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Diamond Bank Records Stable Growth in H1

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Diamond Bank Plc on Thursday released its H1 2016 performance scorecard on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), showcasing considerable growth in key financial parameters.

Analysts and industry watchers had, because of the harsh macroeconomic outlook, forecasted sluggish growth and greyed result for the period, but the interim report and accounts of the bank for the first six months of the year surpassed industry expectations as total comprehensive income rose by 13.3 per cent year on year to N16.3 billion as against N14.4 billion recorded in comparable period of 2015. Non-interest income surged by 33.4% to N26.5 billion, reflecting the successful efforts targeted at improving this income line and also the focused strategy of management, which were sharpened at improving digital functionality and widening financial inclusion.

Profit Before Tax (PBT) remained modest and stable at N10.5 billion while Profit After Tax (PAT) stood at N9.1 billion, thus meeting shareholders’ expectation for the period under review and showcasing the strategic strength of the management creatively configured to surmount the turbulent macroeconomic environment and the tough regulatory framework facing the financial services sub-sector.

The Bank improved on its credit creation by 28.6 per cent as loans and advances to customers grew from N763.6 billion in the same period last business year to N982.3 billion. Also, loans to other banks jumped by 30.7 per cent to N78.5 billion in H1 2016 from N60.1 billion in the corresponding period last year, while its retail customers grew to over 13 million with 7 million of these opening accounts in the last 2 years. Also, the Banks digital leadership in the financial services sub-sector gained ascendency as its Diamond Mobile Apps usage increased from 1.6 million to 5.1 million while volume increased from 1.3 billion to 5.5 billion year on year.

The Bank sustained a strong top line growth with the asset base surging to N1.970 trillion from N1.753 trillion in the same period last year, representing 12.4 per cent increase.

Commenting on the Bank’s H1 performance, Uzoma Dozie, Chief Executive Officer stated that despite the economic headwind, the Bank would remain resilient and sustain the positive growth throughout H2.

According to him, the Bank’s strong liquidity and capital adequacy ratios plus its digital transformation have rightly positioned it to meet customer obligations and offer service deliveries that are beyond banking.

He said: “With the domestic economy contracting, the Nigerian banking industry has faced a number of challenges over the last six months. Nevertheless, in the first half of 2016, we have remained resilient in weathering these headwinds and there are real bright spots in our income streams, as well as noteworthy cost reduction, which gives us confidence going into the second half of the year. Due to actions taken and an ongoing prudent approach, our regulatory capital remains strong. This position of strength helped offset the one-off impact of the recent devaluation of the naira, as acknowledged by Fitch Ratings when they affirmed our B rating with a stable outlook. Liquidity of the bank also remains high and is well above the guidance ratio stipulated by CBN.

Although year on year impairment charge grew by 45.6 per cent to N19.0 billion, reflecting the Bank’s continuation of prudent provisioning, which is aimed at strengthening performance in the years ahead; its operating costs and interest expense are shrunk by 10.7% and 27.5% respectively compared to H1 2015, reflecting success of the cost control initiative and low cost deposit strategy.

Speaking further, Dozie stated that despite the catalogue of challenges facing the sub-sector, which were exacerbated by the recent devaluation of the naira and foreign exchange scarcity, culminating in backlog of unpaid salaries and wages for individuals, Diamond Bank has continued a diligent implementation of its focus on curtailing cost. According to him, this has resulted in 10.7% reduction in operating expenses and 3.8% drop in employee benefit expenses for the period under review. The Bank also integrated further its retail offering and the supporting infrastructure with the opportunities created by its value chain marketing approach in the corporate and business banking segments.

“In the last few months, evidence has shown that the new strategy and initiatives to curtail costs are proving successful and are reflected in the bank’s financial indicators. This is reassuring. Year on year, costs came in lower and as we conclude the organizational restructure, we expect to harvest more savings from operational and employee expenses. The primary benefits of this however are the resources that we have freed up to provide improved services to customers. Having done this, we are optimistic that the Bank is in the right markets and has the wherewithal to excel and create value for shareholders in the long run,” stated Dozie.

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Heritage Bank Identifies High Prospects In Nigeria’s £4bn Gold Market

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider, disclosed that Nigeria’s Gold market is worth £4 billion Pounds with high prospects of profitability for all players in the subsector.

The MD/CEO, Ifie Sekibo, who stated this at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit, held in Abuja, yesterday also disclosed that the enormous potential of the industry was one of the reasons why Heritage Bank delved into the mining sector despite enormous risks.

According to him, the bank has Dukia Gold as its partner that would facilitate access to local miners and artisans to get value for their commodity at international market price after being registered with Dukia Gold.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that prior to now, local miners of Gold found it difficult to trade their commodities favorably but with the involvement of Dukia and its partner, Heritage Bank, a Quality-and-Quantity test will be conducted based on the arrangement they made with Dukia Gold and that will lead to added value to the smallholder miners. He explained that this will leverage the small miners the opportunity to also trade their commodities at the international market price.

He further stated that a metric tonne of gold is currently valued at $30million adding that it is worth investing in the industry, especially as gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.

He said: “Mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured a $1 billion funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.

“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market.

“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.

“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, the crunch, the numbers we see that is a space that the Bank will definitely earn a lot of income.”

He also expressed optimism that other banks would like to come into the Nigerian mining sector but maybe studying to understand the sector properly.

“Definitely other banks will come into the sector. For us, we are leading, but the truth is they need to play in an area and space that they understand, as not everybody would be able to play in that space.

“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like the Gold commodity, this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, in the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” the MD noted.

Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high-level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing, adding that this was expected to make the equipment accessible and affordable.

Bello said, “For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.

“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happens in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.

“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme.”

Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, raised concerns on human resources development that would sustain the sector.

Waziri also said there is a need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.

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UBA Partners With British Airways To Reward Loyal Customers

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and the global airline, British Airways have announced a collaboration to reward loyal customers who are cardholders of the Bank.

The promo which will last for six months from November 2019, will witness UBA customers getting significant discounts when they purchase their British Airways tickets using their UBA cards. The promo will allow customers to enjoy up between 10% to 15% discount on any ticket purchased during the campaign. The ticket fares is exclusive of taxes as is applicable to purchases of all goods and services.

The collaboration is aimed at increasing customer experience and satisfaction for both UBA Cardholders and customers of British Airways.

The General Manager, Corporate Bank, UBA Directorate, Mr Muyiwa Akinyemi, who expressed delight at the collaboration, noted that the promo between the two organizations was carefully thought out to ensure that loyal customers of the two institutions are duly rewarded while ensuring that they also receive more value for their money. He added that for persons without a UBA account, all they require to benefit from this promo is to procure a card instantly from any UBA branch nationwide.

“UBA is excited to collaborate with one of the foremost Airlines in the world to run a promotion aimed at rewarding our cardholders and premium customers who will enjoy discounted tickets and other ancillary benefits such as loyalty points on the British Airways Executive Club.”

He explained that as a customer-centric institution, UBA is always on the look-out for services and reward schemes that will ultimately benefit the customers, in line with its Customer 1st policy.

Akinyemi noted that the bank has plans to partner with other airlines in the future to provide further opportunities for reducing the cost of travel for its customers. “For now, we are partnering with a pre-eminent airline that offers class and distinction,” he said.

The Commercial Manager for British Airways in West Africa, Mr. Kola Olayinka, noted that the airline is pleased to partner with the bank due to its huge customer base and wide reach, adding that with the partnership, more customers will be able to enjoy the promo.

He said, “British Airways is excited to partner with UBA, Africa’s Global Bank, to create a mind-blowing promotion aimed at raising awareness about this service to be rendered by both institutions.”

Continuing, Kola said, “In addition, the discounts provided by British Airways will reduce the cost of travel and encourage the Bank’s customers to make more foreign trips during the period and also reward their customers and staff as a way of giving them something very tangible.”

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Heritage Bank Convenes Strategic Agribusiness Meeting With Sumitomo Corporation

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L-R: John Gbassa, CEO/MD of WAO Global Trading Ltd; Koji Shirotani, Divisional Manager, Sub-Sahara Africa Business Development Division; Afolasade Alonge, Divisional Head, Corporate and Specialized Banking, Heritage Bank Plc; Masafumi Tanimoto, General Manager, Accra Liason Office; Tsuyoshi Ueda, Assistant Managing Director; Jude Monye, Executive Director of Heritage Bank; Olugbenga Awe, Divisional Head, Agric Finance & Export and Takuya Yamamoto, General Manager, Middle East & Africa, Sumitomo Corporation, during discussion between the Heritage Bank and Sumitomo Corporation on mechanisation & Agric Business, held at bank’s head office, weekend.

Nigeria is at the threshold of the much-needed agricultural revolution, as food production remains a significant challenge all over the world, hence whilst, Heritage Bank Plc is forming an alliance to further create formidable partnership arrangements with Sumitomo Corporation that will lead to impactful agribusiness within the segments of the agricultural value chain.

This relationship that is focused on mechanization and agribusiness will complement the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) to fast track development of the agricultural sector and enhance national food security.

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