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By: Manny Ita

Financial experts and shareholders on Saturday expressed mixed reactions over the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to revoke the licence of Skye Bank.
The stakeholders expressed their views in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, while reacting to the revocation of the licence of Skye Bank by the apex bank.
Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella of the Economics department, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun commended the decision of the apex bank.
Tella said the CBN had helped Skye Bank shareholders by making the announcement at the close of banking hour for the week.
He said the announcement at the close of the week prevented an immediate run on the bank.
According to him, announcement of a bridge bank was also helpful and would prevent a run on the bank in the coming week.
“There is no time that can be regarded as good for this kind of action but action must be taken whenever it becomes inevitable.
“Such actions are capable of dousing tension that normally follows sudden closure of banks,” Tella said.
He said the shareholders had not really benefited from the bank because they had not received dividend on their investment for a long time.
The economist said in other climes where shareholders were active investors, they would have sold their shares to minimise losses.
“But in Nigeria, majority hold on to their shares even when it is apparent the business is sliding down,” Tella added.
He, however, said the impact on the economy and the banking sector, in particular, may not be serious, unless another bank ran into trouble within three to six months.
Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd., said the decision of the apex bank as a regulator could not be faulted.
Kurfi said the development should serve as a lesson to both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nigerian Stock Exchange to put their house in order.
He noted that SEC and NSE should be more active going forward by ensuring suspension of trading on the shares of any bank taken over by CBN to avoid making a mockery of the capital market.
He said Skye Bank shares traded on the exchange on September 21 and made some gains only for the licence to be revoked the same day.
“CBN has been demonstrating several times that it has no regards for shareholders but only depositors and as at today the only loser in the bank are the shareholders,” Kurfi said.
He said the shareholders should learn from past experience by exiting any bank taken over by the CBN to avoid regrets.

Mr Uche Nworah, the General Manager, Anambra Broadcasting Service, Awka, said the mandate of the apex bank and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation was to safeguard depositors.
Nworah said the CBN must have seen a lot of things in the bank before deciding to revoke the licence to protect investors and depositors.
He, however, faulted the apex bank’s approach in terms of information management.
Nworah said the bank’s customers and depositors were the ones that alerted the workers of what was going on in Awka, Anambra State.
Mr Moses Igbrude, Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said the takeover of Skye Bank was a very sad and avoidable story.
Igbrude described the takeover as a total loss for all the bank’s minority shareholders.
He linked the bank’s failure to the acquisition of the former Afribank against the shareholders’ advice.
“The story started some few years ago when the former management decided to expand by acquiring former Afribank and later Mainstream Bank against the advice of some of us shareholders not to do so.
“They refused to listen to us when we told them that Mainstream Bank was cancerous and political exposed, that the intrigue that would follow the acquisition would consume the bank.
“While shareholders of Skye Bank have lost their investments, what happened to the management who took the decision and those professional consultants who did the due diligence reports that the management relies on to take decision?
“It is high time regulators address the issue of fake consultants, who parade themselves as professionals or else this will continue to happen,” Igbrude said.
Mr Boniface Okezie, National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said the CBN needed to explain its actions to Nigerians for better understanding.
Okezie said the apex bank needed to find a lasting solution to the banking sector crisis which was becoming an embarrassment not only to government but to the investing public.
He said the CBN should be held responsible for the development in Skye Bank because it granted the bank the approval to acquire Afribank.
Okezie said the investors should not be allowed to suffer again for the misdeeds and mistakes of the regulations.
He called on the Federal Government to investigate the collapse of banks in the country.
Okezie added that the past management and board of Skye Bank must be made to account for what led to the bank’s misfortune.

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BUSINESS

FIRSTBANK EMPOWERS WOMEN THROUGH FIRSTGEM ONLINE COMMUNITY

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that its all-female online community www.firstgem.com.ng , offers mentoring, support and capacity building opportunities for all to create a new generation of financially literate women.

With the aim to increase its engagement and reach a wider audience, an online repository for its FirstGem product was created and designed to provide a virtual online community where like-minded women irrespective of where they are in Nigeria and abroad, gather to connect, grow and share knowledge on everything about lifestyle, parenting, career development, entrepreneurship, health, work and family. Financial empowerment and wealth creation ideas are shared to encourage women to play their part in providing financial support for their families.

The portal provides varied contents ranging from Blog stories to Vlogs, Newsletters, Chat rooms which are built on 6 pillars – Health, Wealth and Finance, Food and Recipes, Events, Entrepreneurship, Lifestyle and Beauty. The FirstGem online community presently has over 61,634 members drawn from all walks of life sharing ideas, insights and experiences.

According to Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “FirstGem is suited for the Nigerian woman, and we are using this online community as the ideal opportunity to position the Bank’s gender initiatives to meet the required needs on a wide range of issues affecting women from lifestyle, skills acquisition, finances, wealth acquisition and management, business support, etc.

We encourage all women to join the community by signing up via this link https://firstgem.com.ng/community to enjoy this experience.
FirstGem is a gender specific account designed to meet the needs of women, aged 18 years and above.

It is targeted at a broad spectrum of women, working professionals, entrepreneurs and MSMEs with a view to promoting growth via an array of benefits, from free business advisory services, regular information or insights on business opportunities in various sectors and industries, as well as mouth-watering discounts at partnered stores and outlets.FirstGem has successfully empowered women in states across the geo-political zones in Nigeria and the UK.

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BUSINESS

FBNHoldings wins World Finance Best Corporate Governance in Nigeria Award

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Nigeria’s leading financial services group and holding company, FBN Holdings Plc, has won the 2020 Best Corporate Governance in Nigeria Award by the World Finance. World Finance is renowned for its comprehensive coverage and analysis of the global financial services industry, international business, and the global economy.

FBN Holdings Plc is winning this award for the second consecutive year on the back of its strong corporate governance practices and outstanding leadership in the Nigerian financial services industry

Commenting on the award on behalf of FBNHoldings, UK Eke, MFR, its Group Managing Director said; “winning the award in quick succession is a demonstration of not only the strength of our corporate governance practices but also its resilience. As a holding company, we emphasize the highest standards in corporate governance across all operating entities in our quest to deliver value to our numerous stakeholders”

For the past thirteen years, World Finance has been celebrating corporate achievements in the areas of corporate governance, innovation, and market leadership in the financial services sector across all the regions of the World.

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BUSINESS

FIRSTBANK PRESENTS DEVICES TO LAGOS STATE TOWARDS DRIVING 1MILLION STUDENTS TO E-LEARNING  

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider on Thursday, 11 June 2020, presented 20,000 units of e-learning devices to the Lagos State government at the State House in Marina, Lagos. The devices are planned for distribution to school children.

 

With the gesture, the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the State had found a “real development partner” in FirstBank, noting that the intervention came at a time the Government was massively deploying technology to transform the conventional mode of teaching and learning.

 

The presentation of these devices which is also in partnership with Robert & John (an edu-tech company that owns Roducate) is part of activities implemented to close the gap caused by the disruption in children education’s due to schools’ closure, following the COVID-19 pandemic. So far the Bank has enabled over 10,000 free sign-ups to the Roducate e-learning platform with the goal to empower one million students.

 

“When we were developing our vision to change the face of education in Lagos, we knew from the outset that we could not achieve much progress in improving the quality of learning without using technology as a strong enabler. So, it is not out of place that we are witnessing more infusion of technology in learning and this intervention by FirstBank could not have come at a better time,” said Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos State.

 

“It feels great when you have people and organisations share in your vision and working with you to realise it. I’m glad to say that we have found a real development partner in FirstBank, which has supported us to actualise the vision we have signed to achieve. Many years back, nobody foresaw Coronavirus (COVID-19) would come and disrupt our ways of life. These devices will be useful to our pupils in the current circumstances we have found ourselves.”

 

“FirstBank and all technical partners that worked on this project have written their names in the heart of students that will be using the device to learn. They will be forever grateful for passing the future to them.”

 

 

The e-learning device is configured in line with the government’s accredited curriculum for primary, secondary and tertiary schools across various fields of academic endeavours, such as science, commercial and arts. It is built to promote cost-effective learning as there is minimal need for internet connectivity, whilst learning on the device is on-going.

 

Speaking on the presentation, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said “the e-learning initiative aligns with our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives and falls under one of our key strategic pillars, Education.”

 

“We are excited to promote education and have consistently demonstrated this in our support of 10 universities and 3 secondary schools on infrastructure projects; our support of 10 universities with professorial Chairs and provision of financial literacy, entrepreneurial and career counselling to over 80,000 students in over 80 secondary schools in the country”, he added.

 

The Bank has also collaborated with IBM and Curious Learning to ensure the e-learning initiative swiftly moves across the country to school children and individuals with the need to promote the pursuit of knowledge, irrespective of age.

 

The partnership with IBM, offers the Digital-Nation Africa program, an online youth-focused learning programme that enables innovation and skills development on emerging technologies through focus areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Coding, Cloud, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Data Science and Analytics, and Cybersecurity whilst Curious Learning offers academic-based contents for students aged 3-8, using fun, self-guided learning apps to help them with their cognitive skills at a fundamental level.

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