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First Bank Initiates 125Km Walk to Commemorate 125 Years of Operational Excellence

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Firstbank Plc, Nigeria’s innovative and customer oriented bank has been operating uninterupted banking in Nigeria for the past one hundred and twenty five years, and the bank is celebrating this feat with a 125km Relay Walk by staff of the bank and other corporate entities in the FBNHoldings collectively on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
Following the flag hoisting ceremony, the anniversary activities curtain raiser event that held on 1 March 2019, the 125km Relay Walk which is to be carried out at locations across Nigeria and other countries where the Bank operates is among the many activities lined-up to celebrate the Bank’s impact and contribution to the growth and development of Nigeria over the years, predating the independence of the West African country with a view to reinforce the collaborative efforts of all institutions of the group, FBNHoldings, as well as building on the heritage for the next 125 years and beyond.
According to Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “the 125km Relay Walk is a representation of the collaborative effort of not just FirstBank but all entities in our holding company, FBNHoldings, that have in the last 125 years impacted lives and contributed to the growth and development of our host communities and countries where we do businesses.
At FirstBank, we are proud of the strides made across these locations where we operate as without the effort of all staff – past and present – as well as our customers and stakeholders, there would be no FirstBank.
The 125km is a mark of our incredible journey of delivering impeccable financial services to our customers as we leave no stone unturned to remain an icon of admiration in today’s financial services industry in Africa.”
Speaking on the significance of the ‘Relay Walk”, Adeduntan explains that The Relay Walk is a collaborative effort to achieve a symbolic 125km.
He added “It is also a representation of the FirstBank brand in the last 125 years; our people, the team work, partnership and the collective spirit which has shown that as a team, together we can do and achieve more. It is neither a marathon, nor sprint, but a surefooted, steady walk we have taken in the last 125 years.”
Group Head of the bank’s Marketing and Corporate Communications unit, Folake Ani-Mumuney, explained how the “Relay Walk” would be carried-out and what it meant to the brand.
“As a Group, we have journeyed through the ages, our footprints spreading far and wide with indelible landmarks of several firsts. The Relay Walk, yet another First, combines a relay with a walk. A relay, symbolic with races connotes the agility of sprint, which can only be achieved through a team’s collective effort while the passing of the baton during a relay connotes effective succession, thus all attributes evident in FirstBank’s attainment of 125 years of sustained profitable growth. Ani-Mumuney explained the Relay Walk would see staff, customers and stakeholders walk at least 1.25km in teams and from different locations to make up the minimum 125km. At the end of the walk in each location, teams will symbolically pass the baton, committing to a cause that will take the Group to the next 125 years. The baton exchange symbolises the strong culture of succession planning of the Group in the last 125 years, a trait that highlights the dynamic and transformational nature of the brand as well as the essence of future proofing through a deliberate planning of transitions from one generational to another. The baton exchange is a commitment by the current leadership to uphold this spirit of foresight and deliberate planning of taking the brand to greater heights through the next 125 years.

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Banking

UBA Hinges Future Performance on Cost Efficiency, Improved Asset Quality

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has assured its local and international investors that it’s prudent focus on improved asset quality as well as the continuous adoption of strict cost efficient measures will help the bank achieve its objectives and priorities for the 2019 financial year and beyond.

This the bank has said will culminate into an institution with even stronger indices laced  with the capacity to churn out strong double-digit growth in annuity-based trade services, enhanced offerings and improved customer service.

Already, the bank has instituted a number of enhanced risk management and control framework which have in no small measure contributed to its financial performances and overall balance sheet growth over the years.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who noted this in a submission while presenting the bank’s 2018 full year results during an international investor/ analysts conference call on Thursday, explained that UBA’s well diversified asset book supported by stable funding structure, placed it in a premium position to perform remarkably despite the falling economic indices in its operating environment.

He said, “In spite of slow recovery in economic activities in Nigeria (our single largest market), the Group’s total assets has grown by 19.7%, driven largely by a strong deposit growth of 23%, as the drive for retail deposits continue to yield desired results. Leveraging on enhanced customer service, the Group grew retail deposits by 48%, thus strengthening the funding base and providing the foundation for lower cost of funds in 2019.

“Notably, the growth in balance sheet also partly reflects the impact of exchange rate difference between the reporting dates (2017: N331/USD vs. 2018: N359/USD), as 37% of loans and 27% of overall balance sheet is FCY-denominated. The Group maintained its appetite for a well-diversified balance sheet, with over 60% in liquid, low risk instruments.”

Uzoka explained to the investors that the bank recorded impressive growths achieved across major financial lines, recording a 48 percent year-on-year growth in retail deposits and improved CASA ratio to 77 percent.

In its results for the year end December 2018, UBA gross earnings grew by 7.0 percent to N494.0 billion, compared to N461.6 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017. The Bank’s total assets also grew significantly by 19.7 percent to an unprecedented N4.9 trillion for the year under review

Throwing more light on the financials, he stated that gross earnings grew by 7% year-on-year, despite regulation and market conditions undermined the non-interest income line. Interest income, which contributed 73% of gross earnings, grew by 11%, driven by strong interest income on treasuries, reflecting the low-risk appetite and treasury-led strategy adopted during the year. He noted that the lower non-interest income was occasioned by market condition and regulatory impact on FX trading income, adding that growing volume on FX trading is compensating for lower margin on this business, thus reinforcing our positive growth expectation on this income line in 2019.

While speaking on the strength of the financial institution in the coming years, especially on the back of it’s African and non-African subsidiaries, Uzoka said the bank’s recent foray into key markets and economies remain a milestone that will catapult the institution in the coming years.

He said, “UBA is a unique pan-African franchise with diversified risk and earnings across fast growing African economies with sound governance, risk management and compliance culture which can be seen from our adherence to international best practice. Our robust digital banking platform through which we are leveraging technology to serve over 15 million customers in a cost efficient approach that has helped to deepen African banking penetration.

“We have the strong financial capacity backed by high capitalization (BASEL II capital ratio well above requirement) and strong liquidity, and we have worked hard towards connecting Africa and the world through our presence in key African markets and major global financial centres such as New York, London and Paris.”

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Motoring

Kia to launch stylish new Ceed crossover

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From the very beginning of Ceed development 15 years ago, Kia has taken an open-minded approach to potential body styles. Many have been considered, and, in creating the new Ceed range, Kia’s European designers have been given the freedom to explore many different possibilities.

Now, with one additional idea standing out above all others, Kia is set to welcome a new arrival to the Ceed model family. Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe, explains: “There’s another style, another type of vehicle, that we feel very strongly deserves to be a new member of the Ceed family. It will the play the role that’s needed to make the Ceed range stronger and even more exciting, more appealing, to European consumers. The design will be nothing like you’ve seen in the Ceed family so far. This will be the next big surprise from Kia.”

With the arrival of the new Ceed, Ceed Sportswagon and ProCeed, Kia’s best-selling model family hasn’t stopped growing, and the newest member will shake things up again. The new Ceed crossover will be named and revealed later in 2019.

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BUSINESS

Unitel to chair the GSMA Association Africa Fraud and Security Group

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Unitel was elected to chair the GSMA Association Africa Fraud and Security Group (AFASG), a specific working group dedicated to dealing with critical fraud and security issues for the telecommunications industry in Africa.

The mandate has a period of two years, renewable for two more, upon evaluation of the work carried out and subject to a new election. The appointment is the result of an application process which is based on the presentation of a Strategic Leadership Plan for the Group in Africa, submitted to the consideration of its members.

Unitel competed with MTN (which has 18 operations in Africa) and with Wana Corporate, Morocco. The role of Chair will be assured by the Director of Risk, Fraud and Security of Unitel, José Carlos Sobreira Martins.

The AFASG includes the major telecommunication groups in Africa such as: Orange (18 operations in Africa); MTN (18); Airtel (16); Vodafone / Vodacom (8) and Millicom / Tigo (4), in addition to other individual mobile operators and Associate Members such as technology vendors such as Ericsson and Huawei.

AFASG is an entity within the framework of the GSMA Association, which in turn represents the international interests of all mobile telecommunications operators in the world. There are more than 800 mobile operators, and more than 350 associated companies that are part of the broad mobile ecosystem.

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