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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.

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UBA Promises To Put Customers’ Needs First As It Holds 2019 Forum In Lagos

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The pan African Financial Services Institution, United Bank for Africa(UBA) has again reiterated its commitment to surpass the expectations of its customers through the provision of products and services that meet their needs. The Bank made this promise at a special Customer Forum to mark the 2019 edition of the Customer’s Service Week.

The forum which was held at the bank’s Head Office, in Lagos, was very interactive and presented an opportunity for the management, staff, and customers to share ideas on how to improve customer-satisfaction, in line with the bank’s Customer First Philosophy.

UBA’s Group Executive, Customer Fulfilment Centre, Mr Anant Rao, who welcomed customers to the forum, explained that the bank has deliberately re-focused and re-engineered its activities to put the customers first, adding that it has been leveraging on a three-prong lever of People, Process and Technology, in a bid to ensure maximum satisfaction to the customers, without whom the bank will not exist.

He said, “The singular mission of our consistent and superior customer experience has been imbibed into the DNA of each and every staff of the bank. In this way, there is no gainsaying that Service has been institutionalized at UBA. The mantra of our Customers being our employers has been ingrained into the psyche of each and every staff.”

Also speaking, the Group Head, Marketing, Mrs Dupe Olusola, said the bank has tailored a lot of products to assist customers to thrive in their various fields, adding that there was a lot of focus on small and medium scale enterprises which are growth drivers of any growing economy.

She said, “At UBA, we are constantly thinking about you, creating personalized products you need to achieve your goals. Right from the kids, children, young adults, students to the mass retail market; SMEs; creative industry; agricultural; UBA has something for everyone, and we are here at your service all the time.”

Some of the customers who were at the event, commended the bank for the services it rendered to them, and also pointed out areas of improvement and expectation, adding that this will lead to beneficial interests to both parties.

A customer of the bank, High Chief Goddy Ulasi, who has banked with UBA for over 15 years, commended the bank for helping him and his business grow over the years and called on the bank to make rates more competitive to ensure that customers and businesses also benefit even more from the bank.

In response, the Group Head, Transaction and Electronic Banking, Mr. Sampson Aneke, said the customers remain the key focus of the bank, adding that the bank is in discussions with the key agents to ensure ease of transactions.

Earlier, UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who wrote a statement on the significance of continuous excellent service delivery to customers, appreciated the staff who have worked tirelessly to satisfy customers and urged them not to rest on their oars.

“Let’s strive to put the magical touch in everything we do to create a symbolic service experience for our ‘Employer’ – the Customer!”, Uzoka said.

The theme for this year’s celebrations, “Magic Happens Here”, embodies all that the bank represents as encompassed in its Core Values – the 3EEEs: Excellence, Enterprise and Execution.

The United Bank for Africa, Africa’s global bank, was founded 70 years ago in Nigeria and today, operates in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the USA and with presence in France. UBA serves over 17 million customers across the globe with more than 1000 branches and touchpoints. In 2018, the bank received the award of Africa’s Best Digital Bank by the Banker’s magazine

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Zenith Bank Drives Convenient Banking And Financial Inclusion With Z-Money

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Nigeria’s leading financial institution, Zenith Bank Plc, has introduced Z-Money, which brings banking services closer to its customers and enhance financial inclusion among the under-banked and unbanked populace of the country.

Z-Money is an agency banking product of the bank which entails the onboarding of agents who are expected to render basic financial services on behalf of the bank.

Through the bank’s network of agents spread across the urban and rural communities in the country, customers are able to open accounts, deposit cash into any account, withdraw cash from any bank account, transfer funds, buy airtime, pay bills, and do so much more in a convenient way. In order to engender trust among its customers, the Bank ensures that all transactions done through the agents are PIN protected and safe.

Commenting on the new product, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu said “the bank remains focused on providing premium financial solutions that create value for its customers wherever they are located across the country”. He added that apart from helping to extend the bank’s retail reach across all segments of the market, the adoption of the agency banking platform also demonstrates the bank’s commitment to achieving financial inclusion in the country.

Zenith Bank Plc is recognized as one of the most innovative financial institutions in Nigeria and was voted the most customer-focused bank in Nigeria for the Retail and SME segments in the 2018 KPMG Annual Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS).

The bank’s commitment to world-class service standards has led to several product innovations over the last few weeks including the “Zenith Timeless Account”, which allows Nigerians aged 55 years and above bank for free, the “Zenith Save4me”, a high-interest target savings account and “Dubai Visa Service” on the Zenith Internet Banking Platform, which allows convenient application and payment for visas to Dubai.

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The Next Titan Season-6: Heritage Bank Continues To Boosts Entrepreneurship Among Youths

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider has again thrown its usual support behind the organizer of The Next Titan, so as to have a better and improved season six of the programme.

This year’s edition of the reality TV show is again headlined by Heritage Bank and is targeted at giving young entrepreneurs an opportunity to display their ingenuity and talents.

The programme, which also, focuses on ensuring that the entrepreneurial goals of the Nigerian youths are achieved, had its auditions in four of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

Speaking during the audition at the Sheba Event Centre in Lagos, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that the Heritage Bank has continued to make seamless efforts to demonstrate its commitment towards developing and positioning youths to become world-class citizens equipped and ready to be absorbed into an increasingly competitive workforce.

“One of the reasons why we chose, as an organization, to support the entrepreneurial growth and welfare of the youths is to see young men and women play vital roles in the socio-economic development of the country and help curb the high level of unemployment,” Sekibo said.

The MD, who was represented by the Head, Brand Management & Sustainability, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Ozena Utulu, said Heritage Bank is positioned to lead the recovery of the economy through enhancing youth entrepreneurship development and engendering self-employment via its various initiatives and products.

According to Sekibo, the drive to support youths seeks to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations. He explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank has always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as the agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining, and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and ICT.
Sekibo stated that the bank supported this initiative because of its belief in Nigerian youth, who make up about 80 percent of the country’s population. He further explained that Heritage Bank was impressed with the nature in which talents were sought out, the rigorous selection process and the integrity with which the overall scheme was delivered.

Sekibo expressed satisfaction in the long term sustainability of the initiative, stating, we will not support something that will not stand the test of time.

The Executive Producer, The Next Titan, and Managing Director, Bravopoints International Limited, Mide Kunle-Akinlaja explained, “the idea behind the next titans is to create a Nigeria of our dreams, the roll calls of entrepreneurs with businessmen and women who will boost the nation’s economy and become employers of labour. It is not just an ordinary show but a show that transforms lives.”

According to him, The Next Titan over the past five years has been the only major entrepreneurial reality show in Nigeria, which provides an opportunity for young aspiring entrepreneurs with good business ideas that can transform the economy to compete among themselves on television in order to win a grand cash prize and a brand new car to start their dreams.

He noted that it was a platform designed to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of the generality of young Nigerians who may not have the opportunity to participate directly through its regional auditions, but who can watch the TV show, and who can, as a result, take a decision to ply the route of entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

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