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In its continuous drive to remain at the forefront of engendering educational learning amongst young Nigerians, Heritage Bank Plc joined in celebrating the “World Book Day” by means of implementing one of its literacy initiatives and donation of books to schools.

The bank has decided to lend its support to the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading in its 20th year, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world for children of all ages to come together to appreciate reading.

However, as part of effort to inculcate the culture of reading books amongst children, Heritage Bank donated a total of 16,340 comic books, dispatched to 84 schools via Experience Centers, while investing in exciting edutainment activities for school communities.

The bank recently launched, “The protector’s” a comic series book to commemorate Children’s day. The super-heroes of the series, HK-1 and HK-2 will be touring schools this year to win allies to fight against the evil Gus D Ville.

Also, other activities involve the first inter school quiz commenced in last year December, with 20 winners emerging from various schools.

The Financial Literacy Holiday Workshop, as the highlights of the workshop to mark the maiden edition, which include financial literacy coaching presentation skills, creative writing, practical sessions, movie outing and other exciting treats.

According to the bank, in a statement made available by the Group Head, Corporate Communications, Fela Ibidapo, Heritage Bank has continued to support education and as well encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have books of their own.

Meanwhile, he stressed that it was important schools inculcate reading culture in order to drive financial literacy into the mainstream curriculum or as an extra-curricular club to ensure that we raise a generation of financially well informed citizens for a dynamic economy.

He explained that the goal of the Financial Literacy program is to secure the future and empower the Nigerian child and youth to make informed decisions about finances and wealth creation so they can take action to improve their present and long-term financial well-being.

He listed some of the mitigating reading culture and the current Nigeria’s educational sector as limited use of technology and visual aids in the teaching process and negligence to develop critical parent-teacher synergy that would be well aligned with today’s(and tomorrow’s) goals and offers an extended range of services for both  its students and its community.

Fela, however, stressed that financial education is a key success indicator for socio-economic development, adding that the bank believes in empowering the youth with requisite skills to make solid financial decisions in adult years.

BUSINESS

FBN Holdings Grows Profit By 32% To N68bn In Nine Months

Gbemileke Ajayi

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FBN Holdings Plc has reported a growth of 31.7 percent in its profit after tax (PAT) for the nine months ended September 30, 2020, raising the hope of investors for a robust dividend at the end of the financial year.

The financial group posted a PAT of N68.256 billion, up from N51.747 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.

Details of the results showed that FBN Holdings recorded gross earnings of 325.279 billion, up from N324.152 billion, while net interest income stood at N192.737 billion compared with N203.53billion in 2019. Fee and commission income rose from N62.434 billion to N72.988 billion. Impairment charges rose from N28.46 billion to N46.675 billion.

Profit before tax improved from N54.469 billion to N63.280 billion, while PAT grew faster from N51.747 billion to N68.156 billion. Loans and advances expanded by 10.3 percent from N2.607 trillion to N2.869 trillion, while customers’ deposits rose from N4.019 trillion to N4.630 trillion. FBN Holdings ended the period with total assets of N7.243 trillion, up from N6.204 trillion.

The impressive results recorded despite the COVID-19 pandemic did not come as surprise to some stakeholders as the Group Managing Director of FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. UK Eke, had said necessary steps had been put in place to ensure the bank mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

According to him, FBN Holdings continued to assess the impact not only on its income in the immediate but also medium-to-long-term impact on its customers and their ability to meet obligations.

“And in line with the commitment to supporting our customers and providing leadership in the financial services industry, we will continue to provide unfettered access to financial services to our customers and address their needs. We are working in line with the guidance of the regulators including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in providing access to funding as we seek to kick-start the economy and drive growth,” he said.

He assured stakeholders that overall, “the impact on our business has been broadly in line with our expectations, and our resilience, breadth of offerings, and investment in alternative channels have ensured that the Group is able to cushion the effect and thrive.”

Eke had also said the shares of FBN Holdings had been undervalued because the valuation does not reflect the growing fundamentals as evidenced by the return on equity which has continued to improve quarter-on-quarter.

“More fundamentally, the Group has begun to reap the dividend of its investment in technology that has enhanced the earning capacity of the business and expanded our market reach,” Eke said.

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BUSINESS

Naira Sinks To N620 Against Pound, As Euro Rises To N565

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The naira tumbled to 620 against the British pound sterling at the parallel market on Thursday, even as the euro rose to N565.

The naira fell by 2.1 percent against the pound from 607 on Wednesday, and by 1.4 percent against the euro from 560.

The local currency was, however, stable against the dollar at the parallel market as it traded at 478/$1. It dropped from 475/$1 on Tuesday to 478/$1 on Wednesday.

In the Investors’ and Exporters’ forex window, the naira firmed to 385.50 against the greenback on Thursday from 386 on Wednesday as daily turnover rose to $205.84m from $32.88m on Wednesday, according to data obtained from FMDQ Group.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept the official exchange rate at N379/$1 since August when the naira was devalued for the second time this year from 360 per dollar. It was first devalued to 360 in March from 306.

The nation’s forex reserves stood at $35.54bn as of November 17, down from $35.69bn on October 28, according to the CBN.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, had told our correspondent on Monday that forex demand pressures were coming from end-users and those whose obligations had matured and in need of forex to meet the obligations.

“There is a lot of unmet demand,” Chukwu had said, adding that pressure was mounting even as the CBN continued to intervene in the market.

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BIG STORY

GTBank Releases Q3 2020 Unaudited Results, Reports Profit Before Tax Of ₦167.4 Billion

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has released its unaudited financial results for the period ended September 30, 2020, to the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.

The 3rd Quarter result shows improved performance across key financial metrics, reaffirming the Bank’s capability to navigate the current economic challenges occasioned by the impact of COVID 19 on World economies.

The performance reflects its position as one of the leading and best managed financial institutions in Africa.

The Group reported Profit before tax of ₦167.4billion, representing a decrease of 1.9% over ₦170.7billion recorded in the corresponding period of September 2019 and an improvement on the 5.2% dip posted in H1-2020 relative to H1-2019.

Loan and Deposit book however grew by 4.5% and 25.1% from ₦1.502trillion and ₦2.640trillion recorded as of December 2019 to ₦1.569trillion and ₦3.303trillion in September 2020 respectively.

Guaranty Trust Bank’s Balance sheet remained well structured, diversified, and resilient with Total assets and Shareholders’ Funds closing at ₦4.574trillion and ₦755.5billion respectively. Full Impact Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) remained very strong, closing at 23.9%, while Asset quality was sustained as NPL ratio and Cost of Risk (COR) closed at 6.5% and 0.6% in September 2020 from 6.5% and 0.3% in December 2019 respectively.

Commenting on the financial results, the Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said; “Our 3rd Quarter result is a reflection of how we have appropriately positioned our balance sheet to cope with current economic realities and the challenging business environment. It is also a testament to the enduring loyalty of our customers, the hard work and dedication of our staff, and the unwavering support we continue to enjoy from all our stakeholders in our drive to deliver best-in-class financial services and superior and sustainable returns.”

He further stated that; “As an organization, we will continue to build on our commitment to enriching lives by leveraging our digital-first customer-centric strategy to improve customer experience and maintain a high standard in service delivery, and going beyond banking to create and drive innovative financial solutions that add value to our customers in all aspects of their lives.”

Over all, Guaranty Trust Bank plc continues to be the best in the Nigerian banking industry in terms of all financial ratios i.e. Post-Tax Return on Equity (ROAE) of 26.3%, Post-Tax Return on Assets (ROAA) of 4.6%, and Cost to Income ratio of 40.2%.

Renowned for its forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement, GTBank was recently ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa.

The Bank was also awarded the Best Bank in Nigeria by Euromoney Magazine for a record-extending tenth time and the Euromoney Excellence in Leadership Africa Award for its swift reaction in responding to the Covid-19 crisis and for addressing the impact of the pandemic on its customers and communities.

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