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Fidelity Bank Announces Board Retirements And New Appointments

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Fidelity Bank Plc wishes to announce new Board appointments in place of some of its outgoing Directors, who recently successfully completed their tenure on the Board in accordance with the Bank’s internal governance policies.

Mrs. Aku Odinkemelu, Executive Director, South Directorate, who was appointed to the Board on August 4, 2014, will be retiring by December 31, 2020. As Executive Director, Aku played a defining role as a member of the transformation team in Fidelity Bank over the last 6 plus years. Her responsibilities covered the Commercial, SME, Consumer, and Public Sector businesses of Fidelity Bank in the South East and South-South Regions of Nigeria and she provided leadership for 90 business offices within the 11 States under her purview, with her Directorate accounting for 31% of deposits, and 21% of Loans. In addition, the South Directorate under her supervision generated the highest PBT in the bank over the last 5 years 2015 – 2019, contributing over 23% of the total bank’s profit over the period.

Chief Charles Umolu, Non-Executive Director, completed his tenure and retired from the Board on December 16, 2020. He served on the Board Risk, Credit, Finance & General Purpose, Audit, and Corporate Governance Committees and chaired the Board Credit Committee until he retired. Mr. Michael Okeke, also a Non-Executive Director, successfully completed his tenure and retired on December 18, 2020. He was a member of various Board Committees including the Board Corporate Governance Committee, which he chaired from October 2018 to December 2019. Another Non- Executive Director, Mr. Alex Ojukwu, will complete his tenure and retire by December 31, 2020. He currently serves on the Board Credit, Risk, Audit and Corporate Governance Committees and chairs the Board Risk Committee.

The Board expresses its profound appreciation to the outgoing Executive and Non-Executive Directors for their impressive contributions to the growth and development of the Bank. “Fidelity Bank is privileged to have benefited from the combined experience and expertise of these very accomplished Lady and Gentlemen. We thank them for their service to the Bank and wish them the very best in their future endeavors” said Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi, Chairman, Fidelity Bank Plc.

In place of the retired and outgoing Non-Executive Directors, the Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Amaka Theodora Onwughalu, Mr. Nelson Chidozie Nweke, and Mr. Chinedu Eric Okeke as Non-Executive Directors. The appointments of Mrs. Onwughalu and Mr. Nweke have been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) whilst that of Mr. Okeke is awaiting CBN approval.

Mrs. Amaka Onwughalu has over 30 years’ banking experience including over 10 years in Executive Management in various financial institutions, with proven expertise across diverse segments including Commercial Banking, Retail Banking, Treasury Management, Banking Operations, and Corporate Banking. She served in executive management positions in different institutions and was the former Group Managing Director of legacy Mainstreet Bank Limited where she led the successful execution of seamless integration of the bank with Skye Bank Plc where she served as Deputy Managing Director until her retirement in July 2016.

She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Blueshield Financial Services Limited and holds a BSc Degree in Economics from the University of Buckingham, an MSc Degree in Corporate Governance from Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom, and an MBA from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She gained further exposure and training at the Executive Business School, INSEAD, France; IMD Business School, Lausanne, Switzerland; Judge Business School, University of Cambridge; and Columbia Business School, USA.

Mrs. Onwughalu is a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Internal Auditors of Nigeria; a Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration (ICA); a Member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM); an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IoD). She is passionate about mentoring the Girl Child and committed to supporting women entrepreneurs/professionals to contribute their quota to stimulating economic development in Nigeria. She is a Paul Harris Fellow and recipient of various prestigious awards including the National Merit Award for Accountability and Transparency (NMAT), the Award of Excellence and Distinction for Financial Management (AEDFM), and the Vocational Service Award (VSA) from the Rotary Club, Enugu.

Mr. Nelson Nweke, currently serves as the Managing Director of Neilville Nigeria Limited and had an extensive career in the financial services sector, rising to the position of Executive Director at legacy Intercontinental Bank Plc. His banking industry experience covers Operations, Public Sector, Corporate Services, and Human Resources Administration. He holds a Bsc. in Political Science and an Msc. in Industrial and Labour Relations, both from the University of Ibadan and has attended various executive development programmes at world-class business schools including INSEAD, France; IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland; and Harvard Business School amongst others.

Mr. Nweke is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Member Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) and Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM). Prior to joining the Board of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nelson Nweke had previously served as a Non-Executive Director of Premium Pension Limited and was a member of the Governing Council of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency between 2014 and 2018. He is presently an Independent Non-Executive Director at Berger Paints PLC.

Mr. Chinedu Eric Okeke is the Managing Director of Azura Power West Africa Limited, infrastructure development and operating company with special focus on emerging markets in Africa, including Nigeria. Prior to joining Azura in 2014, Mr. Okeke had a stellar career spanning over nineteen years in a succession of blue-chip companies including Guinness Nigeria Plc, Lafarge Plc, Schlumberger Oilfield Services, and General Electric (GE). His areas of interest and specialization across geographies (Nigeria, France, South Africa, Vietnam, and Pakistan), covers Technology, Power, Corporate Strategy, Finance, Market Analysis, and International Development.

Mr. Okeke has held executive and senior management positions in various climes, with direct responsibility for teams of diverse and multicultural professionals and demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strategic client relationships and deliver quality results under complex conditions. He holds a B.Eng. Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and an MBA from Imperial College, London. He has attended executive training programmes at various premier institutions including Gordon Institute of Business Science, South Africa; INSEAD, France; Graduate School of Business, Stanford, USA, College of Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA and GE John F. Welch Leadership Development Centre, USA.

The Board is pleased with the appointments and confident that the new Directors will bring their considerable experience to bear in the bank’s growth trajectory. “We are very delighted to welcome the newly appointed Directors to the Fidelity family. These appointments end the on-going board realignment, occasioned by the retirements that had to happen, in line with our governance policies. We look forward to leveraging on the multi-disciplinary experiences of Amaka, Nelson, and Chinedu in executing the next growth phase of Fidelity Bank”, stated Chike-Obi.

BUSINESS

Heritage Bank’s 8 Years Journey Of Entrenching Business of Banking In Nigeria

Peter Okunoren

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Today marks a worthy milestone in the life of one of the fastest-growing financial service providers, Heritage Bank Plc as it celebrates eight (8) years of entrenching seamless service delivery in the business of banking in Nigeria.

This is a journey that began eight (8) years ago, premised on passion, commitment, doggedness, culture, and hard work amongst others stands today as a reputable financial organization in the Nigeria banking space.

The story began in 2012; a story of hard work and determination when Heritage Bank Plc emerged from a business combination of Heritage Banking Company Limited (HBCL) and Enterprise Bank Limited (EBL) after the acquisition of Societe Generale of Nigeria’s (SGBN) license by IEI Investment Ltd from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) having met all requirements by Nigeria’s apex bank.

Heritage Bank returned 100% of existing SGBN account holders’ funds which were frozen at the closure of the SGBN. This move brought a lot of smiles to the faces of former account holders and inspired many of them to open new accounts with Heritage Bank. In October 2014, Heritage Banking Company Ltd successfully met the requirements of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the CBN toward owning 100% shares in Enterprise Bank Ltd., after a highly competitive bid process.

This development firmly anchors the Heritage Bank in a rich legacy of technology and innovation in the banking industry. SGBN, which was incorporated in December 1976 and commenced full banking operations in August 1977, pioneered the introduction of e-banking services including its flagship, the 24/7 Cashpoint through the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in 1990.

With management focused on innovation through technology and a unique philosophy to create, preserve and transfer wealth to its customers, Heritage Bank found itself in a fiercely competitive banking environment but it remained guided by passion, resilience, innovation, and brand architecture that exuded quality service, performance, and sheer excellence.

Still, as big a move as it was, it remained just one of the many strategic moves to change the banking industry and Heritage Bank has made a lot of them and attains giant strides in reshaping the economy since it began operations in 2013 to drive improved investment outcome and job creation.

Success stories of entrenching business of banking in Nigeria:

As a catalytic financial institution, Heritage Bank, through its strategic partnerships with government and private organizations, has continued to make efforts to transform the nation’s economy through championing entrepreneurial schemes for businesses and the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector was not left out, which have always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as education, agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining, and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

In recent times, the bank’s response to dealing with the global economic challenge occasioned by COVID-19, which highly impacted SMEs, Heritage Bank PLC has continued to deepen its support to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria to grow their businesses either as start-ups or prospective business owners.

One of such is the last season of the reality TV show The Next Titan, themed “The Unstoppable” that was designed to search for business ideas that are immune to any pandemic, innovations that break boundaries, and technologies that can survive any lockdown. This programme produced a young vibrant entrepreneur, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology Owerri with a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Science who is the Chief Executive Officer of Josult Oil Processing Company, a palm oil processing company in Akwa Ibom State, Joshua Joseph Idiong, as he finally emerged the winner of the Next Titan Season-7, going home with a whooping sum of N10million.

Furthermore, Heritage Bank PLC in partnership with the Honourable Fatima Mohammed (FAMO) Foundation also provided succor to over 300 affected private school teachers and small-medium enterprises (SMEs).

Heritage Bank has continued to blaze the trail on the SME’s space to empower young entrepreneurs in such schemes as the HB Innovation Lab Accelerator programme (HB-LAB), Ynspyre Account, Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP), Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) on Young Entrepreneurship Business Training Programme (YEBTP), Young Entrepreneurs and Students (YES) Grant and Nigerian Youth Professional Forum (NYPF), Big Brother Nigeria, Lagos Comic-Con, among others.

Last year witnessed the Launch of the Nationwide Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold & Precious Metals which stands to create new opportunities for Nigeria to grow its potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold.

The Nationwide Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold & Precious Metals Buying Centre will fast-track the 10 per cent contribution of the mining sector to GDP by 2026. Referring to these giant strides, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo remarked that the launch of this project between Heritage Bank and ‘Dukia Gold SPV’ would enable Nigeria to mine reserves properly, trade responsibly, refine locally and boost the nation’s foreign reserves.

Heritage Bank has continued to support Nigeria’s aspiration and roadmap to become a leading Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub in Africa, The Bank doled out the sum of $40, 000 grants to winners of the maiden edition of HB Innovative Lab.
The bank’s commitment is to create enabling environment, resources, and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions with the potential to radically improve financial inclusion/intermediation, health, automobile, agriculture, and other related problems affecting critical sectors of the economy.

For the bank’s giant stride of support to tourism, Federal Government commended Heritage Bank for its commitment to the development and growth of the creative industry.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the commendation at a two-day Creative Nigeria Summit.

The bank, aimed at boosting Nigeria’s tourism via the creative arts industry supported the sponsorship of exhibition at the National Museum Benin, at the Exhibition Gallery of National Museum Benin by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), in collaboration with the Edo State Government, and the Smithsonian Institute, United States of America.

Also, efforts are being taken by Heritage Bank Plc and the River State government during the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to make art and culture a unifying factor and major earner to the contribution of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

Heritage Bank Plc partnered with the organizers of the International Festival of Contemporary Dance (IFCOD) to host the second edition of One Language, a musical production of intrigue, dance, and drama.

Most prominent of its partnership and supports is the annual Calabar Carnival and festival, tagged “Africa’s Biggest Street Party,” was created as part of the vision of making Cross River State the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and other tourists across the world.

Heritage Bank is not done yet. The bank went further to prove its trend-setting profile by driving the seat of the agricultural financing revolution.

In a bid to support the real sector and unlock food potentials, Heritage Bank Plc provided over N5billion long-term facility under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) to Triton Aqua Africa Ltd (TAAL).

TAAL known as Triton Farm accessed the CACS through Heritage Bank, which was used to set up aquaculture businesses; nursery/hatchery to produce fingerlings and broodstock in Ikeja and earthen ponds for catfish and Tilapia in Asejire, Iwo, and Gambari towns in Oyo State.

Under the arrangement, TAAL will also help small-scale farms increase their fish production by making fingerlings available to them.

In the short term, the loan is expected to help Triton double its current production capacity of 25,000 metric tonnes with a projection to scale it up to 100,000 metric tonnes in five years.

The bank also has thrown its weight behind Globus Resources Limited, a subsidiary of Triton Group, to flag off the second phase of the afforestation programme in Oyo state.

Nigeria’s demand capacity for fish was estimated at 2.7million metric tons and the country currently produces 800,000 metric tons.

Triton is now producing over 25,000 metric tons and with them on board, over 25,000 metric tons capacity will be added to our current production, the company’s projection is to exceed 100,000 metric tons in 5years.

In the state level, Heritage Bank entered into a partnership with the Oyo State government in a multi-billion-naira project to give agriculture a boost.

Under the initiative, the bank supported the Oyo State Agricultural Initiative, OYSAI, a programme designed to revive agriculture, boost agro-allied businesses, and massive empowerment programme for both youth and women across the state through the creation of thousands of jobs in the sector.

This huge, albeit laudable, project that is spread across 3,000 hectares of land in 28 of the 33 Local Government Areas of Oyo State is in three stages: food crop cultivation, cash crop/horticulture, and food processing.

Heritage Bank is supporting agro investors involved in this initiative with funds and advisory services and indications are that the programme has already led to more than 30 per cent increase in food production in the state.

The Bank also supported thousands of smallholder farms in Kaduna and Zamfara states to benefit from the bank’s financial support for rice and soya beans production under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).

Further, on job creation, Heritage Bank through its establishment of a full-fledged learning and development institute accredited by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), dubbed “The Refinery” successfully trained and employed about 300 new intakes.

In the midst of the bank’s audacity to dare and succeed, industry watchers have continued to ask; how are they doing it? The answers may not be far from the fact that this is one bank whose leadership team continues to exude the charisma of the Midas touch. With Heritage Bank, the MD/CEO, Ifie Sekibo has proven over and over again that whatever he touches, turns into gold.

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BUSINESS

Fidelity Bank Set To Organise Diaspora Webinar Series, Deepens Engagement On New Remittances – Osinbajo, Emefiele, Dabiri-Erewa To Attend

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Fidelity Bank Plc, a top Nigerian bank has concluded plans to host its Diaspora Webinar Series with the inaugural edition slated for Saturday, March 06, 2021, by 2 pm. This virtual session seeks to enlighten Nigerian citizens’ residents abroad on recent policy measures by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its attendant implications for Diaspora investments.

Rightly themed, “The New CBN FX Policy and Positive Impact To Diaspora Investments in Nigeria”, the session will also aim specifically at providing them with valuable insights, intelligence, and expertise on how to stay on top of their investments back home.

 The event will have in attendance special guests and notable personalities including the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo who is the Special Guest of Honour and the Chief Host, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele who will deliver a keynote address at the event.

Other speakers and panelists at the session include Professor, Benedict Okey Oramah, Chairman/President of African Export-Import Bank, Honorable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM),  Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Lead Faculty, Tekedia Institute, and Professor Olawale Sulaiman, renowned Neurosurgeon and Chairman of RNZ Global among others.

Streamed live on YouTube and ZOOM, the Series was borne out of the need to deepen engagement with Nigerian Diaspora Community particularly as developmental partners considering the critical role remittances play in driving sustainable economic growth.

Speaking on the webinar, Fidelity CEO, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe stated that the session was most appropriate and timely, adding that “the session will offer the Nigerian Diaspora greater clarity on all of the recent policies enacted by the government with a view to enabling them to make sound investment decisions”.

According to Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe, the bank, in the last twelve (12) years, has become a dependable partner for diaspora remittances and investment. Armed with a deep understanding of these customer’s needs, she went on to explain that the bank has continued to offer bespoke products and services that are unrivaled in the financial services industry.

Worthy of mention is the Diaspora Mortgage and Dollar Denominated Fixed Deposit Investment Account that attracts up to 5 percent annual interest depending on the amount and tenure.

The CBN, as part of efforts to liberalize, simplify and improve the receipt and administration of Diaspora remittances into the country had issued guidelines to ensure that beneficiaries of Diaspora remittances through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) receive such inflows in foreign currency (US dollars) through the designated bank of their choice.

The policy became necessary in view of the urgent need to deepen the Foreign Exchange (FX) market, provide more liquidity and create transparency in the administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria.

To register for the webinar, click on the link – https://www.fidelitybank.ng/diaspora-webinar/

The programme will be streamed LIVE on YouTube and ZOOM. For more information, send emails to [email protected]

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BUSINESS

Lasaco Shares Not Suspended

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Our attention has been drawn to an online publication on the 22nd of February 2021 that Lasaco Assurance Plc. (“LASACO”/”the Company”) shares had been placed on indefinite suspension. This is not correct as the shares of the Company were never placed on indefinite suspension by The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”/”the Exchange”).

The shareholders of Lasaco Assurance had at the Annual General Meeting of 8th October 2019, approved the reconstruction of 7,334,343,421 Ordinary shares of 50k each in the share capital of the Company in the ratio of ONE (1) new ordinary share for every FOUR (4) Ordinary shares previously held by the shareholders into 1,833,585,855 Ordinary shares of 50k each.

Lasaco Assurance, through its Financial Advisers and Stockbrokers, filed necessary Applications with the Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”/”the Commission”) and The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”/”the Exchange”) for the reconstruction of the said Issued shares as directed by the shareholders.

Following the approval of SEC with the Issuance of Letter of no Objection to the reconstruction by the Commission and submission of the said letter to the Exchange, suspension from trading in the shares of the Company was placed by the Exchange from Monday 1st February 2021 to Friday, 19th February 2021 to allow the Share Reconstruction exercises to be concluded.

The shares of the Company resumed trading on Monday, 22nd February 2021 following the conclusion of the Share Reconstruction.

It should be noted that Lasaco Assurance is a regulatory compliant institution and had not done anything to warrant an indefinite suspension of its shares at the Exchange as published by your paper.

Management.

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