Access Bank hosts Fintech Nigeria



The Fintech Association of Nigeria celebrated its first anniversary in grand style as it hosted representatives of its member institutions, regulators, affiliated associations and key players in the Nigerian Fintech space.

The event was hosted by Access Bank at its African Fintech Foundry facility in Lagos.

Fintech Association of Nigeria President, Dr. Segun Aina, while welcoming guests and participants noted that the association had been laying a very solid foundation for a thriving Fintech industry since its inception in June 2017.

According to Aina, the association, under his leadership, has become a rallying point for Fintech and Fintech related activities in Nigeria.

He said the association’s membership base stands at 52.

Listing crucial engagements the association has had in the last one year, he said they included:  hosting of IMF/World Bank delegation, co-hosting of Lord Mayor of London City and the DFID UK team, meeting with the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other financial Institutions, amongst others.

He equally said Fintech Nigeria had engagements with regulators such as Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigerian Stock Exchange, National Insurance Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, Federal Ministries of Science and Technology, Communication, Commerce, Trade and Investment and Finance which would go a long way in creating an innovation and investment friendly environment through appropriate regulatory framework for the growth of the industry in Nigeria.

According to him “the Fintech Association of Nigeria is leading an effort to open us market access and foster cross-border policy regime as it leads the formation of the African Fintech Council, a Council that would be made up of representatives of the National Fintech Associations from the countries in Africa.”

In his goodwill message, President, the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN), Dr. Uche Olowu, stated that the acceptability, growth and impact of the association within a year of existence played a key role in enlisting the CIBN as a member of the association.

He discussed the belief of the institute in the interplay between Fintech and the banks as partners in transforming the financial sector.


Judge Refuses To Hear Suit Against First Bank




Justice ‎Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday refused to hear a suit filed by WhitePlains British School against First Bank Plc.
Justice Ojukwu declined hearing the matter on the ground that a sister Judge, Justice Babatunde Quadri, had started hearing the matter and it was only proper for him to continue.
Both Ojukwu and Quadri are vacation judges.
“The case is not on my cause list and I am not going to hear ‎it. We have met and decided that once somebody has started hearing a case, he will continue to the end.
“Another Judge has started hearing this case and he will conclude it,” Justice Ojukwu insisted.
In her ruling after hearing counsel to parties in the suit, Justice Ojukwu said “I am not given to too much talking. I have made my mind and there is nothing anybody can say that would make me to change my mind.
“I will not hear it, somebody has started it and I can’t do anything here,” she declared.
Earlier, Counsel to WhitePlains British School, Mr. Chukwuma -Machukwu Ume (SAN), had pleaded the court to hear the matter, giving that the summer activities of the school have been disrupted by the closure.
“My lord, because of the curious development on Sunday, July 8, 2018, when a school was closed against a valid court order, the court had on July 16, 2018 ordered that this matter be heard ‎during vacation.
“Justice ‎Quadri who made the order equally adjourned the case for today, Tuesday, July 24 for hearing.
“All these orders and other processes have been served on the respondents, who have filed their counter affidavits, so the case is ready for hearing today.
“Although Justice Quadri did not seat today, since your court is equally sitting as a vacation court, it is ‎only proper that the matter be heard my lord, giving that all the parties have filed their processes and are present in court,” Ume submitted.
Reacting, counsel to First Bank Plc, Soji Toki, informed the court that Justice Quadri who had adjourned the matter till today (July 24), could not seat and the matter was further slated for August 8, for hearing.
Toki  wondered why the applicant’s counsel hurriedly decided to come before another Judge to hear the case.
In a further and better affidavit of urgency filed in support of the motion, the deponent, Genevieve Okereke, averred that ‎the respondents embarked on the illegal action two weeks ago while forcefully attempting to take over the school under the guise of staged loan default.
She told the court that First bank officials ,  Mr. Bola Olotu ( Receiver), some armed police officers and masons  on Sunday , July 8, 2018 chased out staff of the elites school worth over N6bn from the school premises in Jabi district of Abuja.
She stated that the respondents went to work and sealed the two entrances and two foot paths with  blocks while trying to enforce a N630m loan default  judgment which the school claimed was obtained through a forged document.
The school told the court that the Tripartite Legal Mortgage which  the bank used in misleading the court to grant their prayers was forged as the school never entered a tripartite agreement with the bank.

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8.25% US$300,000,000 FBN finance company BV subordinated callable note due 2020



Key message

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (“FirstBank” or the “Bank”), the largest subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc exercised its option to redeem the fixed rate subordinated Note (“the Note”) held by FBN Finance Company B.V. Accordingly, FBN Finance Company B.V. exercised its option to call the US$300,000,000 8.25% subordinated notes, raised in the international debt markets, due August 2020.

By this action the Bank intends to call and prepay holders of these Notes on August 7, 2018. Calling these notes ahead of maturity, demonstrates the strength of the Bank’s foreign currency liquidity and the resilience of our balance sheet. Despite the 2020 Bond being a subordinated Tier 2 instrument, we are able to redeem this without any impact on our capital ratios, due to the surplus Tier 2 capital we currently hold confirming the robust capital base of the Bank.

To ensure the smooth redemption, FirstBank had systematically built up internal liquidity on the back of a strong franchise and its deep market access in the course of 2018, FCY deposits had grown 11.9% year to date and 6.9% year on year. FirstBank will not be reissuing debt in Eurobond markets in the near term, following the planned redemption. Reissuance will be a function of our funding needs, market conditions, expected pricing in relation to alternative funding structure and sources. At the moment, the Bank has ample liquidity to meet foreign and local currency funding needs and maintains sufficient market access to raise additional funds, if required.

It is important to note that the Bank through its various SPVs , like FBN Finance Company B.V. is a repeat issuer and this exercise would make it the second time FirstBank will call and prepay bondholders following its debut 2007 9.75% US $175 Million which was called in 2012. It is a known issuer in international debt markets and has significant market access

The Bank has remained focused on delivering on its strategic objectives and continues to execute towards; improving its asset quality and risk management; enhancing revenue generation; and optimizing operational efficiency.

Union Bank grows H1 profit to N11.7bn


Image result wey dey for Union Bank Logo


Union Bank of Nigeria Plc posted a profit before tax of N11.7bn for the first half of the year, up from N9.5bn in the same period of 2017.

The bank, which announced its unaudited financial statements for the period ended June 30 2018 on Wednesday, said its gross earnings rose by 16 per cent to N83.3bn from N72.1bn in H1 2017, driven by a 10 per cent increase in interest income and 37 per cent increase in non-interest income.

Its interest income grew to N62.2bn in the first half of 2018 from N56.6bn in H1 2017, while net interest income before impairment was up by 14 per cent to N34.4bn, driven by an improvement in net interest margins from 7.9 per cent to 8.2 per cent on the back of lower cost of funds.

The lender said its non-interest income increased by 37 per cent to N21.1bn from N15.4bn in H1 2017, driven by enhanced treasury trading income, recoveries and 311 per cent growth in alternate channel revenues.

It added that the operating expenses rose by 21 per cent to N39.2bn from N32.4bn in H1 2017, largely due to a 25 per cent increase in regulatory levies from the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria as well as some one-off items.

The bank reported gross loans of N508.5bn, down from N560.7bn as of December 2017 due to successful recovery/collection efforts and the write-off of some fully provisioned non-performing loans.

Customer deposits was up by three per cent to N826.7bn from N802.4bn as of December 2017, reflecting a 66 per cent increase in foreign currency deposits and the optimisation of local currency deposit book towards low-cost deposits.

Commenting on the results, the Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, said, “In the first half of the year, we have continued to see positive results from our efficiency and productivity drive. Across all our business lines, we witnessed strong underlying performance, translating into improved earnings.

He said in the second half of the year, the group would continue to focus on productivity, leveraging enhanced platform to deliver best-in-class services to its customers and taking advantage of targeted opportunities across business lines and geographies.

Speaking on the H1 2018 numbers, the Chief Financial Officer, Oyinkan Adewale said, “With low-cost deposits now accounting for 70 per cent of total deposits, up from 67 per cent as at December 2017, our cost of funds fell in H1 2018. Consequently, the group NIM has improved from 7.9 per cent in H1 2017 to 8.2 per cent in the period. Our foreign currency deposits are up 66 per cent, compared with December 2017; and up 40 per cent compared with March 2018, as we continued to optimise our balance sheet.”

Businessman used POS to dupe Nigerian bank of N1.2 billion – Witness


EFCC operative used to illustrate the story



A prosecution witness, Chuks Igboerika, a manager with Access Bank Plc, on Monday told Justice M.S. Hassan of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos how a suspected fraudster, Ifeanyi Nwaneri, had carried out fraudulent transactions to the tune of N1,231,105,297.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-one Million, One Hundred and Five Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety- seven Naira, Eighty Kobo) using a Point of Sale, POS.

Mr Nwaneri is facing trial alongside Omede Silas Shehu and Monday Akor on an 11- count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion.

The complainant, Access Bank Plc, alleged it deployed a POS terminal enabled for international transactions/cards to Nwaneri, who is one of the bank’s customers with account number 0047820964.

It was further alleged that Mr Nwaneri, who claimed to be a businessman, was later found to have carried out fraudulent transactions on the POS.

The bank also alleged that on September 22, 2017, the POS Unit of the bank received a mail from Interswitch on alleged fraudulent transactions totalling N1.2billion via the merchant’s terminal, a development that led to the arrest of Mr Ifeanyi at the Dopemu, Agege, Lagos branch of the bank.

At the time of his arrest, Mr Nwaneri was said to have withdrawn a sum of N532, 929,914.91 (Five Hundred and Thirty Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fourteen Naira, Ninety One Kobo), leaving a sum of N677, 856,826.80 (Six Hundred and Seventy Seven Million, Eight Hundred Fifty-six, Eight Hundred and Twenty-six Naira, Eighty Kobo) in his account.

At the resumed hearing today, the prosecution witness told the court that findings and reviews done by VISA and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, revealed that the POS transactions did not follow the normal procedure for international card transaction.

Led by the prosecution counsel, Nnemeka Omewa, the witness said: “The transactions should have procedurally gone through the issuing bank, which is Access Bank Plc. Then, it should have gone to VISA, that is the owner of the card, through Interswitch, which serves as a switching company and finally to the POS merchant (the first defendant) through the consent of Access Bank.”

He said the transaction, however, went from the merchant POS to Interswitch without getting to VISA.

“But they were all approved by Interswitch as successful transactions,” he added.

He also told the court that findings by the CBN revealed that the transactions were fraudulent and consummated between Interswitch and the POS merchant.

“ Consequently, Interswitch was sanctioned with 75 per cent of the total loss to Access Bank; UBA was sanctioned with five per cent of the total loss for its role in the transactions; Access Bank (the merchant’s bank) was sanctioned with 20 per cent of the total loss based on its negligence on Know Your Customer (KYC) policy”, the witness further said.

Giving further testimony, the witness told the court that a sum of N677million was recovered from the first defendant’s bank account, leaving a debit balance of over N532m deficit, which was shared amongst the three parties – Interswtich, UBA and Access Bank by CBN.

The case was adjourned to July 2 for continuation of trial.

Pearson PLC (LON:PSON) Stock Rating Reaffirmed by Citigroup; First Bancorp (FBP) Has 1.34 Sentiment


First Bancorp (FBP) investors sentiment increased to 1.34 in 2018 Q1. It’s up 0.35, from 0.99 in 2017Q4. The ratio increased, as 86 investment managers started new or increased equity positions, while 64 sold and decreased stock positions in First Bancorp. The investment managers in our database now own: 186.41 million shares, down from 191.75 million shares in 2017Q4. Also, the number of investment managers holding First Bancorp in top ten equity positions increased from 0 to 1 for an increase of 1. Sold All: 16 Reduced: 48 Increased: 56 New Position: 30.

Today, Citigroup reconfirmed their Buy rating on Pearson PLC (LON:PSON)‘s stock in an analyst note released.

The stock increased 0.12% or $0.01 during the last trading session, reaching $8.31. About 2.02 million shares traded or 12.74% up from the average. First BanCorp. (FBP) has risen 45.74% since July 25, 2017 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 33.17% the S&P500. Some Historical FBP News: 27/04/2018 – FIRST BANCORP PR 1Q EPS 15C, EST. 8.0C; 19/04/2018 – Premier Fincl Bancorp, Inc. Announces Agreement to Purchase First Bank of Charleston; 13/03/2018 – First Bank & Trust Company Participates in VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program: Virginia High School Seniors Will Shadow Bankers for a Chance to Win College Scholarship Money; 19/04/2018 – Premier Financial Bancorp: First Bank Will Be Merged Into Premier Bank; 19/04/2018 – Premier Financial Bancorp, Inc. Announces Agreement To Purchase First Bank Of Charleston; 19/04/2018 – PREMIER FINL BANCORP, TO BUY FIRST BANK OF CHARLESTON; 16/05/2018 – Correction to Press Release: Fitch Affirms First Bancorp’s Ratings at ‘B-‘ and Removes Negative Watch; Outlook Stable; 15/03/2018 – First Bancorp Announces Cash Dividend Increase; 30/04/2018 – FIRST BANK CHIEF RISK OFFICER ALEBIOSU SAYS ON INVESTOR CALL; 21/03/2018 – FIRST BANK SEES AFRICA UNITS PROFIT CONTRIBUTION 10% IN 5 YEARS

First BanCorp. operates as the bank holding firm for FirstBank Puerto Rico that provides a range of financial services and products to retail, commercial, and institutional clients. The company has market cap of $1.80 billion. The Company’s Commercial and Corporate Banking segment offers commercial real estate and construction loans, and floor plan financings, as well as cash and business management services; and underwrites municipal securities, and other investment banking services. It has a 24.81 P/E ratio. The companyÂ’s Consumer Banking segment provides auto, boat, and personal loans; credit cards; lines of credit; and deposit products comprising interest bearing and non-interest bearing checking and savings accounts, individual retirement accounts, and retail certificates of deposit, as well as engages in the finance leasing and insurance activities.

Clover Partners L.P. holds 4.16% of its portfolio in First BanCorp. for 620,266 shares. Rock Point Advisors Llc owns 1.19 million shares or 3.52% of their US portfolio. Moreover, Stieven Capital Advisors L.P. has 2.3% invested in the company for 2.41 million shares. The Illinois-based Fortaleza Asset Management Inc has invested 1.28% in the stock. Jacobs Asset Management Llc, a New York-based fund reported 950,000 shares.

The stock decreased 0.29% or GBX 2.6 during the last trading session, reaching GBX 901.4. About 364,098 shares traded. Pearson plc (LON:PSON) has 0.00% since July 25, 2017 and is . It has underperformed by 12.57% the S&P500.

Pearson plc provides educational materials and learning technologies for teachers and students worldwide. The company has market cap of 6.98 billion GBP. It operates through North America, Growth, and Core divisions. It has a 18.06 P/E ratio. The firm offers courseware services, including curriculum materials provided in book form and/or via access to digital content; and assessments, such as test development, processing, and scoring services.

CBN monetary policy meeting, inflation report and other things to know in finance this week


…The Central Bank of Nigeria monetary policy committee meets in Abuja to discuss key policy rates in the country…


Nigeria's central bank to lend directly to companies through commercial papers                         CBN Governor Godwin Emiefele


Nigeria’s annual inflation rate slowed 11.23% in June 2018 from 11.61% in the prior month, the seventeen consecutive decline and lowest in more than 2 years.

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics made this known in Abuja on Monday, July 23, 2018. The NBS report will also serve as a reference point as the Central Bank of Nigeria kicks of its monetary policy meeting in Abuja.

 Sub-Saharan Africa looks at other financial and business news for the week:

1. The Central Bank of Nigeria monetary policy committee will be meeting July 23 and July 24 to discuss key policy rates in the country.  The committee will foreign capital flows into the economy, inflation and interest rate and make key decisions as 2019 elections approach.

2. The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to start implementation of a regulatory framework for the listing of non-interest debt securities on the stock market.

3. Auditor-General 2016 annual report: The report queried 308 Ministries, Department and Agencies of government over the extra-budgetary spending of N149.5 billion in 2016.

4. The Senate and House of Representatives’ Committees on Capital Market and Institutions, Securities and Exchange Commission and other Regulatory Agencies hold the second bi-annual Stakeholders’ Forum on the Capital Market on Monday, July 23 while Nigerian Stock Exchange Bi-annual Nigerian Capital Market Information Security Forum (NCMISF) is slated for  Wednesday, July 25, 2018.

5. Nigerian examination body, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, has remitted N7.8 billion as surplus to the Federal Government.

6. Stears’ financial technology summit holds on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos with the theme, ‘Banking on FinTech: The Future of Money, Markets and Marketplace.’

7. Nigerian Medview airline took delivery of its newly acquired B777-200ER to boost its fleet with a facility from FirstBank of Nigeria Limited.

8. A.B.C Transport appoints two new directors

9. Dangote Cement, UACN, Seplat Petroleum, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Ecobank Transnational, United Capital Plc, others filed their half-year financial report with Nigerian Stock Exchange. Others companies and public listed companies to follow suit this week.

10. AFRICA CEO FORUM picks Rwanda as host country for its 2019 event

The seventh edition of the AFRICA CEO FORUM, the largest international gathering of CEOs  and investors from the African private sector, will be held between March 25 and 26, 2019, in Kigali, Rwanda.

Nigerian Banks’ Twitter Banter Goes Viral



Sterling Bank may not be the most popular bank in Nigeria. But on Saturday, it crept into the consciousness of many Nigerians, perhaps, potential customers, all thanks to a tweet, which has since gone viral.

The tweet is a less-than-subtle shade thrown at the banks’ rivals including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, First Bank and Union Bank.

It contains a graphic with the logos of the four banks manipulated to show they are not worthy of customers’ attention.

It was not long before the four banks, sans GTBank, started to respond with digs of their own.

Access Bank’s reply has been liked and retweeted more than Sterling’s trigger tweet.

Union Bank followed suit quickly. It took the bank three tweets to hit the home run.

The last tweet, however, comes with a tone finality and with allusion to the beefs between Nas and Jay-Z (Ether) and Pusha T and Drake (Story of Adidion). And if you are familiar with hip-hop, you will know that ‘Ether’ by Nas and ‘Story of Adidion’ are among the top knock-them-dead diss tracks.

The oldest bank among the lot also fired its own two-tweet salvo.

Guaranty Trust Bank has refused to be drawn into the catfight. Silence is golden?