converged government interventions because for any development focused sector to kick-off around the world, it needs government intervention to lay the foundation for the private sector and funders to step-in and pool their resources.

“Once, we can collateralize these assets, whether they are under the ground or being determined, you use different instruments to bring liquidity into them. Then investors will follow up once we have established there is enough they can explore.” the MD stated.

He further suggested that finance sector regulators need to expand their Prudential Guidelines to accommodate the instruments such that precious metal-backed or solid minerals-backed assets could qualify as part of the computation of liquidity ratios.

“Once banks start injecting their resources, customers would certainly follow that trend. You can start arranging for sophisticated solutions like bonds, bullion-backed assets and pension notes. Again, banks will have to be poised to hold the funding that comes from this sector; that way, they can open new transactional frontiers either locally or internationally.

“At the base of this, are the issues of pricing and integrity of the market. Once banks play in that sector and we have a government institution like the NNPC type to hold all this documentation, it would be very easy to establish price discovery on an ongoing basis. This will in turn attract international funders, hedge funds and retail investors. Today, we have retail bonds in the same way; we can have gold-backed or any of the solid mineral assets where retail investors can put in the funds,” Sekibo explained.

Meanwhile, it would be recalled that Heritage Bank Plc has said its involvement in the private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Limited is set to unlock the over N344 trillion market worth of gold investible instruments in the solid minerals sector.

However, he reiterated that a consistent packaged framework, which could only be held by an established government institution, as part of the layers of the framework, would help to tackle major challenges in trying to support Dukia Gold’s clients.

“With a consistent packaged framework, it will be easier for Dukia Gold and help in less spending. If Dukia Gold should speak of their challenges, they will speak about tonnes of documents they have to produce. But with a unified source of documentation, it makes the process easier and improves cost management. These are some of the challenges we have experienced in trying to support a few clients we worked with,” Sekibo stated.

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