The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied planning to nationalise Unity Bank Plc as alleged by an online news medium.
Reacting to the report, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, described it as, “fake news” and should be discarded in its entirety.
He said: “The report is fake news. There is no iota of truth in it.” He added that the public should disregard such news.
The report had claimed that the apex bank’s target examination of Unity Bank showed that the Tier 2 lender is in ”grave financial condition”, with Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Non- Performing Loans (NPL) ratio that breached prudential standards.
However, analysts note that just last month, the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee ( MPC) noted in the communiqué it issued at the end of its meeting that the banking industry is in good health.
According to the communique: “the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) both remained above their prudential limits at 15.8 and 38.9 per cent, respectively. The Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) at 5.89 per cent in April 2021, showed progressive improvement compared with 6.6 per cent in April 2020.”
Unity Bank’s audited FY’ 2020 results showed improved performance in key parameters. For instance, the Bank’s gross loans portfolio increased by 92.9 per cent to N206.2 billion in 2020 from N106.9 billion in 2019. The bank’s total assets rose by 67.90 per cent when compared with N293.05 billion achieved in the comparative period of 2019. Also, the lender posted gross earnings of N42.71 billion compared with N44.59 billion recorded in the comparative period of 2019, reflective of its business and economic realities of the time.
Its customer deposit portfolio grew by 34.4 per cent to N356.62 billion in 2020, up from N257.69 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2019. Profit after tax stood at N2.09 billion, while profit before tax was N2.22 billion during the year under review amidst the tough macroeconomic environment where it operated. Its net operating income rose to N25.46 billion from N23.21 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, representing a 9.71 per cent increase.
This is even as the net interest income recorded a significant jump, as it rose by 7.60 per cent to N17.75 billion from N16.49 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.
Furthermore, the bank sustained the growth momentum demonstrated in its 2020 full year earnings as it recorded an impressive performance of 43 per cent in both profit before and after tax in Q1 2021.
The Bank’s unaudited Q1 results show that the retail lender profit before tax (PBT) grew by 43 per cent to N784.3million from N550.1 million recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
The profit after tax (PAT) for the period, which also grew by 43 per cent stood at N721.5million compared to the N506.1million recorded in Q1 2020.
As an outcome of increased focus on supporting local enterprises and industry, the asset portfolio also showed significant growth in loan book of 76 per cent as net loans and advances to customers increased to N223.2 billion, from N126.6 billion recorded in the corresponding period.
The total assets of the bank for the period showed an appreciable growth of 42 per cent to close at N521.5 billion, from N366.8 billion in the corresponding period of 2020.
The balance sheet of the bank had been considerably de-risked with the non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of near-zero per cent, which it has consistently maintained over time. With this, the bank ranks topmost in risk management assessment.
The bank recorded gross earnings of N11.5 billion, representing a marginal decline of three per cent when compared to N11.9billion posted in the corresponding period of 2020. The bank has assuredly intensified its recapitalization efforts by the recent updates the lender provided to the supervisory authority and significant mileage is currently being recorded as part of its corporate transformation and renewal programmes.
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Access Bank Refurbishes School Building In Lagos Community
Access Bank Plc has successfully completed the refurbishment of dilapidated educational infrastructure at Akodu Primary School, a rural school in Mushin, a suburb in Lagos State.
Also, the last phase of the renovation exercise was inaugurated yesterday.
The newly refurbished and inaugurated block of four classrooms was the final phase of a three-year intervention project undertaken by the Internal Audit Group of Access Bank as its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that started in 2019.
The bank also donated 70 sets of tables and chairs in the final phase of the project to enhance the pupils’ learning experience.
The project, according to the bank, was carried out in collaboration with its consulting non-governmental organisation (NGO), Mushin to the World.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Chief Audit Executive, Access Bank, Mr. Yinka Tiamiyu, who was represented by the bank’s Head of Risk Audit, Mr. Martins Ogbu, said the project was carried out to improve the learning environment for the children and the staff.
Tiamiyu said, “The project started in 2019 with renovation works on the restrooms of two schools within this locality, namely, Akodu Primary School and Mainland Model Primary School, both in Mushin Local Government Area.
“In 2020, we followed up with the renovation of three dilapidated classrooms in Akodu Primary School. This was done to improve the learning environment for the children and the staff.
“The final phase, which we are here to commission today involves completion of the renovation of a block of four classrooms which commenced in 2020, and the procurement of 70 sets of tables and chairs for use by the pupils to further enhance the quality of their learning environment.”
He expressed the bank’s enthusiasm about the successful completion of the project, adding that they trust that the school would put the faculties to good use and facilitate excellent maintenance of them.
He explained that the bank chose to intervene in the education sector because of its fundamental place in the development of human.
He stressed that apart from the basic necessities of life which include security, protection of lives and property, food, clothing and shelter, education comes second, as an enlightened mind is capable of constructing and solving society’s problem.
Tiamiyu added, “So, that informed our decision to intervene in the education sector. And in doing this, we looked around and asked, where can we make the most impact? Could it be in the established schools in the cities? We said no, these are already established schools and they are running.
“So, we decided that we have to go to the rural communities that are deprived, where the opportunities are few and far between; where the amenities are likely to be lacking or dilapidated.
“We set out to search the various communities within Lagos State which is our major area of operation. By the time our searchlight got to Akodu Primary School, we knew we didn’t have to look further.
“The state of this school before our intervention was a sorry sight. Our heart bled when we saw the condition of the six blocks of classroom. In fact, out of the six, only two were in use because the roof of the rest had completely cave in.
“So, over a two-year period -2020 and this year 2021, we set out to intervene to completely renovate these classrooms, we reroofed and painted the entire structure completely.”
Appreciating the bank for the gesture, the Head Teacher of Akodu Primary School, Mrs. Caroline Adewewe, said: “I thank the Internal Audit Group of Access Bank and their partner, Mushin to the World, for working tirelessly, daily and night, to make this project and it’s commissioning a reality.
“I must say that the dedication and contribution of the Access Bank Audit team towards this project is worthy of emulation by other corporate organisations. They thought it wise to give back to the public in their own way of lifting the lives of the less-privileged. May God bless you all.”
Meanwhile, SME.NG in partnership with Access bank Plc and other leading institutions, including the Bank of Industry (BOI), LAPO Microfinance Bank, Chapel Hill Denham, and the Impact Investment Foundation Nigeria are launching the Ebi Marketplace – a Nigerian innovation for female entrepreneurs.
A statement yesterday explained that the Ebi Marketplace consists of an access to capital market, an e-commerce mall and a knowledge market for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria seeking to digitise their businesses.
“Conceptualised and developed by SME.NG as a tangible solution to the impact of COVID-19 on female entrepreneurs, the Ebi Marketplace aims to close the gender digital divide in Nigeria by supporting women’s digital literacy and financial inclusion, while providing access to capital and markets,” it added.
Thelma Ekiyor, the brain behind the Ebi Marketplace stated that SME.NG was committed to investing in facilitating female entrepreneurs’ profitability, so that they are positioned for infusion of capital.
According to her, the innovation was supported by Nigerian investors for the Nigerian market.
“We at SME.NG see ourselves as an indigenous solutions provider in Nigeria’s SME ecosystem. Women in Nigeria establish businesses more than men but struggle to grow beyond a certain point. We believe we have a strategic role to play in breaking that financial and growth ceiling,” she noted.
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ENaira Will Aid Offline, Cross-Border Ppayment Solutions, Says CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that the eNaira’s fourth phase will lead to offline and cross-border payment solutions.
This was disclosed by the Director, Information Technology Department, CBN, Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, at the licensed payment service providers’ engagement session in Lagos on Monday.
She charged licensed PSPs to build additional products and services across the full spectrum of the financial system utilizing eNaira while asking them to establish other use cases for the eNaira.
Mohammed said, “The full implementation of the eNaira would be done in four phases, culminating in offline eNaira payments solutions, cross-border payment and interoperability of the eNaira with those of other central banks.”
She asked payment service providers (including the broad community of fintech groups) to develop solutions for offline eNaira functionalities, such as cards, wearables and USSD, and to discover more inventive ways to support members of the public in the onboarding process and use of eNaira, where possible.
She made it clear that the CBN was not in competition with the Deposit Money Banks or any other players in the Nigerian payment system.
The session also presented value-added ideas for the market and integration process to promote financial inclusion by bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked.
The event, Mohammed said, was part of the CBN’s plan to bring all stakeholders on board, adding that the central bank was open to recommendations and innovation aimed at improving the user experience and adding value to the eNaira.
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LCCI Lauds UBA’s Contribution To Growth Of African Economies
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has commended Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) for its contribution to infrastructure development and growth of trade in the 19 countries where it operates, which is why the bank remains its preferred partner for the Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF).
The President, LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, said this while delivering a welcome address with the theme: ‘Boosting Intra Africa Trade ’during the Africa day celebration, held at the ongoing 35th edition of the Fair in Lagos.
She explained that the Africa Day was implemented because of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which is a long-term dream and a long term goal, adding: “To this end we have started taking first steps and are doing a lot of sensitisation and awareness especially for the MSMEs.”
Mabogunje who took time to appreciate UBA’s efforts as headline sponsor, appreciated the bank’s consistency and support rendered to SMEs through making available windows of opportunities for businesses to thrive during and after the Fair.
She said: “Partnering with UBA is significant because it is an organisation that has its footprint in 20 countries and that is a big feat, it is not easy to achieve that. As Partners we are thinking in the same way and working together.”
UBA is also making it possible for us to successfully deliver LITF to the Nigerian and international public, and based on this fact we are profoundly appreciative and satisfied that we have a competent partner.”
UBA’s Head, Commercial & Corporate Banking, Muyiwa Akinyemi, while speaking at the event, said UBA realises that SMEs are the fulcrum of growth in any economy and is therefore dedicated to helping them thrive.
Akinyemi noted that boosting Intra-Africa trade is pertinent if Africa must truly attain self-reliance and economic development, adding that Africa and indeed Africans, must own the narrative for the economic emancipation of the continent.”
Akinyemi said, “The Theme of this year’s event resonates with our mission to create value for our stakeholders by supporting businesses across Africa, which led to our rapid expansion from Ghana in 2005 to 18 other locations in Africa within a space of five years. AfCTA is a transformational journey that we must all embrace and encourage, because it presents us with opportunities that will lead to creating a market of over 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of over $3.4 trillion. Hence the possibilities of growth and prosperity on the continent are endless.”
The Chairman, Trade Promotion Board of the LCCI, Gabriel Idahosa, agreed with the possibilities that AfCFTA presents and said it was one worthy of committing too. He also applauded UBA and the LCCI President as well as all members of the Executive Committee and Council for the tremendous support given which has been instrumental to the success of the fair thus far.
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