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Poised by a desire to partner and create wealth for their individual customers, the Heritage Bank took advantage of the occasion of the customers’ service/appreciation week to organise a business fair that showcases and celebrates the business activities of their various customers.

The fair which took place at 12 Ligali Ayorinde Street, Victoria Island, last Sunday and Monday, saw various entrepreneurial clientele of the bank displaying their products and services to potential customers.

Just as was obtainable in trade fairs, products were reasonably cheap as they were sold at much discounted prices and prospective shoppers also used the occasion to obtain the contact addresses of sellers.

The event was strategically kick started on Sunday, a work free day, to enable customers alongside their family and friends hang out at the fair.

In her welcome address, the Executive Director, South Bank, AdaezeUdensi disclosed that at Heritage Bank, they are poised to collaborate with their customers to grow their businesses into generational conglomerate.

“Our desire is for Nigerian businesses to be listed on the stock exchange and eventually become global brands and household names. We believe that businesses like yours are the backbone of the economy because you create jobs and play a huge role in moving our country out of this present recession. I encourage you to rise up to this challenge facing every Nigerian entrepreneur and make our economy vibrant again.”

She stated that the Heritage Bank business fair is where new deals are brokered and partnerships initiated. ‘It is the place to connect’ she said.

According to her, a contact at the fair could lead to a business opportunity tomorrow and shoppers in turn will appreciate the vendors home grown businesses and in turn, the vendors would learn more innovative ways to meet their needs. ‘That is why we have created a platform like this, to propel a network of fast growing businesses’.

“Seize this opportunity, network with other vendors that are present, engage our SME consultants at the mini-bank and let us be your guide on the path to global recognition.”

Collaborating the Udensi’s speech was the Executive Director, Abuja & North Bank, Ola Olabinjo who hinted that the business fair being organised by the bank is a sure foundation of taking Nigeria’s economy out of recession.

The Abuja North Bank ED remarked that because small businesses are the foundation of every economy, at Heritage Bank, they are more than every ready to ensure that they support them.

“It is not the size of the balance sheet of the bank that grows an economy, but the patriotism of the bank and the small businesses and we are determined to go the long walk with you.”

Full of life and ensuring orderliness at the fair was the Group Head, Customer Experience and Analytics, KikanyaAkpenyi who declared to Independent that she is happy and could only thank God that the D-day has finally come and that the vendors responses to the invitation was fantastic.

“This is the second edition, during the first one, of course, we were still testing the water so, a lot of the planning was a bit rushed. However, this time around, we had much time to plan and that is why we were able to get a bigger space in terms of a more vantage location that would be accessible to a lot of people.”

Akpenyi indicated that the success of the event was hinged on the feedback gotten from the previous edition, leading to more people wanting to be a part of it.

“So, it took a lot of works, getting the vendors, collecting their logos and promotional materials for them. And of course, on our part, trying to put the word out there and then getting all these to happen. About two months of preparation, checking prices, comparing locations and then, we are here today.

“I am excited and happy, I am thankful for the team I have, it couldn’t have happened with just me. Team work is actually the success factor here. So, everyone has put in his and her best. We also got very good support from our management.”

Despite being organized just for the Lagos entrepreneurs, there were also vendors from outside Lagos that graced the occasion and the bank welcomed them with open arm.

The event which was open to all retail segments of Heritage Bank’s clients, according to the organizers, is hoped to be taken beyond the Island, to other metropolitan cities across the country.

“It is all about giving back to our customers, finding ways to support them, as well as appreciating them for their patronage. We are open to feedback as we get the feedback and clamour to do more, we can always adjust.”

Even though plans were made for 50 booths and five extra, the entire 55 booths were booked and occupied by vendors of various products and services who had their sales reps distributing fliers to customers.

BUSINESS

COVID-19: Heritage Bank Offers Seamless Service To Stakeholders, Curbs Impact Of Virus

Peter Okunoren

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As the world grapples with the impact of the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, which has continued to cause worldwide challenges for healthcare systems, economies and corporate organizations, Heritage Bank Plc has taken practicable steps to offer seamless services to customers, whilst ensuring the health and safety of their workers and others at the workplace.

The bank, however, adopted a crisis response measure in place to minimize and manage the risk arising from the disease known as COVID-19 and ensure that the payment infrastructure and logistics to maintain operations going as various State governments brace up for lockdown to contain the pandemic.

The bank’s Management in a statement explained that part of its business continuity management emanating from Heritage Bank’s corporate strategy was to guarantee seamless service delivery to the various stakeholders, adopt measures to tackle significant business risk that might have growth impact on the economy, whilst taken reasonably practicable steps to minimize the risk.

According to Heritage Bank, incognizant with the protocols proffered by the World Health Organisation, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and other health agencies, Heritage Bank provided a work environment that is without risk to health and safety and adequate facilities for workers in carrying out their work, so far as is reasonably practicable.

The statement noted that the Bank has maintained a maximum of 10% of staff who constitute mainly Units heads and “must-have” working from its premises during these times of uncertainties, whilst others work remotely from home to adhere to the social distancing directive.

The bank further noted that efforts have been ongoing via its intranet and other channels to keep staff and customers up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information and provide clear direction and guidance expected of workers and customers.

“We have enforced and continued to monitor the need for workers to practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing, use of sanitizer, limiting contact with others, including through shaking hands covering their mouths while coughing or sneezing require workers to stay away from the workplace if they are unwell and not fit for work and encourage them to seek medical advice as appropriate seek advice from health authorities immediately if there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 and for staff who are arriving from affected countries to self-quarantine for 14days,” the financial institution stated.

To ensure seamless banking transactions, the bank explained that customers are constantly communicated to, to adopt its available 24/7 alternate electronic channels.

“We have encouraged our customers to adopt the self-service platforms like *745*0# for balance inquiry, Funds Transfer (Within Heritage Bank): *745*1*Amount*Account Number#, self-airtime recharge: *745*Amount#, third party airtime recharge: *745*Amount*Mobile Number# and change pin: *745*00#.

“We are available via email [email protected] and social media (insert social media icons) to render the following services: Debit Card Hotlist, Post No Debit Request (PND Placement), HB Paddie unlock/ username request/ Password reset, Statement of Account (individual accounts) and general inquiries on products and services

“We have set up a COVID-19 Support Centre to offer COVID-19 safety tips to all our customers during this period, in support of the efforts of the Government and relevant bodies. Please send any information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic via these channels: E-mail: [email protected] and contact number: 01-2369099,” the bank explained.

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BUSINESS

Sterling Bank Contributes N250m To Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Sterling Bank Plc, has contributed N250 million as part of its commitment to the newly formed Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 created to help channel resources to combat the coronavirus disease under the theme: “We need you.”

The bank, in an email to its customers, disclosed that it is working with the Bankers’ Committee to lead the effort to raise N120 billion required by the Federal Government to fight the coronavirus pandemic and help achieve the shared goal of eradicating the virus.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman said, “While this will go a long way, more still needs to be done. We have come to acknowledge that this battle will require every one of us to play our part as corporate citizens and individuals.”

He enjoined other public-spirited corporate organizations and individuals to join in the fight against COVID-19 by making a contribution to the Fight COVID-19 Fund (FCF) and help the coalition to defeat the pandemic for good. He said every Naira donated will go a long way in saving the country from the pandemic.

Suleiman said donations should be sent to:

Bank Name: Sterling Bank
Account Name: COVID Donations
Account Number: 0076813615

He urged Nigerians to show their strength by uniting against the virus, saying a Swahili proverb which translated into English means “Unity is strength; division is weakness,” is needed now more than ever.

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BUSINESS

Heritage Bank, GEZAWA Set To Transform Nigeria’s Agric Sector To Huge Commercial Hub

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Nigerian agricultural sector is set to witness huge growth, as Heritage Bank Plc the lead settlement bank for Gezawa Commodity Market (GCMX) has collaborated with key stakeholders to revolutionize agricultural value-chain, aimed at providing a fully integrated ecosystem for commodity Exchange.

Heritage Bank was appointed as the Lead Settlement Bank and Transaction Adviser to the Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Ltd and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two firms, whilst over 10, 000 farmers in 3000 cooperatives in the 44 local governments of Kano States were hosted.

The partnership between Heritage Bank and the Exchange would facilitate the ease of agro commodity trading in a more structured way, especially with the closeness to the Dawanu, the largest grain market in Africa.

The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, who was a panelist at the 2nd GCMX Farmers’ Cooperative Forum in Kano at the weekend, stated that the partnership is targeted to de-risk the sector that would bring about structured and enhanced agro-business and attain food security that leads to economic development.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Executive Director, Jude Monye explained that the partnership which would help bridge the huge gap associated to risk, will fast track effective price discovery mechanism and traceability and enhanced trade settlement services.

Specifically, the bank’s helmsman stated that under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Heritage Bank would provide on-lending funding to aggregated farmers in the 2020 farming season to grow various products that will serve as raw materials to the processors, thereby ensuring market linkages and access to the market as well as reduce importation and conserve Nigeria’s external reserves.

According to him, with its assigned position Heritage Bank would play a pivotal role in ensuring that there would be an effective and readily available platform for market linkages among players in the agribusiness value chain, involving FMCGs, warehouse operators, collateral managers, processors, farmers’ cooperatives to transact in a seamless way that guarantees quality, quantity, payment, and delivery.

Speaking the event, the ED/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo affirmed that the initiative would help foster diversification of non-oil export trade.

He, however, stated that NEPC would ensure that the primary for the signing of the MoU would be achieved, whilst calling for the need to ensure adequate and seamless supply of agricultural commodities for the business to be sustainable.

The Gezawa Project Consultant, Binchang Binfa, Managing Director of Makarios Global Resource, disclosed, “the ultimate goal was to unlock the vast potential of agricultural value chain via partnerships and synergy with like-minded enterprises, organizations and institutions that will mutually create wealth, generate local employment and contribute significantly to the economic growth and GDP the nation.”

He stated that the Exchange would provide services on price discovery and transparency, increase foreign exchange earning capacity, commodity storage and warehouse receipt system, employment generation of 15, 000 direct and indirect jobs, investment opportunities, increase in non-oil export, ease of doing business, weather report, soil test report, as well as 24/7 online trading of commodities on an alive trading platform.

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