THE Central Bank of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria have agreed to work together to support economic growth through robust policies and programmes. For this reason, Debola Osibogun, president and chairman of the CIBN, said the body would continue to back CBN’s initiatives and lauded the policies introduced by the apex bank under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele.
According to her, the policies were geared towards further improving banking practice and financial system stability and noted that the initiatives of the central bank were comparable with what obtained in developed economies. She said that the Nigeria banking industry was better positioned to support business and the economy.
Osibogun observed that the new Code of Conduct in the Nigerian banking industry approved by the Bankers’ Committee was an important strategic initiative that would promote good banking practice and ethics as well as restore public confidence in the system. She expressed satisfaction with the level of cooperation from the banks’ chief executives especially as some of them have personally signed the Code of Conduct form and mandated their staff to do the same.
According to her, the document is also to ensure that all bank employees conduct their duties fairly and honestly; maintaining the best banking practice and strong commitment to sound ethical and professional standards in the banking industry, among others. She however, commended the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee for giving the CIBN the opportunity to work with them in the implementation of the banking industry competency framework.
Diamond Bank’s Growing Profit
DIAMOND Bank Plc has posted a profit after tax of N13.8 billion for the first six months of this year. The amount represents a nine percent increase over its port address translation, PAT, for the corresponding period of last year. In the same period, the bank grew its total income from N11.9billion in 2013 to N14.1 billion in the current business year, representing a 19 percent increase.
Alex Otti, group managing director of the bank, said the development demonstrated the bank’s ability to grow its profit and maintain its business targets. “We are pleased to release the latest set of results which demonstrate the bank’s ability to improve on our success in the previous years despite regulatory headwinds”, he said adding that the bank had maintained a strong deposit growth especially from the retail segment of the market.
According to Otti, the bank has shown good appetite for funding the real sector as loans and advances to customers increased by 10 percent to N756 billion from N689 billion in the previous year. He added that the total assets of the bank currently stand at N1.7 trillion, up by 15 percent from the N1.5 trillion in December 2013, while deposits from customers rose to N1.3 trillion, up by eight percent from the N1.2 trillion in December 2013.
He said that although the bank’s business focus was sharpened on corporate, retail and public sector businesses, the lender had continued to grow and maintain leading position in the retail banking segment of the economy.
Ecobank Tackles Governance Challenges
MIKE Brown, chief executive officer of Nedbank Group, Ecobank’s Transnational Incorporated, ETI, alliance partner, said that the Pan African bank has made progress in resolving its governance problems.
“ETI went through some governance challenges, but in the last few months we think they’ve made enormous progress in resolving those issues,” Brown said. Nedbank which has a strategic alliance with Ecobank, and is under a deal with Ecobank, has, until November, to decide if it will take a-20 percent stake in the bank.
Access Bank on SME Funding Challenges
ACCESS Bank Plc has advised entrepreneurs on steps they need to take to overcome funding challenges facing their businesses. The bank told small business owners that they must keep proper records of their transactions and operations, adding that such records would be required to support their loan applications.
Titilola Familoni, head, women banking unit, said the bank approved loans based on statistics or information available to them and this was in line with the requirements of the Central Bank of Nigeria. She advised the entrepreneurs to put in place the right structure in businesses, as proper accounting shows seriousness on the part of the business owner.
According to her, entrepreneurs need to get their records right as such would help them in accessing funding from banks because when the records are right, no bank can say no to a loan request. She also emphasised the need for entrepreneurs to invest in staff training because that would help to prepare the employees for challenges they might face in the business. “You do not need to reinvent the wheel; rather, see what other entrepreneurs have done and learn from that because such experience will help speed up your growth and development,” she noted.
Familoni said: “Entrepreneurs need to know how banks think. Banks do not like funding a customer’s risk. A bank will ensure that it is protected from whatever risk that lending to a customer carries. Equity is important in business. A customer desirous of a loan needs to have a savings culture. Entrepreneurs need to prepare themselves before approaching a bank for a loan because preparation makes the borrower to approach the bank from a superiority point of view and he will get the loan.”
She added that Access Bank was already exploring ways to assist entrepreneurs to realise their goals and this was being done through identifying and solving of challenges that affect their businesses.
Compiled by Chinwe Okafor
— Aug. 4, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT