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Sterling Bank’s Shares Gain 3.2% As Moody’s Reaffirms Ratings

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Yemi-Adeola

Moody’s Investors Service, a leading global rating agency, has re-affirmed the resilience of the Sterling Bank franchise by maintaining the lender’s standalone Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) ratings of B3.

This cheery news came hours after the lender’s share price appreciated by 3.25 per cent in today’s trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to close at N1.59 per share, indicating that that investors’ confidence remained strong.

BCAs are inputs to Moody’s joint-default analysis for ratings on issuers subject to extraordinary government support. It measures the financial strength of issuers subject to extraordinary government support, which can include banks, sub-sovereigns and government-related corporate issuers (GRIs). It explicitly excludes the likelihood of extraordinary government support in the event that a bailout is required, but does incorporate support as may be necessary for ordinary operations.

The rating agency in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos, expressed confidence that with its current profile, Sterling Bank will remain resilient in the face of more challenging operating conditions given its adequate capital and liquidity buffers.

The agency in the statement explained, “Sterling Bank’s B2 deposit ratings continue to incorporate one notch of rating uplift on account of government support as the Bank’s ratings remain lower than the sovereign rating and its foreign currency deposit rating is now in line with the lowered foreign currency deposit ceiling of B2”.

Specifically, Moody’s rated Sterling Bank b3 in Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment; B1 (cr) in Long-Term Counterparty Risk Assessment; B2 in Long-Term Issuer Rating (Local and Foreign Currency); B2 in Long-Term Deposit Rating (Local and Foreign Currency) while the outlook changed to stable.

It would be recalled that the agency in a statement last March, noted that the ratings of the lender reflects its “solid asset quality metrics and provision coverage, improvements to its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and risk management processes as well as its high liquidity buffers and a solid deposit funding base”.

According to Moody’s, the primary driver for confirming Sterling Bank’s BCAs is Moody’s expectation of the resilience of the banks’ standalone credit profiles despite the challenging operating environment. “While lower oil prices will continue to exert pressure on corporate borrowers and on the domestic economy more generally, we expect any deterioration in asset quality and liquidity at Sterling Bank to be manageable and within the tolerance levels assumed in their standalone ratings given their capital and liquidity buffers”, the agency stated.

Commenting, the Bank’s Executive Director, Finance & Strategy, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, noted that the reaffirmation of the rating is a testimony of the resilient of the Bank to remain strong and professional despite the challenging operating environment in which it operate.

Sterling Bank Plc, “the one-customer bank”, is a full-service national commercial bank with an asset base above N800 billion with over 187 business offices and more than 800 ATMs nationwide.

In over 55 years of service, Sterling Bank (formerly NAL Bank) has evolved from the nation’s pre-eminent investment banking institution to a fully-fledged commercial bank. Furthermore, with a strong national presence, Sterling Bank is one of the top 30 most capitalized institutions on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The bank also remains one of Nigeria’s fastest growing banks and is recognized as a dynamic financial services organization.

BUSINESS

GAIM 4 DRAWS: 13 New Millionaires Emerge In Fidelity Bank’s Savings Promo, Begin 2020 On A Happy Note

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Thirteen lucky customers of Fidelity Bank Plc have started the new year on a strong note having emerged millionaires in the third monthly draw of the Get Alert in Millions (GAIM) promo season 4 in Lagos on Tuesday. The bank also rewarded loyal customers with cash prizes worth N16 million in the categories of N2 million and N1 million respectively.

The electronic raffle draw, which was held at the bank’s Broad Street Branch, Lagos Island was witnessed by the relevant regulatory bodies including the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) and Consumer Protection Council (CPC). Lucky customers who emerged winners in the draw cut across all regions of the country.

The winners include Dare Abiodun Emmanuel; Ugwu Philomena Nneka; Chinenye Catherine Olunna; Egberi Agbarha Kelvin; Ivang Stanley Oham; Chinelo Loveth Egbuchunem; Dare Abiodun Emmanuel; Itabiyi Gbolahan Olakunle Hassan & Adejoke Jokotade; Larei Chindo; Chigozie Darlington Emoka; Khadijah Umar; Muazzam Ad Maizare; Isabella Chekwube Uche; Omolade Bamitale Olatawura.

Others are Joseph James Abah; Oghenetega Emmanuel Erus; Blessing Chidinma Okafor; Loveline Uche Okonkwo; Nafisat Ali Lawal; Comfort Ita Asuquo; Mohammed Halima Sadiya, amongst others. The bank doled out 19 consolation prizes in form of fridges, television sets and power generating sets.

Speaking during the event, Managing Director/CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo, noted it is the bank’s 9th promo in 12 years whilst adding that a total of N16 million and 19 consolation prizes will be given out at the third draw. Okonkwo who was represented by the Executive Director, Shared Services and Products, Chijioke Ugochukwu, further added that the draw will see a total of N50 million in cash and 54 consolation prizes to over 93 winners.

“We would have given out a total of N50 million in cash and 54 consolation prizes to over 93 winners. We expect more winners to emerge at subsequent draws because the promo is still on and in addition to the N50 million that we will be giving out, we still have N70 million and several consolation prizes yet to be won”, he said.

Shedding light on how people can qualify for the draw, Head, Savings Group, Fidelity Bank Plc, Janet Nnabuko, stated that both existing and new customers can win by simply topping their account with N10,000 for existing customers or someone opening a new account and building it up to N20,000.

She further disclosed that to qualify for the star prize of N3 million one needs to build his account to N50,000 while aspiring for the grand prize of N10 million, one only has to grow his account to N200,000.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 5 million customers that are serviced across its 250 business offices and various digital banking channels. The bank focuses on select niche corporate banking sectors as well as Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and its currently driving its retail banking businesses through its robust digital banking channels.

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Access Bank Breaks Into Cameroonian Market

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Nigerian banking group Access Bank just created a subsidiary in Cameroon. With an initial capital of about XAF14.5 billion, the new subsidiary’s headquarters will be in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital.

The administrative board of this subsidiary is constituted of seven members with only one Cameroonian, the legal notice published for the creation indicates. These members are Patience Melone, Iyabode Soji-Okusanya, Fatai Oladipo, Abraham Aziegbe, Ibukunoluwa Odegbaike, and Elliz Nzo Azu.

Created for a duration of 99 years, the bank has chosen Price Water House Coopers as its external auditor and will operate in the management of current accounts, savings collection, checks payment and credit granting.

As required by the rules in force, the launch of Access Bank Cameroon’s activities in Cameroon is still subject to the issuance, by the Ministry of Finance and the banking commission COBAC, of various legal notices and authorizations to the bank’s shareholders.

If it succeeds in launching its subsidiary in Cameroon, Access Bank Plc will become the 16th commercial bank to operate in the country and will meet one of its compatriots, United Bank of Africa (UBA), on that market. Let’s note that it is entering the Cameroonian market some years after the departure of another Nigerian group, Oceanic Bank International namely.

Some years ago, Oceanic Bank International took over 54.5% of Union Bank of Cameroon’s (UBC) assets saving it from bankruptcy. However, in 2011, Ecobank had to buy Oceanic Bank International’s assets in UBC, which is a well-rooted bank in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

Let’s note that last January 15, 2019, Access Bank Plc’s executive director Victor Etokwu announced that apart from the Cameroonian subsidiary, the banking group would create subsidiaries in two other African countries this year. The banking group will then have 18 subsidiaries in Africa.

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UBA Recruits 4000 New Staff, Promotes Over 5,000 Staff Members; Increases Salaries Up To 170%

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Over 5,000 staff of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, started the new year with a lot of cheer as the bank yesterday announced its promotion to new grades as well as salary upgrades with immediate effect this January.

Those who are beneficiaries of this exercise will receive up to 170% increase in their salaries and benefits, whilst a good number have been moved to higher grade levels.

In a carefully planned restructuring embarked upon by the bank in the last quarter of 2019, UBA has transformed its grading system and processes to become one of the most competitive within the industry. The bank crashed its grade levels to 12 levels from entry-level to the top of the pyramid where previously it had been 16 levels. This means that staff will now find it much easier to attain top leadership management positions at UBA as their careers progress much faster.

In a massive recruitment drive, over 4000 new staff members resumed in the last week of December 2019 in Nigeria alone at the bank. UBA currently stands as the highest employer of labour amongst Nigerian banks with a staff strength of close to 20,000.

UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, who announced the bank’s new staff improvement initiatives to the excited employees, noted that UBA is continually seeking new ways to improve the fortunes of its staff as they are the backbone of the organization.

Uzoka who spoke to the staff in a bank-wide live broadcast said, “As a leading financial institution, we do not take issues relating to our staff lightly. We take great pride in being a listening bank that has the ears of our employees as they turn the wheels which makes the organization successful for our customers and shareholders. UBA recruits highly talented staff who perform at the best standards and deserve to be remunerated accordingly’

Continuing, Uzoka said ‘ we have also taken steps to ensure that our bank remains at the top tier as it relates to a talent pool. We want to train the best and we have crashed the grade structure to make it easier and faster for our employees to progress along with their careers. With this new grade structure, it will be possible for a new graduate employed at UBA to rapidly chart their own careers and become GMD by the age of 36.”

UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. The bank also has a presence in the global financial centers of London, New York, and Paris. UBA provides banking services to more than 17 million customers globally, through diverse channels.

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