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Heritage Bank, FAMO Provide Succor For 300 Private School Teachers, SMEs

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As part of efforts to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 on the education sector, Heritage Bank Plc in partnership with Honourable Fatima Mohammed (FAMO) foundation has provided succor to over 300 affected private school teachers and small-medium enterprises (SMEs).

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, have continued in the shutdown of schools for months leaving the private school teachers without any means of livelihood and no source of income.

To this effect, in alleviating the challenges, Heritage Bank and its partner supported over 300 Private School Teachers and small businesses as palliatives in 15 local governments; including five major markets in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area of Ifako Ijaiye, in Lagos State, weekend.

Speaking at the event, Mother Dan-Egwu, Group Head, Education, NGO & Faith Groups, Lagos Mainland Zone of the bank, stated that as an educational-friendly financial institution, Heritage Bank appreciates the socio-economic role the sector plays in the country.

According to her, Heritage Bank deemed it necessary to partner FAMO to champion the corporate social responsibility of the bank in supporting private school teachers and small businesses out of hardship and the quagmire plunged into nationwide by the pandemic.

She further explained to journalists that Heritage Bank and the Foundation seek to help teachers in phases.

Dan-Egwu said that this phase will comprise of 300 teachers who will get food items and cash worth Ten Thousand Naira (N10, 000) each.

On the mood of selection adopted, she stated that FAMO selected the teachers based on the regions, as the first phase comprised of 300 teachers and SMEs in the South West (Lagos) would be assisted and the poorest of the poor were the main target through the help of National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST) to identify those teachers in direst need of the assistance.

She, however, disclosed Heritage Bank’s strategy to provide basic palliative care to the educational system at the resumption of academic activities in schools.

According to her, the bank has three areas of basic supports in providing mentorship program for schools, school portal, and school health plans in partnership with Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs).

She further explained that support programs churned out by the bank are designed to instill value and keep students focused on making the best of their lives through corporate models, help school authorities to manage operations, and steer them into moving the educational system to the new digital era; where teachers can use technology in classroom management, administration, engagement with parents.

For the school health plan, Dan-Egwu hinted Heritage Bank would help to provide a very affordable health plan to ensure that every member of the school community is covered medically, as this will reduce the anxiety amongst teachers, parents, and school authorities.

In her address, the Convener of FAMO, Honourable Mohammed, commended Heritage Bank for its bold steps in joining hand-in-hand to support the challenged private school teachers, SMEs sectors, and the roles the bank plays in championing CSR in the country.

Mohammed stated that the primary aim was basically to cushion the effect of poverty especially as it concerns the private school teachers.

“The private school teachers because of the pandemic haven’t been paid for 6months and there are a lot of such cases around here. Ifako-Ijaye is the second-largest LGA in Lagos State; therefore, it is time to reach out to the people. During the pandemic, we have reached out to them about 2 to 3 times. I reached out to Heritage Bank and they heard my voice just to partner with us with my palliative team just to cushion the effect,” she said.
Meanwhile, for the SME owners, she further stated that additional plans have been agreed upon with the Agency Banking Unit of Heritage Bank to empower them to function as agents in this space.

She also commended Heritage Bank as a youth-friendly bank for their numerous supports to young Nigerians in helping to promote their businesses and dreams.

BUSINESS

Another Shot In The Arm For Adeduntan As FirstBank Wins Global Banking And Finance’s Retail Banking CEO Award

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While the age-old saying and philosophy of virtue being its own reward (or seeing doing good as its own reward) remain a strong motivating factor in doing good persistently, it helps when virtue gets recognition from time to time. Even though anyone or organization committed to doing good will keep doing so with or without recognition, recognitions for virtue tend to act like a shot in the arm for such people or organizations, spurring them to commit even more to do good.

That is what the recent award of “Retail Banking CEO of the Year Nigeria” to Dr Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, is to both him and the bank he leads. It is a shot in the arm of this foremost CEO of Nigeria’s most enduring financial institution that is also the pioneer in retail banking development in Nigeria, the premier bank in West Africa, and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years, to keep steering the bank in the right direction, energizing and expanding retail opportunities for all Nigerians in the process. It is a well-deserved recognition for a man and the institution he leads that would rather keep off the spotlight and focus exclusively on attending to Nigerians’ banking needs as best as they can – which is what has kept them going for 127 years and counting.

This critical role is one FirstBank is better suited to lead than any other lender given the robust retail banking framework that the bank has in place, that is riding on its innovative technology-driven operations, over 750 branches across the continents, and 100,000 Firstmonie Agent banking network spread across 772 local government areas in Nigeria. It is little wonder that FirstBank, which is intricately woven into the fabric of Nigerian society, has been an essential player in the retail space, empowering Nigerians of all walks of life by providing them bespoke and innovative financial products and services that address their multidimensional needs. The bank has been at the forefront of bridging the financial exclusion gap and enabling customers and the general public to carry out both individual and corporate financial activities which contribute to the growth and development of the national economy.

The award by Global Banking and Finance Magazine, according to Dr Adeduntan, “speak[s] to the investments we [as FirstBank] have made over the past years in…enhancing financial inclusion….” It is a loud testament to the incredible strides FirstBank has made and continues to make in the retail space under the able and dynamic leadership of the management team led by Dr Adeduntan.

The strides are in turn underpinned by the bank’s resolute commitment to putting the customer and other stakeholders at the heart of its business. Dr Adeduntan reiterates this view when he wasted no time in dedicating the award to all the bank’s “customers, as the trust they reposed in us being their bank of the first choice in meeting their business and financial needs has been instrumental to the success we have achieved in our existence of over 127 years.” “We remain committed,” he continued, “to putting you, our customers, first as we contribute to the growth and development of our host communities.”

Organized to identify the banks across the world that have excelled across a number of areas, including corporate governance, sustainability, and innovation, and have played a key role in the industry’s growth, the Global Banking and Finance Awards reflect the innovation, achievement, strategy, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the global financial community. The awards were created to accord recognition to companies of all sizes which are prominent in their areas of expertise and excellence within the financial world. For Dr Adeduntan and FirstBank, the award is further proof of FirstBank’s enduring commitment to providing excellent retail banking services to all its customers as reflected in the bank’s strategic vision, diverse and inclusive workforce, and performance-oriented organizational structure.

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UBA, DEG Sign $50m Term Loan To Support Small Businesses In Nigeria

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, the German Development Finance Institution, have entered into a partnership aimed at supporting small and medium scale businesses (SMEs) in Nigeria.

To this end, both institutions have signed a USD 50m Term Facility Agreement. The facility with a tenor of six years is targeted at supporting SMEs and family-owned businesses in Nigeria.

UBA America’s Chief Executive Officer, Sola Yomi-Ajayi, who spoke about the partnership, said as a financial institution, UBA remains passionate about the growth of the private sector and small businesses which according to her, remains critical for any developing country. She noted that the passion to see this sector succeed is what led both organizations to collaborate on this laudable feat.

Yomi-Ajayi, who is also the Global Head for Financial Institutions, Multilateral and Development Organizations, said, “At UBA Group, we are proud of this collaboration with DEG, particularly as it supports our financial intervention in the SME space, enabling financial inclusion, as well as facilitating economic empowerment.

Continuing, she said, “These objectives remain core aspects of our strategy, particularly as regards to facilitating the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals on the African continent.”

In his comments, DEG’s Regional Director for West Africa, Bernhard Tilemann, said, “DEG is delighted to enter into long-term cooperation with UBA in Nigeria and the region. This cooperation will address the current economic challenges of the country while fostering private sector growth and impact in the largest economy of the continent.”

According to Tilemann, the funding provided by DEG is partly supported by EB-SME Finance Fund Emerging Markets, while the fund’s adviser is a 100% subsidiary of Evangelische Bank (EB).

The Regional Director noted that DEG has offices on the African continent in Lagos, Abidjan, Johannesburg, and Nairobi; and pointed out that the move is a major milestone for DEG’s Regional Representative Office in Lagos which was opened in 2019.

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Ecobank Appoints Babajide Sipe As New Head Of Marketing And Corporate Communications

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Great visions attract the best people, and so is the case at Ecobank Nigeria. The Nigerian franchise of the Pan-African financial institution is making good on its mission to empower Nigerians with all the tools to take control and make the most of their finances.

With the recent revamp of its full-stack mobile banking solutions – *326#, Ecobank Mobile app, OmniLite, Omni Plus, EcobankPay, and NQR, the Bank’s Marketing, and Corporate Communications department is being built up to connect customers to greater value in banking and to ensure that the innovative products are effectively articulated to the public.

Led by the seasoned Pan-African financial services expert Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank Nigeria has been bolstering its digital capabilities and human capital with the goal of delivering optimum value for clients and shareholders across several value chains.

It is in this line that Mr. Babajide Sipe was recently appointed to Head the Marketing and Corporate Communications department for Ecobank Nigeria.

An experienced Marketing & Brand Manager, Mr. Sipe’s multi-faceted career, which cuts across several fields, industries, and regions within the country and abroad will come to play in leading and enriching the Bank’s Marketing and Communications efforts with in-depth expertise, top-notch creativity, and an extensive breadth of value-adding networks.

Under Mr. Akinwuntan, who is both the Managing Director and Regional Executive for Ecobank Nigeria, the Bank has strongly positioned itself as a key stakeholder and supporter in the growth of the real sector of the Nigerian economy.

Recently, Ecobank announced that it would be empowering MSMEs with N100 Billion, a special fund set aside for business growth and to reduce unemployment in Nigeria; and also the Ecobank Female Entrepreneurship Initiative (EFEI) targeted at boosting female entrepreneurship, amongst others.

Ultimately, Ecobank’s goal is to remain the go-to bank for Pan-African trade facilitation and payments. This would mean leveraging the full value of its unrivaled Pan-African footprint covering 33 African countries to create greater market access and financing opportunities. The Marketing and Corporate Communications department, under the leadership of Mr. Sipe thus has a huge task to position the Bank for the future. With the fine blend of experience, expertise, and cutting-edge solutions, growth seems certain, if not near.

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