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Desist From Forex Malpractices, CBN Warns commercial Banks

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has warned Deposit Money Banks to always observe due diligence and desist from all forms of malpractices in foreign exchange transactions.

The apex bank gave the warning in a letter by Ozoemena Nnaji, Director of Trade and Exchange Department, addressed to the DMBs.

Nnaji urged the banks to ensure to know their customers and also to know their customers’ businesses.

She said the directive was necessitated by recent occurrences in the FX market.

“The CBN wishes to remind all banks that it is their responsibility to not only know their customers (KYC requirements) but also know their customers’ businesses (KYCB requirements).

“Given this responsibility, and in view of recent occurrences in the market, the CBN will like to remind banks to desist from all forms of FX malpractices.

“We wish to reiterate that FX operating licences of any bank or banks that are found culpable with ongoing investigations will be suspended for at least one year,” the director said.

She urged all the DMBs concerned to take note and ensure compliance.

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Business

Access Bank Partners SME.NG To Support Digitalisation Of Women Businesses

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Access Bank, through the W Initiative, a brand dedicated to inspiring, connecting, and empowering women in all categories, has partnered with SME.NG to provide a one-stop-shop solution for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

As an organisation that sees providing female entrepreneurs with an opportunity to access easy finance, wider market, technical as well as business support to be of fundamental importance, the Bank has partnered with SME.NG to launch the Ebi marketplace; an online platform which will be Nigeria’s first all women’s e-market place with a fusion of financial services, trading opportunities, access to advisory services, mentorship, networking and so much more.

In an Interview with Victor Etuokwu, the Executive Director of Retail Banking Division, speaking on Access Bank’s Interest in supporting female-owned businesses, he said, “Women SMEs face major challenges in the areas of funding, business networks, technical know-how and business management amongst others. It is therefore imperative to support the digitization of women-owned businesses in Nigeria by providing them with economic opportunities, business sustainability, and improving resilience to the negative effects of the economic downturn which would reduce the bottlenecks faced in running their businesses.

“To this effect, Access Bank, through the W Initiative is set to onboard 1500 female entrepreneurs on the Ebi Marketplace platform to ensure viability and resilience to economic shocks.”

In her remarks, Ms. Thelma Ekiyor, the Managing Director of SME.NG, stated that “Access Bank’s commitment to women through the W initiative makes the Bank the ideal partner for the Ebi Marketplace”.

It is believed that Access Bank’s commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs will continue to contribute immensely to the growth of SMEs in Nigeria and further impact the social and economic growth of the country.

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Business

CBN Talks Tough, Says Won’t Reverse BDC Forex Ban Despite Naira Crash

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it will not reverse its decision to ban the sales of foreign exchange to Bureaux De Change (BDCs) after the move apparently pushed the naira into an unprecedented fall.

Naira on Friday plunged to N570 against the dollar, from about N520 it sold two weeks ago at the parallel market. The currency has fluctuated at the official market with an average of N411.

The fall at the black market followed the stoppage of forex sales to registered money changers who the CBN has accused of fraud and round-tripping.

The fall has fueled price instability as many businesses rely on the black market for dollar sales, even though the CBN has said banks have been asked to meet all legitimate requests.

Addressing journalists Friday after the central bank announced that it was holding the monetary policy rate at 11.5 per cent, the governor, Godwin Emefiele, said CBN took too long to move against the BDCs.

“The only exchange rate market is the Investors and Exporters window, which is the market that we expect everybody that wants to buy or sell dollars should use,” said Mr Emefiele.

“I am sorry to say: I do not recognise any other market. We’ve asked ourselves at the CBN, why did we have to wait so long?

“CBN remained the only central bank in the world to dip its hands into our commonwealth mad pack dollars to BDCs all in an effort to stabilise the exchange rate.

“For me, it’s a wrong decision. It has stopped for good. The Bank of England, or U.S. Federal Reserves do not sell dollars to BDCs even though they exist.

“It beats my imagination that tended to support illegality of people who are involved in graft and corruption,” he said.

Mr Emefiele said banks have been given instructions to meet every legitimate demand for foreign exchange, and that the CBN will be ready to support even requests that are above the allowed limit, provided they are lawful.

For the monetary policy, the bank held all paramters as follows: policy rate at 11.5 per cent, with the asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR, Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 percent as well as the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

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Business

Access Bank Launches $500m Senior Unsecured Eurobond

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Nigeria’s largest bank by assets base, Access Bank Plc, has announced successful launch of a $500 million 144A/RegS Senior Unsecured Eurobond – 5-year unsecured note under the Bank’s $1.5billion Global Note programme – as part of its Global Medium-Term Note Programme.

This is contained a notice signed by the company’s secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, and made available on the website of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

The transaction, the notice said, recorded a massive interest from top quality investors globally, including the United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa, anchored by a number of large tickets.

The offering achieved the lowest (outstanding) Nigerian bank Eurobond coupon, supported by an over 3x oversubscribed orderbook of over $1.6 billion, which represents the largest orderbook ever for a Nigerian bank Eurobond transaction. The bond which will mature on the 21st of September, 2026, was issued with a yield and coupon of 6.125%, with interest payable semi-annually in arrears. The coupon of 6.125% is another first in the corporate Eurobond issuance space.

The bond is already trading at a premium from issue levels with bids around 5.89% levels whilst offers are around 5.78% as the unmet demand from the auction filtered into the secondary market. (101/101.50 indicative price)

The bank said the net proceeds of the Eurobond will be used to provide medium term funding in a bid to enhance its capacity and support its general banking purposes.

Commenting on the Eurobond Issuance, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Dr Herbert Wigwe said: ’’At Access Bank we remain committed to our vision to become the World’s Most Respected African Bank and Africa’s Gateway to the World. The success of our US$500 million Senior Unsecured Eurobond is yet another stride towards the realisation of that vision and underscores our investors’ confidence in the Access Bank story. We are pleased with the diversity of the order book and the success of this issuance further strengthens our resolve to deliver on our strategic objectives.’’

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