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Examining Stanbic IBTC vis-à-vis banking industry compliance and corporate governance practices

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Examining Stanbic IBTC vis-à-vis banking industry compliance and corporate governance practice

At a recent function in Abuja, the Managing Director/CEO of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, delivered a lecture where he revealed that there has been a consistent decline, over the past three years, in the recorded rate of successful fraud incidences, thefts and forgeries in the banking industry. Specifically, Ibrahim said such cases had declined by almost half, 48.12%, of the rate it was in 2015.

In response to how the industry was able to achieve such impressive reductions, Ibrahim, while putting in perspective the key reason for frauds to help buttress his response, explained that poor corporate governance practices in terms of regulatory and supervisory oversight and compliance allow frauds and forgeries to thrive. So all that needed to be done was to ensure a stronger corporate governance practice. He said the reduction is indicative of the strict adherence to sound corporate governance practices by banks, which include compliance with regulations.

Indeed, experts at a recent workshop organized by the National Institute of Compliance (NIC) agreed that compliance is at the heart of sound banking practices and sustainable banking and that the risk of banking industry failure is remoter now than it was some years back due to a higher level of compliance. The nature of the banking industry, with its intermediation functions, is such that failure can have very dire consequences for businesses and the economy. Thus, banks have a responsibility to ensure a stable industry and this can only be achieved by sound corporate governance practices.

In the 90s and early 2000s, regulatory and supervisory oversight was weak and compliance by banks to regulations was mainly in the breach. Then, the industry was an all comers’ affair, mostly populated by charlatans who see the industry as mainly a meal ticket. Banks were being opened at a dizzying pace then, with sometimes three or four opened in a month. Before the recapitalization exercise of 2005, there were close to 200 banks in the country. There was widespread corruption in the industry at the time, which led to billions of naira of depositors’ money and investors’ funds lost or misappropriated. But following the recapitalization exercise and especially after the global financial crisis of 2008, corporate governance became a major issue leading to the introduction of a raft of corporate governance codes.

For a bank like Stanbic IBTC, regulatory compliance comes like second nature. The brand’s penchant for regulatory compliance was validated in 2015 at the maiden edition of the Corporate Affairs Commission’s Corporate Citizens Awards. Stanbic IBTC Bank came first for compliance among Nigerian banks and was awarded the Most Extensive Compliance award. According to CAC, “over 800 companies were nominated for the awards, only 26 companies made the final list, out of which the nine winning companies emerged,” including Stanbic IBTC and three other banks.

Certainly, there is no better validation than a regulator attesting to a company’s good corporate citizenship. And it is no surprise that a bank like Stanbic IBTC was adjudged the first among equals in terms of compliance. Many sometimes view the bank’s processes and policies as cumbersome because of the different layers of regulatory requirements it insists must be met before a transaction can be consummated. But then on the flip side is that Stanbic IBTC Bank is one of the most secure, transparent and trusted financial institutions in the country today. These qualities continue to translate into very strong financial performances in its operations and a bullish outlook for the stock at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In its 2018 financial report, Stanbic IBTC Bank posted an impressive 54% growth in PAT. Balance sheet grew by 20% to N1.6 trillion, driven mainly by deposit growth of 7%. And most importantly, was able to improve its asset quality as ratio of non-performing loans to total loans improved to 3.9%.

Financial institutions, particularly Stanbic IBTC, fully appreciate and understand that their survival depend on how well they are able to manage the relationships amongst their stakeholders, which require them to establish and maintain harmony between parties whose interests sometimes conflict. It is the management of such relationships that corporate governance code embodies. It is this realisation that led banks to self-regulate when in 2003 the Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria was established by the Bankers’ Committee and CIBN.

Stanbic IBTC’s strong corporate governance practices is critical to the financial institution’s continued growth trajectory. The seamlessness of its change of leadership last year was quite impressive and such practices will no doubt give it the desired stability to further increase its market share and to post impressive financial results, going forward.

With the 2003 code, the 2014 CBN code and a spate of regulations by the apex bank as situation demands, which makes for a stronger regulatory oversight, one can almost argue that the possibility of a banking industry failure is remoter than constant uninterrupted power supply in the country. Despite the cost of compliance, which can sometimes be huge and burdensome in terms of time and direct cost, and the risk of managements of banks becoming particularly focused on compliance at the expense of doing business, financial institutions remain resolute in ensuring a strong and viable industry. And this is beginning to produce dividends as shown by the recent NDIC figures and the industry’s financial scorecards.

Today, banks sometimes face the wrath of stakeholders as they strive to comply with regulatory directives. A case in point was the directive by the CBN that banks publish the names of delinquent debtors on its books, which did not go down well with some customers. Another was the foreign exchange utilization position, mandated to be published weekly, and the various restrictions to dollar disbursements to bank customers. Treasury Single Account(TSA), which required all agencies of government to each maintain a single account with the CBN, leading to the withdrawal of trillions of naira from commercial banks, was another policy that banks would have gladly avoided but nonetheless diligently complied with. And most recently is the ‘appointment’ of banks by the Federal Inland Revenue Service as tax collecting agents, which pitched the banks directly against some of their customers and trade partners.

There is no doubt that there is a new compliance orientation in the banking industry. And as banks like Stanbic IBTC, Zenith Bank, Access Bank and UBA continue to lead the financial services industry towards improved compliance levels, it will not only check corruption in the banking industry and risk of possible collapse, it will, due to banks’ pivotal role in the economy, help sanitize business practices and thereby attract investors and boost the economy.

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UBA’s Africa Conversations: Leaders Emphasise Importance of History to African Development

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African leading minds have called on Africans to be mindful of their rich history, which according to them creates the path towards the socio-cultural, economic and political development of the continent

The strong African voices which included Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka; Professor emeritus and authority in Sahelian history, Djibril Tamsir Niane; Ghanaian Politician, Samia Nkrumah and Famous Musician, Femi Kuti spoke during the first edition of UBA’s Africa Conversations, a symposium organised by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc at the UBA House in Lagos, as part of activities marking this year’s Africa Day celebrations. The theme of the panel session was “Africa’s History Redefined, Our Past, the Path to the Future”.

Opening the conversation, the Group Chairman, UBA, Tony Elumelu stated ‘UBA understands the past- that Africa as a continent has always been united by the struggle for identity. UBA is a symbol for the development of Africa, for the economic empowerment of our people, the Small and Medium Enterprises as well as the big corporations. Thus, identifying with Africa and indeed Africa Day is synonymous with who we are as a bank. It presents us the opportunity to remind ourselves, the world and indeed Africa that we owe ourselves the duty of making Africa the continent of our dreams.”

Elumelu added that it is important for Africans to remember history as this will help prepare for the future. ‘Our past provides a veritable tool to fashioning the continent’s development, renaissance and economic growth’ he emphasised.

Speaking strongly on the issue, professor Wole Soyinka, who commended UBA’s initiative for opening up discussions on these pressing topics decried the growing erosion of history from the curriculum in African schools, adding that the lack of knowledge of our past makes children’s growth on the continent truncated. “How can we cope with the modern phenomenon if we do not know the past? We should never forget the importance of history as it is not just an academic exercise,” he enthused.

Corroborating Soyinka’s position, Professor Niane opined thatreminiscingabout Africa’s rich history is important as there is no people without history. He said, “A lot of work has been done by Africans and we have to be happy about it. There is the need to continue the conversation about African unity. Policies  have been put in place and our democracy can only get stronger. Peace will reign and Africa will be reunited. Economic transformation is also important but it is not the only thing we should concentrate on.”

Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who commendedUBA for prioritising African entrepreneurship, called for a renewed attempt at African unity, which according to her, has to be a collective effort of the people.

Nkrumah said, “As we work in our individual smaller countries, it will be easier to achieve more if we work together and complete unification can only come if we work together; we won’t go anywhere unless we use unity as a political project.’ She added.

On his part, Femi Kuti emphasised the importance ofHistory, saying “Our children need to learn this history so that they can come up and build the continent. We need everyone – both boys and girls to work towards this vision.”

The UBA Conversations, an initiative of the Pan African financial institution, aims at aggregating discussions necessary for the growth and development of the continent. It is being held as part of the activities to mark the 2019 edition of Africa Day celebrations by the bank.

With presence in 20 African countries as well as in the United States, France and The United Kingdom, UBA’s passion for Africa’s growth is part of who they are.

The bank is set to continue conversations around these important topics that are required to galvanise the African economy with the aim of attracting the much needed support that will boost SMEs and support business growth on the continent.

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Zenith Bank achieves feat of First Nigerian Bank to Consecutively Audit its Greenhouse Gas (Carbon) Emissions & be Certified Compliant using International Recognize “GHG Protocol

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Zenith Bank Plc was presented with a Certificate for Greenhouse Gas Auditing by V4 Advisors after a successful completion of the Bank’s Greenhouse Gas Audit for the 2018 Financial Year. The presentation of the certificate and the report of the Auditors was done by V4 Advisors at the Zenith Bank Head Office on May 21, 2019.

The Executive Director, Dr. Temitope Fasoranti, who received the certificate on behalf of the Bank said the Bank started this effort with the 2016 Financial Year and has carried out three greenhouse gas audits to date. He explained that the Bank understands the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and climate change and appreciates the role it is expected to play towards combating the menace of climate change.

Also speaking on the milestone, the Country Manager Lynsey Elston highlighted that Zenith Bank is the first Nigerian bank to consecutively report the carbon emissions of their Head Office in Lagos using a certified tool which is built on the internationally recognized “GHG Protocol”. She commended the bank for proving its commitment to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Goal 13, Climate Action, in addition to complying with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards”.. In response to her, the Executive Director said the initiative has significantly helped the bank reduce its overall carbon footprints and drive energy efficiency.

V4 Advisors is a UAE-based provider of advisory and consulting solutions on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The firm’s calculation and reporting tool has been reviewed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for conformance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

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UBA Premieres Most Anticipated Men’s Club Season 2 Trailer

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Lagos, Saturday 18th of May, 2019 was the definition of entertainment success. From the lights to setup, the atmosphere was filled with the euphoria of excitement. The wait was finally over, almost 6 months after the first season hit YouTube, The Men’s club, season 2 is set to launch.

In anticipation, a private screening was held at the IMAX Filmhouse cinema, Lekki. In attendance were the cast, crew and industry supporters. A little waiting room held a re-enacted set from the show’s opening montage, signature cocktails, mock tails  and delicious canapés were served. The Crème-de-la Crème of Lagos entertainment elites including Kemi Adetiba, Noble Igwe, Eku Edewor, Ashionye Raccah, Bola Atta and guests mingled and re-lived their favourite scenes from Season 1 through pictures and interviews.

At 7:30 pm, all guests were ushered into the main screening hall by the Creative Director of REDTV, Obinna Okerekeocha, intimating fans and guests present that the new Season was about to bring on a different dimension. ‘REDTV has taken drama to a different level and we aren’t scared to push the boundaries. Our vision at REDTV is to continually produce premium content for entertainment. The new season of The Men’s Club is real. Its aspirational and relatable. The cinematography and scores are top class and its wonderful to see how the lead actors have grown. This is going to be a bigger hit than Season one’ said Okerekeocha. He reminded everyone to spread the message and invite friends to subscribe on the REDTV.

As end credits from the show reeled on the screen, the room was filled with a resounding applause. In a thank you address, Bola Atta the Executive Producer expressed her uttermost joy as the show more than surpassed expectations. She thanked the United Bank for Africa(UBA) for the endless support to ensure the success of REDTV and congratulated Tola Odunsi and Akins Akinkugbe, co-producers of the The Men’s Club.

The curtains drew with a final address from Tola Odunsi and Akins ‘AK’ Akinkugbe returning immense gratitude to every single actor and crew behind the scene reminding guests that ‘it’s easy to see the finished show but every single person who contributes to the show makes the job worthwhile’.

The Men’s Club starring Daniel Etim Effiong, Ayo Ayoola, Efa Iwara, Baaja Adebule, Mimi Chaka, Sharon Ooja, Segilola Ogidan, Enado Odigie. This season hosts some new faces including Shawn Faqua, Ijeoma Aniebo, Somto Akanegbu as we follow the lives of 4 young men in Lagos, discovering love, breaking hearts and trying to find meaning to life through their daily experiences and encounters.

The new season drops on YouTube this Thursday 23rd, May on the REDTV channel.

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