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

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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.

BUSINESS

Heritage Bank MD Tasks Govt On Policies To Support Private Sector Interventions For Infrastructure Growth

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The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo has called on governments to provide enabling policies that would support private sector interventions to achieve the vision of infrastructural development.

He made this submission at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria’s (FICAN) 30th-anniversary conference and awards with the theme: “Financing Infrastructure & SMEs for inclusive growth in the post-COVID-19 economy,” held weekend in Lagos, where the bank carted away duo Platinum Awards presented to Ifie Sekibo and Heritage Bank for Outstanding Support towards FICAN and Financial Reporting, respectively.

Sekibo who was represented by Olusegun Akanji, Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, argued that the government cannot solve the country’s infrastructure challenges, noting that it is the private sector that will deliver the solution.
According to him, the government can only provide enabling policies that will support private sector interventions.

“We need the global private sector intervention to help us achieve a vision of infrastructural development,” he said.
He noted that until the country developed an identity management system that delivers value to the citizenry, SMEs will continue to grapple with financing challenges.

He explained that though the banking industry has financed a lot of SMEs in terms of count, that it is the sector that has the largest numbers of bad loans and frauds in terms of count.

MD of FMDQ Group, Bola Koko represented by Yomi  Osinubi, Head Private Market, urged Nigeria to conceive a way its domestic capital market could fund the international capital market.

That, he said, was the only way that we could pluck the infrastructure rewards.

“If we want to pluck our infrastructure rewards, first of all we have to conceive of a way our domestic capital market can actually fund capital market.

“But the investors in debt capital market international and debt, money will come into an environment where capital is expected and there is an expectation of good management of those resources and cash flows will come back to it.

“So I think there’s the issue of maybe an underlying structure where we want to put in the capital like road infrastructure tax payment.

” If you want SMEs to get the best benefits of infrastructure development in the country, the CBN Governor mentioned the largest areas of course for SMEs which is energy.  The second-largest is the logistics, movements of cargo around the country,” he said.

Executive Commissioner, Temidayo  Obisan representing the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda advised that the nation connected the right duration of money which according to him would be long-term.

“The major thing to identify is that infrastructure is a long-term thing,  so it Is essential we connect the right duration of money which is long term capital which is what capital market provides and which sec as a regulator should.

“We have about three surviving infrastructure focus funds in Nigeria now that are totaling almost a 100bn, itching about 90 billion at the moment and there are some that are registered programmes of 200billion,” he said.

More so, the Chairman of FICAN, Titus Chima Nwokoji, said if Nigeria’s infrastructural gap, which is estimated to be N36 trillion annually, is addressed, a lot of the country’s economic challenges will be easily tackled.

“And coming out of COVID-19 pandemic, we know that if the infrastructure is fixed and SMEs thrive, the growth that you see will be faster,” he added.

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BIG STORY

UBA Publishes Names, Account Details Of Individuals Who Got Cheap Dollars With Fake Visas And Tickets

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The United Bank of Africa has published the names of some individuals who applied for Personal Travel Allowance and bought cheap dollars at the bank but did not use it for the purpose they applied for.

The account numbers and Bank Verification Numbers of the defaulters were included in the publication.

According to the bank, the beneficiaries committed the offence after applying with fake tickets or visas.

The UBA disclosed this in a publication on its website titled ‘CBN FX defaulters’ on Friday.

It stated that “In compliance with the directive of Central Bank of Nigeria mandating banks to publish the names of defaulters of the forex exchange regulation.

“Based on regulatory directives, the following customers cancelled their trip and failed to return the PTA availed to them despite several emails, text messages and follow up phone calls.”

The bank added that “The customer(s) below presented fake visa to apply for PTA.”

Banks had earlier sent messages to their customers to notify them that travellers who bought foreign exchange from banks for travel purposes but failed to embark on the trip two weeks after their scheduled travel date must return the forex to the banks.

According to the banks, this was a directive from the CBN.

Defaulting customers who presented fraudulent travel credentials or cancelled their tickets and failed to refund the purchased PTA and BTA within two weeks, as stated in the signed customer declaration form, would have their identities and bank verification numbers published, the banks had said.

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BUSINESS

Firstbank Expands Its International Money Transfer Network, Reinforces Its Commitment To Customer Service

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In furtherance of the need to expand diaspora remittance inflow into the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has increased its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), targeted at easing the accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner.

With over 750 branches across the country, customers can receive money from the nearest FirstBank branch closest to them.

Over the years, FirstBank has been in partnership with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs which include Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes, and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflow into the country, thereby putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the world. 

Beneficiaries can receive remittance in US dollars in any of our over 750 branches spread across the country. Customers without an existing domiciliary account can have a dollar account automatically created for their remittances. You can also receive inflow directly into your account through Western Union.

In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly-owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the Bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Gbenga Shobo said “at FirstBank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses, and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are, across the world.”

FirstBank pioneered international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago and has been at the forefront of promoting cross-border payments in the country, having started the journey with Western Union Money Transfer. The Bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market. 

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