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Polaris Bank’s VULTe Pulls Ahead, Wins Double as Nigeria’s Best Digital Bank

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Polaris BAnk
 
…wins MSME Bank of the Year Award too
Polaris Bank shone brightest over the weekend as its bespoke home-grown digital bank, VULTe capped its string of wins with two more prestigious awards as the Best Digital Bank at both BusinessDAY’s Banks And Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards and The Nigerian Fintech Awards 2022 respectively. 
VULTe, is a digital bank solution designed to enable customers consummate every banking transaction, from account opening, through requesting for certain categories of loans, to generating bank statements. It also connects the customer to discover lifestyle trends and social events. It is an all-in-one solution that is created to offer the most convenience for customers and built to understand the needs of the customer and provide solutions to everyday challenges of accessing financial service solutions.
In the last 12 months, VULTe which hitherto caters more to individual customers, now has enhanced capabilities to render seamless self-services to SMEs, High Net worth, and retail customers.  The over 40million MSME operators in Nigeria could now access collateral-free loans for personal and business purposes; where eligible entrepreneurs and SME operators could apply and get up to N20million in a space of 5 minutes without visiting the Bank in person.
Symbolically, VULTe has made another significant history in the Nigerian banking and financial services sector by emerging the winner of the prestigious BAFI Awards back-to-back having won the same award last year. BusinessDAY is Nigeria and Africa’s leading and most respected business media group and organisers of numerous respected awards in the financial sector, as well as in other key sectors of the economy.
The Nigerian Fintech Awards on other hand is Nigeria’s biggest and most recognised Fintech award. The awards presentation ceremonies took place on Friday and Saturday in Lagos.
In the citation of Polaris Bank’s VULTe read by the organisers of The Fintech Awards 2022 shortly before the presentation of the award of Best Digital Bank, VULTe was preferred ahead of others in its competitive set on certain key parameters.
These include convenience, intuitiveness, trust and efficacious management system.
“For a digital bank that provides convenient account opening in minutes, intuitive loan application,  scheduled payments, personal digital card management,  trustworthy security,  and personal finance management, VULTe by Polaris Bank is hereby declared the winner of the Best Digital Bank category,” the organisers announced.
Similarly, while presenting the Best Digital Bank award to the Bank, BAFI Awards organisers disclosed that the awards selection/review committee voted Polaris Bank’s VULTe the winner having outperformed its industry peers, like ALAT and OneBank across eight metrics for consideration.
The metrics include strength of strategy for attracting and gaining digital customers, accelerated user engagement, success in getting clients to use digital offerings, growth of digital customers, and platform security.
Other metrics are the breadth of product offerings for retail and corporate clients, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives and web/mobile site design, intuitiveness and functionality.
At the same BAFI Awards Polaris Bank was declared ‘MSME Bank of the Year’ ahead of FCMB and Fidelity Bank in what the organisers described as the Bank’s expansive impact on MSME operators across Nigeria.
Polaris Bank in May this year launched a N1billion fund for MSMEs in partnership with Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) in what the Bank explained was aimed at providing the much-needed funding to create wealth and empower entrepreneurs and players within the MSME space in Nigeria, starting with Lagos.
Prior to the launch of the N1billion MSME Fund, Polaris Bank had committed, and indeed, provided multibillion financing to MSME operators across sectors, health inclusive among other incentives, like moratorium on facilities granted to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.
Polaris Bank is a digitally enabled Bank focused on providing superior financial solutions and products to its customers across sectors with industry-specific and individual needs.

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FIRSTBANK ANNOUNCES A NAME CHANGE OF ITS SUBSIDIARIES, REITERATES ITS COMMITMENT TO BOOSTING CROSS-BORDER BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN AFRICA AND THE WORLD

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier financial services institution, has announced a phased corporate name change of its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and Sub-Saharan Africa. FBNBank UK, FBNBank Sierra Leone, FBNBank Gambia and FBNBank DRC are the first set of subsidiaries effecting the name alignment. They are now known and addressed as FirstBank UK, FirstBank Sierra Leone, FirstBank Gambia and FirstBank DRC. The Ghana, Senegal and Guinea subsidiaries will be next in the phased name change implementation.

The name change is being implemented to align the subsidiaries with the parent brand and to enjoy the strong heritage and brand equity built by FirstBank Nigeria in its 129 years of banking leadership. This will further enhance the quality-of-service delivery resulting in better brand clarity, uniformity and consistency across all the markets where the Bank operates.

A leading financial inclusion services provider, FirstBank Group is committed to its nation-building goal. It has taken giant performance strides on its unique growth trajectory as it continues to build distinctive capabilities through partnerships and the constant drive to reinvent itself. This performance is evidenced in the numerous awards and recognitions bestowed on the institution.  These awards include Best Private Bank for Sustainable Investing in Africa 2023 by Global Finance Awards; Best Corporate Bank in Western Africa 2022 by Global Banking & Finance; Best CSR Bank Africa by International Business Magazine in 2022; and ranked as number one in Nigeria in terms of Overall Performance; Profitability; Efficiency and Return on Risk by the Top 100 African Bank Rankings 2022 released by The Banker Magazine from the stables of Financial Times.

In addition, in Euromoney Market Leaders, an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers conducted by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc., the Bank was crowned: Market Leader in Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR); Market Leader in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG); Highly Regarded in Corporate Banking and Digital Solutions and Notable: in SME Banking.

Speaking on the name change, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group, said ‘’ the name change which coincides with FirstBank’s 129th founding anniversary (March 31st, 2023) is indeed a milestone reflective of our resolve to continuously provide the gold standard of excellence and value as we put our customers First.  The new identity of the subsidiaries contributes to an enhanced brand presence. It helps our customers and stakeholders better appreciate the value of the diversified products suites, competitive pricing and extensive business networks the FirstBank Group offers. These include our commitment to boosting cross-border businesses including trade and investment opportunities essential to enhancing trade relations amongst countries, thereby strengthening the economies of host communities and reducing poverty,” he concluded. 

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ZENITH BANK RECORDS IMPRESSIVE 24% DOUBLE-DIGIT GROWTH IN GROSS EARNINGS IN 2022

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Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the year ending December 31, 2022, achieving an impressive double-digit growth of 24% in gross earnings from NGN765.6 billion reported in the previous year to NGN945.5 billion in 2022. This is despite the persistent challenging macroeconomic environment and headwinds.

According to the audited financial results for the 2022 financial year presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), the double-digit growth in gross earnings was driven by a 26% year-on-year (YoY) growth in interest income from NGN427.6 billion to N540.2 billion and a 23% year-on-year (YoY) growth in non-interest income from NGN309 billion to NGN381 billion. Profit before tax also grew by 2% from NGN280.4 billion to NGN284.7 billion in the current year. The increase in profit before tax was due to the significant growth in all the income lines.

Impairments grew by 107% from NGN59.9 billion to NGN124.2 billion, while interest expense grew 63% YoY from N106.8 billion to N173.5 billion, respectively. The impairment growth, which also resulted in an increase in the cost of risk (from 1.9% in 2021 to 3.3% in the current year), was due to the impact of Ghana’s sovereign debt restructuring programme. The growth in interest expense increased the cost of funds from 1.5% in 2021 to 1.9% in 2022 due to hikes in interest rates globally.

Customer deposits increased by 39%, growing from NGN6.47 trillion in the previous year to NGN8.98 trillion in the current year. The growth in customer deposits came from all products and deposit segments (corporate and retail), thus consolidating the bank’s market leadership and indicating customers’ trust.

The continued elevated yield environment positively impacted the bank’s Net-Interest-Margin (NIM), which grew from 6.7% to 7.2% due to an effective repricing of interest-bearing assets. Operating expenses grew by 17% YoY, but growth remains below the inflation rate. Total assets increased by 30%, growing from NGN9.45 trillion in 2021 to NGN12.29 trillion, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits. With the steady and continued recovery in economic activities, the Group prudently grew its gross loans by 20%, from NGN3.5 trillion in 2021 to NGN4.1 trillion in 2022, which increased the Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio modestly from 4.2% to 4.3% YoY. The capital adequacy ratio decreased from 21% to 19%, while the liquidity ratio improved from 71.2% to 75%. Both prudential ratios are well above regulatory thresholds.

In 2023, the Group intends to expand its frontiers as it also reorganises into a holding company structure, adding new verticals to its businesses and growing in all its chosen markets, both locally and internationally.

As a testament to its commitment to shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend payoutof N2.90 per share, bringing the total dividend to N3.20 per share.

In recognition of its track record of excellent performances, Zenith Bank was recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 13th consecutive year, in the 2022 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 2022; Best Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria 2021 and 2022 in the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022; Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, by the Ethical Boardroom; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards. Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, and Retail Bank of the year, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. Similarly, Zenith Bank was named as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDayAwards 2020, Most Innovative Bank of the Year 2019 by Tribune Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2020 by Independent Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.

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FIRSTBANK ANNOUNCES CALL FOR APPLICATION IN THE THIRD EDITION OF ITS FIRSTBANK MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATE PROGRAMME (FMAP)

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider has announced the call for participation in the third season of its FirstBank Management Associate Programme (FMAP). 

Interested participants are required to submit their application via  https://hdbc.fa.em2.oraclecloud.com/hcmUI/CandidateExperience/en/sites/CX

The application is extended to the general public as it closes by 24 March 2023.

The FirstBank Management Associate Programme (FMAP) is a 24-month fast-track comprehensive programme targeted at young, dynamic and highly driven individuals that are passionate about making a difference in the financial services industry. The programme is designed to build the next generation of leaders to drive the Bank’s vision of being Africa’s Bank of First choice.

FMAP equips participants with an extensive wealth of experience comprised of both classroom and real-life work that affords an insightful and balanced insight into the world of work. The programme is targeted at hi-potential young professionals who possess acute thinking skills, financial and methodical skills, and a distinctive ability to communicate effectively and synthesize ideas, information, and data to aid decision-making.

Speaking on the FMAP Season III, Olumuyiwa Olulaja, Group Head, Human Capital Management and Development, said “since its inauguration in half a decade, we are delighted with the giant strides and impact the initiative has had in promoting the career development of emerging talents in the financial services industry as they are instilled with the tenets and ethics of the banking industry in line with global best practice.

The FMAP initiative is amongst the many ways we reinvest in our human capital as we build the next generation of leaders through their exposure to various opportunities essential to preparing their readiness for the future. 

Since its launch in 2018, FirstBank has successfully trained and onboarded up to fifty talented individuals in 2 editions (2020 and 2022), who have all been deployed into strategic roles in the Bank and making a difference in the organization, while we continue to support their leadership growth and development.

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