Following more than two decades of consistent investment in community development, Guaranty Trust Bank plc is taking its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) another step further by launching a Social Impact Challenge that will fund dozens of innovative ideas designed and executed by members of the general public.
Tagged #SimpleChangeBigImpact, the Social Impact Challenge invites individuals and groups to pitch ideas with the potential to enrich the lives of those in their community and receive funding from the Bank to execute the change. This is the latest in a long line of CSR initiatives by GTBank, designed to foster socio-economic development across the country. The Bank’s Adopt-a-School initiative and Football Education Programmes have helped thousands of young students excel in and outside the classroom, while its Autism advocacy has remarkably raised the social consciousness and societal support for people living with Autism and other developmental disabilities. Now, with the Social Impact Challenge, the Bank hopes to invest directly in the social infrastructure of at least 20 communities nationwide.
To participate in the Social Impact Challenge, interested person(s) are to pitch their idea in a one-minute video which they will share using the hashtag #SimpleIdeasBigImpact. The video pitch should contain the potential of the idea, how it will be executed and the budget required to get it done. The ideas must be executable within 120 hours and will be chosen by a combination of public endorsements on social media and expert assessments by the Bank. The expert assessment will focus on the creativity, relevance, unique impact of the idea as well as the feasibility of executing the idea within the stipulated timeframe.
Commenting on the Bank’s Social Impact Challenge, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of GTBank, Mr Segun Agbaje, said; “We are excited to organize an initiative that will showcase not just the ingenuity and creativity of Nigerians, but also their passion for making a positive social impact in their communities. This Social Impact Challenge reflects the premium we put on innovation and collaboration and demonstrates our commitment to giving back to society.
He further stated that “As we continue to transform our institution into a platform for enriching lives, we are fully integrating Corporate Social Responsibility into our business model such that our CSR initiatives now form a core part of the normal way we go about our business. This is driven by our strong belief that building a strong business and making the world a better place are essential ingredients for long-term success.
GTBank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run African financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation. The Bank’s footprints in Corporate Social Responsibility are guided strategically by its decision to operate on four major pillars: Education, Community Development, Arts and the Environment, which it believes are essential building blocks for the society and prerequisites for economic growth and societal development.
Foremost African financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, will hold the 8th edition of its Annual Autism Conference on Tuesday, July 17 and Wednesday July 18, 2018 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. Themed “Raising a Child with Autism, the Role of Family and the Community” the two-day conference is part of the Bank’s Annual Autism Program, which brings together globally renowned medical specialists, parents, caregivers, health practitioners and concerned members of the public to share ideas on how to support children and adults living with Autism.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 160 children live with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) worldwide. In Nigeria, the condition is hardly diagnosed, rarely understood and children with ASD often suffer stigmatization. In response to these challenges, GTBank launched the Orange Ribbon Initiative to support children and adults living with Autism and other developmental disabilities. Through this initiative, the Bank has, over the last 7 years, offered more than 14,000 people training on how to manage ASD, provided free one-on-one consultation services to over 3,200 children and led a sustained campaign to tackle the stigma facing people living with Autism.
This year, the Bank’s Autism Programme will begin with the 2018 Autism Conference which is free to attend and open to the general public. The conference will also be streamed live on facebook.com/gtbank and people across all social media platforms can also join the conversation by using the hashtag #BeAVoice. Following the Autism conference will be free one-on-one consultations for children with Autism and other developmental challenges as well as counselling of their parents and guardians. There will also be sessions for Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, Behaviour Analysis, Audiology, Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychiatry, Physiotherapy, and Occupational Therapy. These sessions will hold from Thursday July 19 to Monday July 23, 2018 at Digital Village, Alausa, Lagos.
Commenting on the 8th Annual Autism Awareness Conference, Mr Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said; “Like every other child, children with Autism have big dreams and amazing talents to contribute to our society, but they need all our support to rise above their present difficulties. As an institution that is passionate about helping young people achieve their dreams, we will continue to lead initiatives and create programmes that ensure that every child, regardless of their challenges, has all the support they need to reach their full potential.
Guaranty Trust Bank plc is a Nigerian financial institutions that has maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since its inception in 1990. The Bank actively supports numerous programmes across Africa that positively affect Infant and Maternal Healthcare, Education, the Art, Community Development and the Environment.
Mr. Obeahon Ohiwerei is the Group Managing Director/CEO of one of the fastest growing financial institutions in Nigeria, Keystone Bank Limited.
In this interview with INTERNATIONAL BANKER MAGAZINE, UK, the banking guru speaks on the achievements of the bank in the last few months since assuming office.
In less than one year of AMCON’s divestment from Keystone Bank, the lender has experienced tremendous transformation in all ramifications. Aside revamping all its branches across the country and bolstering its workforce, it has invested substantially in technology and developed fully integrated service models that enable customers access banking services through a wide range of channels. The bank for the quarter ended March 2018 recorded a profit before tax of N3.72bn, compared with a loss of N2.79bn over the same period in 2017. Excerpts.
Keystone’s stated vision is to “set the pace in financial services delivery, creating utmost value for our stakeholders”. What exactly do you mean by “setting the pace”?
The statement referred to above is actually our former vision statement and as part of our re-engineering process it has since been replaced. Our current vision is “to be the preferred platform for delivering convenient and reliable financial solutions”.
In doing so we shall consistently leverage people and technology to deliver superior customer experience and enhanced stakeholder value.
In my view, the word “preferred” takes us above the fray; it elevates the discussion beyond traditional metrics of balance sheet size, asset base and the like, which are still important to us.
However, it commits us to delivering such excellent service in all we do that customers repeatedly trust us, desire to do business with us and are always willing to give us the benefit of the doubt.
The bank’s Pink Account is a special account for women that gives access to an online digital-marketing network, among other features. What made you believe that such a service was needed?
In its Financial Inclusion Overview updated April 20, 2018, the World Bank noted that “around 2 billion people don’t use formal financial services and more than 50% of adults in the poorest households are unbanked”. http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/financialinclusion/overview
In Nigeria, multiple surveys by EFInA Access to Financial Services confirm that about 36.9 million adults are financially excluded, of which 57.9% are female while 42.1% are male. Against this backdrop, the Central Bank of Nigeria has in recent years actively pursued a holistic financial inclusion strategy across the country http://www.efina.org.ng/assets/DidYouKnow
On our part, the Pink Account is designed to meet the needs of our female working class and SME customers and provides such benefits as access to attractive loans, customized electronic debit cards and access to discounts from partner stores while the pink network is an online forum that empowers our female entrepreneurs with free mentorship and capacity building sessions
Women from different walks of life can network, share ideas, inspire each other and develop mentor/mentee relationships on www.PinkNetwork.ng while the Pink Marketplace www.marketplace.pinknetwork.ng provides an e-marketplace where they can buy, sell and advertise for free
We noticed that your corporate-banking division has a sector focus on oil and gas trading. How significantly has Keystone’s earnings been impacted by the slump in oil and gas prices over the last three years or so?
In reality the negative headwinds on the sector were two-fold;
Globally, increased output both from shale oil in the US and OPEC countries impacted negatively on price while domestically the federal government prioritised its re-engineering program in the sector to plug income leakages and improve overall accountability
This additional level of scrutiny though laudable, brought with it a major downside risk to the banking sector in general, with the recurrent spectre of delayed payments to oil marketers and their resultant inability to effectively service their loans
Prior to this, Keystone Bank had significant loan exposures in the petroleum downstream sector and a strategic decision was taken to consciously wind down these exposures and diversify actively into other trade sectors.
Overall, while the slump in oil prices had some impact on our earnings, our cautious and largely bearish approach to risk asset creation in the sector moderated this as well
Keystone Bank has recently partnered with CeLD Innovations Limited, a Cash Reward as-a-Service Company, to launch the product CashToken. What are the main benefits of this product?
At Keystone Bank, we already know that today’s businesses are not only susceptible to technology disruptions but are under a bigger threat when they fail to place a premium on their share of the consumers’ “emotional equity”
Across all sectors, consumers are forcing the narrative that achieving customer-centricity is no longer a differentiator, but a key determinant of business survival or leadership.
This informed our partnership with CELD to launch the Cash-Reward-as-a-Service product named the “CashToken” which can be won by: New & Existing Customers that activate accounts on our Mobile App or USSD and actually execute at least 5 Fee-Earning Transactions (Instant Transfers & Bill Payments).
Active customers who maintain a minimum balance of N10,000 at least 30 days to their birthdays.
Both customers of Keystone Bank and non-customers that do at least three (3) transactions on our ATMs.
Active customers can win between N5,000 and N100,000,000 at our periodic draws as well as access General & Health Insurance Benefits subject to specified terms and conditions.
Furthermore, agencies of government can also leverage the Cash Token to incentivize conscientious tax and related statutory payments
As I understand, Keystone aims to partner with more than 50,000 SME sector players as part of its strategy to become the fastest growing retail bank in Nigeria. How exactly does the bank go about partnering with such a large number of companies?
Globally, SMEs are established drivers of even the strongest economies and Nigeria cannot be an exception. With over 15million SMEs dotting the Nigerian landscape, we are poised to ensure our customers in this segment actively grow their businesses through our partnerships and focused initiatives in the segment.
We shall continue to partner with the government and other developmental agencies in making intervention funds available to the segment.
Our SME proposition is the “Growbiz Account” with three variants that address their cycles of growth from infancy through maturity and stability.
We are also empowering SMEs through our Agency Banking initiative by signing them up as agents for basic off-site cash-in/cash-out services
How does the bank strive to differentiate its customer-service strategy from that of its competitors?
As earlier noted, our customer service strategy is to deliver such unique customer experience at every touchpoint that it engenders customer loyalty, repeat business and ultimately greater customer lifetime value
Ours is a paradigm shift from simply a transactional mind-set to one that is focused on achieving enduring relationships with our customers at the attendant financial benefits
Our major drivers for this are:
- Digital channels and platforms, particularly our Mobile App and Internet Banking
- Our Interactive 24/7 Contact Centre
- Customer Loyalty & Reward schemes
- Metrics & Information-Driven Feedback Processes that help us tap-in effectively to the voice of the customer
Part of your retail-banking strategy appears to be aimed at the country’s underbanked and unbanked populations. How do think access to finance can be improved for the underbanked and unbanked in Nigeria? What specific measures are you taking to attract these groups?
Financial Institutions, Fintech companies, government and other developmental partners need to sustain the momentum by:
- Continually driving and funding research into relevant behavioural dynamics of the unbanked and underbanked segments
- Creating incentives for the unbanked to see value in being part of the formal sector
- Developing suitable savings propositions and appropriately-priced micro-loan products that realistically address their needs
- Leveraging the extensive geographical spread of government agencies to co-locate and in the process bring financial services within reach of the populace
I understand that the bank is also focused on enabling greater financial inclusion during the coming months. What specific measures are you taking to improve access to finance?
Nigeria currently has about 96.4million adults (EFInA) and Keystone Bank is focused on driving an all-inclusive retail growth structure from the underbanked through High Net Worth Individuals.
We are currently deploying a range of solutions to serve the unbanked population which include:
- Deployment of ATMs to locations with little or no access to financial services
- Deployment of our Agency Banking solution under our direct plan called KeyServ Agency Banking and in partnership with the CBN and other federal government agencies
- Co-locating with NIPOST (the Nigerian Postal Service) to reach both rural and semi-urban dwellers at minimal cost
- Partnering with other strategic organisations to ensure our agent network is spread across Nigeria in the next 12 months, leveraging digital platforms for account opening and other financial services.
- Our USSD Banking service *7111# re-launched recently, allowing customers to perform basic money transfers and airtime purchase among other things.
A major component of your corporate-banking business model seems to involve trade finance. Given that trade finance is among the most hotly anticipated businesses to be transformed by blockchain, do you envisage utilising this technology in the future for such a purpose—or indeed, for any other parts of your business?
Blockchain with its mechanism of distributed and secure validation, has the capacity to subject every party to a high degree of accountability, forestalling missed transactions, human or machine errors, or transactions occurring without the consent of relevant parties.
Nevertheless, the peculiar demands of banking transactions require that we implement a measured approach to adoption.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised financial institutions in the country to stay action on the use of this technology for now and this prudential safeguard is not unconnected with the risks currently associated with it. We shall follow the lead of the CBN regarding integration into our operations
As I understand, the bank is in the process of launching an exciting new digital financial-services platform. What are some of the platform’s key features? And how will customers benefit more from this platform than from what they have currently?
The proliferation of digital banking in the retail space has made branchless banking a strategic and compelling proposition especially in the retail value-chain.
Keystone Mobile Banking App has introduced a new level of Banking with exciting offerings and features most of which were hitherto non-existent across the entire banking industry. These include:
- Zero-Data Banking – which allows customers to transact using our mobile app even without data on their phones
- Chat Banking service – which allows customers to transact while they chat via Telegram and Facebook
- The “Meet Account Officer” feature – which introduces customers to their assigned account officers and allows them to interact directly on the platform
- Foreign Currency (FCY) Transfers – where customers are able to make transfers to banks across the globe right from the mobile app
- Movie Tickets – which allows customers view available movies and book tickets
- Standing Instructions – which allows scheduling of recurrent payments and transfers
- Self-booking and liquidation of Fixed Deposits
- The Enabling and Disabling of cards – which can be a useful safeguard in the event that a customer loses any of our electronic cards
Our new USSD code *7111# also allows customers to transact from just about any type of mobile phone, offering such exciting features as bills payment, airtime top up, account opening, account reactivation.
As part of the bank’s digital strategy, how much of your existing IT infrastructure do you expect will be overhauled in order to make way for new systems and technologies?
Our Digital Transformation journey is for us a key strategic initiative and as such we are undertaking a holistic and far-reaching overhaul of our current IT infrastructure to drive this effectively
If I’m not mistaken, the bank’s digital-technology platforms are being designed to be especially geared towards young adults (the Millennial generation) in Nigeria. How exactly are you doing this in practice?
Our goal is to be the “youth friendly and upwardly mobile bank” that is constantly responsive to the needs and demands of the millennials of today. That is the reason we design our digital platforms with them in mind.
For example, our mobile banking app has lots of exciting features that appeal to their desires, such as movie-ticket purchase and the ability to use the app even when they run out of internet data. That way they have unrestricted banking access even when on-the-go.
Furthermore, Chat Apps are rapidly replacing emails and other media for customer engagement and at Keystone Bank we introduced the Chat Banking (OXYGEN) also targeted at the youths and millennials
In terms of design, we offer a uniform experience to customers across all touch points, leveraging our Omni-Channel platform.
You recently launched your Keystone mobile-banking app, if I’m not mistaken. What are some of the unique features of the app? And how well-received has it been so far in terms of customer response?
Overall, feedbacks from customers across all touchpoints have been quite impressive both on our VOC (voice of customer) surveys and app store reviews while our current rating on the google play store is 4.2 on a scale of 1- 5
What aspect of the bank’s digital revolution do you think will be most well-received by your customers? Mobile banking, or something else?
Mobile Banking naturally comes first as a significant portion of our active customer base are millennials:
These Generation X, upwardly mobile and digital citizens also constitute a sizeable percentage of the mass and affluent markets. The ability to attract and keep them is hinged on seamless services delivered via mobile platforms.
Furthermore, statistics show that there are a lot more mobile phones than there are personal computers across board. It therefore follows that a lot more market share would be captured using mobile platforms
As part of the bank’s digital-banking strategy, have you given much thought to forming strategic partnerships with the fintech sector? If so, in which area of banking would such a collaboration most likely end up taking place?
Partnerships form a major part of our strategic growth imperatives, especially with FinTechs in Nigeria and this has introduced new dynamics that are fast replacing traditional payment structures. These new frameworks ensure transactions and payments are done efficiently and transparently.
To date, we have collaborated with FinTechs in different areas ranging from agency banking, online payments, mobile platforms, loyalty schemes to retail loan creation using data analytics.
Our focus is to collaborate more with fintech companies in ways that can further boost our propositions and better serve our customers.
How much focus are you placing on growing the bank’s social-media presence? And what do you think can be achieved by having a well-planned social-media strategy?
As part of our efforts towards building a digitally-driven bank, we are focused not only on growing our social media presence, but on integrating our digital services into social media in order to make product access and support available to our customers online.
We believe that a social media strategy which sits at the heart of business strategy will drive customer engagement and increase uptake of products by customers & non-customers alike
As Keystone CEO, how serious a threat do you consider cybercrime to be to the bank’s overall health? What measures does the bank have in place to combat cybercrime, and are you satisfied with those measures?
Globally, incidents of cyber-attacks both in the commercial and political spheres have made cybercrime a major risk factor in the overall financial health and reputational standing of institutions, banks in particular
At Keystone Bank we have taken a holistic approach to this, leveraging not just technology but people and processes to build the culture, knowledge and hands-on skills required to proactively identify and forestall such attacks
In addition, we are currently in the process of building an enterprise Security Operations Centre (SOC) that comprises threat monitoring, forensic investigation, incident management and security reporting. The proposed SOC will enable us identify, monitor and manage security risks.
Do you think Nigeria’s 2016/17 economic recession is now firmly in the past? And if so, do you think Keystone is well-positioned to capitalise on the recovery?
Despite fragile growth quarter-on-quarter and subsisting vulnerability to global shocks in commodity prices, I believe it is safe to say that the recession is past and barring any major socio-politic upheavals it is unlikely to recur, at least not to the scale witnessed in 2016 through 2017
Moreover, the federal government has taken active steps towards reinforcing growth and widening its revenue base, particularly from the standpoint of driving increased tax compliance and plugging any identified areas of income leakage. Other fiscal and structural factors that should strengthen economic growth include:
- The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) set up in July 2017 to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria
- Increased diversification of the country’s economy through multiple intervention programmes in the non-oil sectors
- Accretion of external reserves on the back of increasing oil revenue
- Steady moderation in inflation
As a bank we are well poised to capitalise on this recovery and on our assumption of office in Q3 2017, my executive team and I embarked on an extensive restructuring process aimed at achieving greater operational efficiency, extensive process improvement and the re-alignment of skills and competencies to areas of best fit, both at senior and middle management levels
We have also remodelled our digital platforms for collections and payments, to provide increased convenience and value-addition to our customers’ lifestyles and business
So far the market response has been positive and our customer deposits have grown in excess of 40% over the last three quarters
Given the growth in the global regtech sector, is the bank at all utilising innovative technology in order to more effectively deal with regulatory challenges?
Yes, we are indeed leveraging technology to enhance regulatory compliance and our solutions cut across Fraud Management, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Tracking, Customer KYC and due diligence.
Essentially, they detect and deter non-compliant conduct as well as retroactively investigate and create audit trails as may be required
The bank has also invested in solutions that screen customers at the point of account opening against designated terrorist lists such as those of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), US Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), UK (HM Treasury/Bank of England), the EU and the UN. While these solutions also screen transactions and transfers against such lists, our other solutions monitor and report suspicious transactions and activities on customers’ accounts
Your corporate-social-responsibility programme seems to cover a wide variety of important issues, including health, education and women’s empowerment. Of all your initiatives, which would you say has been the most effective and successful, and why?
To date, our youth and women empowerment programs have been the most successful in the bank, both as independent initiatives and as partnerships with reputable organizations. Our focus is to empower indigent youths and women through training, education and other forms of learning, to achieve sustainable job creation and income generation.
We have consistently won awards in recognition of these initiatives, the most recent of which was the 2018 Global Impact Leadership Award for “Best Bank In Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Category”
At the award ceremony in New York on March 25, 2018, the organisers noted that it was in recognition of Keystone Bank’s leadership role in expanding access to funds for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the rest of Africa through its subsidiaries.
How conscious is Keystone of its environmental footprint? Does the bank take any specific measures to try and reduce its impact on the environment?
Keystone Bank is conscious of its environmental footprints and we have an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) in place, which sets out the principles and arrangements for maintenance of a safe and sustainable environment during all the bank’s business activities and operations respectively.
The ESMS helps us understand our environmental impact and through proactive management, reduce the risks that our operations may pose to our employees, communities in which we operate and to the environment.
The 3 ‘R’s; Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are enshrined in corporate culture of the bank.
What is your view of artificial intelligence and machine learning? Do you think such technologies will play a major role in Keystone’s operations during the coming years?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy is already playing a critical role in driving Keystone’s operations via the adoption of Chatbot functionality, named Oxygen both on Facebook and Telegram.
The AI technology allows us to improve customer experience by turning several transaction steps on internet Banking and the Mobile App to simple conversations in a chat environment, achieving huge time-saving and convenience for busy customers who are already frequent users of social media
What do you consider to be the most essential personal quality or character trait one must possess in order to be an effective, successful banking leader such as yourself?
It is often said that hindsight vision is 20-20 and I quite agree. While there are no two identical playbooks for any aspiring banker, there are some character traits that largely guarantee success such as:
- Entrepreneurship: This speaks to that ownership mind-set that would rather face personal inconvenience than allow service failure and the loss of customer confidence or patronage that comes with it
- Passion: This refers to being highly motivated; a hunger and passion to make a mark and that audacity in going for what may have been termed impossible
- Innovation: This is what I describe as a creative yet responsible approach to problem solving; a mind-set that says “how can we make this work” rather than “here is a list of reasons why it cannot work”.
- Effective Corporate Governance: This goes beyond personal integrity to taking responsibility for the overall ethical posture of the bank in the eyes of the public; it is about placing a strong demand on oneself to stick with ethical behaviour in making decisions on behalf of the institution
How do you describe your own personal leadership style, Mr. Ohiwerei? And what specific philosophies do you adopt in order to get the most out of your workforce?
To be honest, it is very difficult for me to see any goal or target as impossible. Some say I am audacious to a fault; maybe they are right but it’s just not in me to set mental barriers to what I can achieve in life.
I guess this translates to my leadership style as well; I challenge my colleagues to pursue audacious goals believing they can achieve them. Personally, I set goals for myself every five years and more often than not achieve them within three years
While I do not micro-manage people, I am by nature excited by the challenge of execution and that makes it easy for me to engage hands-on with them in working-through any major challenges that may arise along the way
How do you see Nigeria’s banking industry changing over the next few years?
Over the next few years, I expect to see increased competition for customers’ confidence and share-of-mind
I expect to see banks compete more aggressively on such subtle yet potentially profitable indicators as
- Increased account activity
- Customers’ ease of transaction across touch points
- Scale of digital spread and partnerships (as against number of physical branches)
- Incentives for repeat business and greater customer life-time value
- Overall business efficiency
I also expect to see banks increasingly leveraging data analytics to better-predict customer behaviour for effective marketing and retail loans creation
Finally, while the retail and MSME sectors should remain the main focus for banks, I expect to see this drive replicated strongly in the corporate banking space with unique offerings to tap their downlines and value-chains
You currently have about 150 branches nationwide in Nigeria. Are you satisfied with this level of coverage?
We actually have 154 active branches in Nigeria with strong presence and multiple locations in key commercial nerve centres in the country such as Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Onitsha, Aba and Nnewi, to mention a few
However, over the last nine months we have progressively changed the narrative from merely having physical presence to achieving effective presence in the minds of our customers, through a massive yet sustained deployment of ubiquitous digital and agent platforms that are literally within reach of our customers such as the mobile app, the USSD platform, the revamped internet banking interface and our contact centre. For us it is about taking the bank to our customers and not just building structures and expecting then to come to us all the time
Where we need to complement our brick and mortar network, we shall deploy nimble yet effective touchpoints that fit with our customers’ businesses and lifestyles, such as e-centres and galleries, Fixed Agents in the local grocery stores and Teller Implants, all of which still take banking to the customer as much as is practicable
Are there any plans for Keystone to expand its presence into other countries in the region?
Currently, there are no immediate plans for expansion into the West African sub-region as a major fallout of our prolonged bridge-bank status was the decision to divest from our subsidiaries in the sub-region namely Keystone Bank (Sierra Leone) Ltd and Global Bank (Liberia) Ltd with negotiations currently at an advanced stage.
While not denying the economic potentials in selected West African countries, we shall adopt a measured approach towards harnessing these opportunities in the medium to long-term, as we re-invent our business model.
As a banking leader with many years of experience, what advice can you give to a youngster looking to forge a successful career in the Nigerian banking industry?
I will emphasise three key areas:
- Emerging bankers should constantly expand their knowledge about the workings of the economy and the banking sector, within the our overall socio-political context
- For every transaction they should be passionate about maximizing profit yet deeply conscious of the boundaries of sound ethics and corporate governance
- In all interactions with customers, they should do whatever it takes to remain responsive, professional and always within reach
By the time you end your tenure as CEO of Keystone, what is the one goal, above all others, that you hope you will have achieved during your time in charge?
I would love to leave with a sense of satisfaction that I delivered on the mandate of our investors by making Keystone a Tier-1 bank.
I also want to leave behind a tested and proven team of passionate and highly motivated people that refuse to see any barriers to what they can achieve; people that are able to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with any leading bank in the industry.
At the end of my tenure, the recurrent customer feedback should be “my bankers are highly professional solution providers, responsive and always within reach”
Foremost African financial institution; Guaranty Trust Bank plc reaffirmed its position as a leading global brand with its recent recognition as the “Best Bank in Nigeria” and the “Best Bank for CSR in Africa.”
The Bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Office, Segun Agbaje, also won the award for the CEO of the Year, which he won in 2013, thus becoming the first ever repeat winner in the history of the awards
EMEA Finance is a leading bimonthly global industry publication that reports on the major financial events and happenings initiated and influenced by the international financial industry active in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The award celebrates Africa’s most innovative bank taking into consideration its market strength, profitability, growth and earnings, potential and quality of management of the financial institutions.
According to Christopher Moore, Publisher and Chief Executive of EMEA Finance Magazine: “In recent years, GTBank has attracted laudable accolades for its efforts in growing local communities through key interventions for SMEs in the Fashion and Food industry. This novel initiative of the Bank, has enabled it create free platforms for budding entrepreneurs across Africa to grow their businesses. In recognition of the bank’s effort in impacting local communities across Africa, GTBank is the proud winner of the 2017 Best Bank for CSR in Africa.”
He further stated that “GTBank’s emergence as “Best Bank in Nigeria” demonstrates its ability to continuously deliver notable success by leveraging cutting edge technology to deliver excellent services to a diverse African community and bolster efforts towards on-boarding the unbanked”
Receiving the award on behalf of the Bank, Segun Agbaje, Managing Director/CEO of GTBank said: “We are honored to be recognized as the Best Bank in Nigeria and Africa’s Best Bank for Corporate Social Responsibility. These awards reflects our progress in building strong, value adding relationships with our customers and demonstrates that of far greater importance to us, beyond providing first class service, is the role we play in our host communities.”
He further stated that, “I am humbled to be recognized as CEO of the Year for a second time; this award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the amazing team of people at GTBank. We will continue to differentiate ourselves by aggressively pursuing innovative solutions that create sustainable value for all our customers and stakeholders whilst championing high impact CSR initiatives to support the economic growth and social progress of our communities.
GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The GTBank brand is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service delivery and innovation. The Bank operates from over 238 branches within the country and has banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom.
Foremost African financial institution; Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been recognized as the 2017 ‘Bank of the Year Nigeria’ at The Banker Awards which held in London, United Kingdom.
The Banker, a publication of the Financial Times, is the world’s leading monthly journal of records for the banking Industry, with over 90 years expertise in publishing development in the banking industry both Africa and on the global scale. The Banker Awards is regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence, recognizing and celebrating the achievements of individuals and financial institutions within the global banking sector.
According to Brian Caplen, Editor of The Banker Magazine: “The banking and financial services industry continues to develop rapidly, with a few financial institutions cementing their positions as market leaders, pushing the boundaries of innovation and excellence. GTBank has over the years maintained a reputation for delivering notable financial success hinged on world class corporate governance standards and excellent service delivery.”
Receiving the award on behalf of the Bank, Segun Agbaje, Managing Director/CEO of GTBank said; “We are honored to be recognized as the 2017 Bank of the Year. Our vision has always been to create an oasis in the financial services industry and we strive to achieve this by adopting high corporate governance standards whilst pushing the limits of innovation and service delivery to provide our customers with a superior banking experience.
He further stated that; “This award serves as further motivation for us as we continue to transform our organization into a platform for enriching lives that offers our customers benefits beyond banking. It also reflects our sustained commitment to maximize shareholders’ value and deliver superior and sustainable return, guided by our founding values of hard work, discipline and integrity.”
GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The GTBank brand is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation.
In due recognition of the Bank’s leading role in Africa’s banking industry, owing to its bias for world class corporate governance standards and excellent service delivery and innovation, GTBank has been a recipient to numerous awards over the course of the year. They include Best Bank in Nigeria by Euromoney, Bank of the Year by EMEA Finance and African Bank of the Year by Africa Banker Magazine.
In keeping with its commitment to promote qualitative education and sustainable development in Nigeria, Keystone Bank Limited, has handed over a renovated and fully equipped Sick Bay to Dodan Barracks Primary School, Obalende, Lagos to manage remote health challenges of the students.
Speaking on the lender’s passion for investment in the education sector at the commissioning ceremony, the Divisional Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications of Keystone Bank, Mrs. Omobolanle Osotule said that the intervention is aimed at supporting the school to further improve the learning and teaching environment, thereby raising the standard of education in the country.
Osotule said: “As a bank that is committed to the development of Nigerian youths, Keystone Bank recognises education as the bedrock of sustainable development, which is why education is one of our core CSR pillars.”
“As much as education is an essential aspect of the development of any society, it is also important that children have easy access to first level healthcare while at school”.
“The initiative is part of the bank’s overall strategy to create a sustainable impact around healthcare, education, youth/women empowerment and employee volunteering. We shall continue to do more in this regard.” Osotule stressed.
In his response, the head teacher of the school, Mr Kayode Edun, thanked the Bank for the kind gesture. “We truly appreciate the efforts of Keystone Bank in giving the school’s sick bay a new lease of life. It is our prayer that the bank will continue to grow from strength to strength; and as progress is made, more initiatives like this will be implemented”, Edun said.
Keystone Bank, a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers has been at the forefront of various educational and Women/Youth empowerment initiatives in recent times.
The lender recently partnered with the Junior Achievers Nigeria (JAN), spearheading efforts in the furtherance of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial literacy drive by teaching children across the country on financial education/Independence.
L-R: Mrs. Izore Bamawo, Head, CSR, Keystone Bank Limited, Mrs. Kanyinsola Demola-Seriki, CSR officer, Keystone Bank Limited, Mrs. Omobolanle Osotule, Divisional Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Keystone Bank Limited and Mr. Kayode Edun, Head teacher, Dodan Barracks Nursery & Primary School, Obalende, Lagos during the official handover of Dodan Barracks Nursery & Primary School Sick Bay renovated and equipped by Keystone Bank Limited in Lagos, recently.
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has certified and granted full accreditation status to the Keystone Bank Limited Training Academy in Lagos, in recognition of its compliance with regulatory standards and best practices.
The certification came at the end of a recent evaluation exercise carried out by the CIBN which is the sole accreditation agency under the Competency Framework for the country’s Banking and Finance Industry put in place by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Keystone Bank Training Academy is a full-fledged learning and development centre responsible for the continuous building of skills and the expansion of knowledge base of new and existing workers of the bank.
In the letter communicating the development, the institute commended the bank for its consistent efforts towards meeting high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and larger economy.
Part of the accreditation is the exemption of trainees who are successful at the Keystone Bank Entry Level from nine courses from a total of nineteen in the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria Professional Certification examination.
Commenting on the award, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Obeahon Ohiwerei said, “We believe strongly in the need for continuous learning and self-improvement. Providing top-notch training is one way we groom and build our people to be more competent and vibrant, thereby launching the Bank to ground breaking achievements and performance overtime.”
“This of course will produce leading professional bankers who will lead not just the industry but the economy at large.”
Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.
In line with its goal to provide quality service to its customers, Keystone Bank Limited has introduced a new SMART number, for customer support.
Launched earlier this month, the smart number – 0700 2000 3000 Contact Centre eliminates the need for customers to remember multiple numbers while removing the uncertainty as to which of the lines are actively engaged.
Speaking on the development, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Obeahon Ohiwerei said: “The launch of our 0700 2000 3000 Contact Centre easily memorable number opens up the communication channel with the Bank. It’s is available 24 hours round the clock.
He further stated that, the new SMART number will improve customer service relationship as the number connects on a first dial, and allows multiple calls simultaneously.
“As a financial institution, the customer is at the core of our business and this novelty is in keeping with the brand values of service, professionalism and innovation which is an integral part of our ethos”.
“Sequel to the divestment of the bank earlier in the year, this is one of the many steps we are taking to engage with our customers effectively.
It is indeed a new beginning for Keystone Bank,” Ohiwerei stated.
Controversy is trailing the recent mass sack of workers by First Bank of Nigeria, FBN, as the bank and its affiliate contracting firm in charge of recruitment, Whyte Cleon Limited, have given various reasons to justify the action.
The affected workers, reported to be more than 1,000, cutting across branches of the bank throughout the country have dismissed the reasons given, while criticising the process as defying due process and acceptable labour practice globally.
Initially, the First Bank spokesperson, Babatunde Lasaki, who confirmed the sack to The Next Edition, said the exercise was based on the outcome of an annual staff appraisal which sets a baseline to assess staff performance.
He said in line with the usual practice, those who met some key performance indicators and a scorecard spelt out at the beginning of the year about the job description relating to their offices were either retained or promoted for increment, while poor performers risked being sacked.
However, following the debate that has trailed the sack, First Bank management appears to have distanced itself from it, as it later said the sacked workers were not part of its workforce.
When contacted Mr. Lasaki on Tuesday through a mail for further clarification about the sack, his automatic email responder machine directed the reporter to his colleague, who said those affected were not ”regular staff” of First Bank, but casual workers who were hired to provide support services to the bank.
The official who requested not to be named, as she was not authorised to speak on the issue, did not give further details.
She, however, re-directed the reporter to an official of Whyte Cleon Limited, the bank’s human resource recruitment affiliate, which carried out the sack of the workers.
Recent media reports said those sacked were mostly front desk tellers, account and clearing support staff, customer service officers and marketing associates who had put in between five and 10 years in the service of the bank.
We could not immediately verify these reports.
But, the workers, who insist they considered themselves bona fide staff of First Bank, by virtue of the official staff identity cards they carry and the conditions of service issued to them when they resumed work, insist the manner of their disengagement did not follow due process.
Apart from denying that the termination of their appointments was based on the outcome of a performance appraisal exercise, the workers said information about their sack was not communicated to them formally, but through short message service, SMS sent to their telephones on August 7, 2017, an act they alleged did not meet international labour practice standards.
The bank insists that apart from the text messages, all the affected workers were later issued formal letters of termination of appointment.
Besides, the workers said, contrary to what the bank would want the public to believe about the reason for their sack, the real reason they were sacked was that First Bank wanted to avoid being encumbered up with the provision of a labour law requiring employers to compulsorily convert their casual workers to permanent staff, with full benefits after their 10th year in active service.
Some of those affected who reached out to us give further clarification on the circumstances of their unexpected exit from First Bank said the majority of those given the boot were non-core staff recruited between 2008 and 2015, most of whom have put in more than nine years in the service of the bank.
“It is a blunt lie. There was no scorecard or indicator to measure the performance of non-core staff. We worked to support the core staff. They are only using that as a gimmick to deceive the public.
“They are trying to wipe out the entire staff recruited as far back as 2008, who have spent between eight and nine years in the bank. They do not want them to attain 10 years of service so that the bank would not be forced to convert them from non-core staff to core staff, in line with established labour laws,” one of the workers who gave his name as Jimoh Durojaye, said on Wednesday.
Another, Chukwuka Odinaka, said they did not fail any appraisal test, as claimed by the bank, as they were not even given any such opportunity to defend themselves.
He alleged that all positions vacated by the sacked worked have since been filled with fresh graduates recruited by the bank.
“We were employed by Insourcing Limited, formerly a subsidiary of the First Bank Group. We were later handed over to Whyte Cleon. It is not true that our disengagement followed due process, as Business Managers and Heads of Branch Services who oversee the branch operations were not aware of the development. They only came to work on Monday morning and saw they had been given new staff,” Mr. Odinaka said.
Also, Alani Moshood, who said the bulk of the workers laid off were recruited between 2008 and 2009, also said the affected workers are considering approaching the National Industrial Court to seek justice, adding that they were yet to be paid any severance package since their exit on August 11, 2017 in line with statutory exit labour procedures.
Meanwhile, Whyte Cleon Limited in response to enquiries on Wednesday dismissed the allegations that the workers were sacked through text messages as false and an attempt to discredit it.
“Reports in the media alleging Whyte Cleon Limited ordered the mass dismissal of some members of staff in the employ of First Bank Plc through only short message service (SMS) is false. The claims that Whyte Cleon Limited has been silently laying off its staff through only SMS is a deliberate attempt to discredit Whyte Cleon Limited,” the company said in a statement, sent by its representative, Seun Togan.
“We wish to reiterate categorically that the decision to withdraw the services of our employees was communicated to them both verbally and formally in compliance with the conditions of service of engagements. In global human resource outsourcing practice, employees can be withdrawn from an organization, deployed to other organisations and/or may be replaced with other employees as the case may be.
“Whyte Cleon Limited followed due process in honouring the terms of appointment of their outsourced employees and subsequently withdrawing them. Whyte Cleon Limited had exit interviews with all the affected outsourced employees before notification of their recall. It is noteworthy that the affected employees were paid their entitlements and ancillary benefits,” Mr. Togan said.
He did not respond to another email seeking further explanation on the number of workers affected by the sack and their relationship or status with First Bank.
We learnt that Whyte Cleon inherited the workers from Insourcing Limited in February 2016 following a Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN directive to all financial institutions in the country in December 2015 to discontinue involvement in non-financial transactions.
Sources: PREMIUM TIMES
Diamond Bank Plc has been dragged before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria in a $45 million breach of contract suit by an indigenous aviation Firm, Topbrass Aviation Limited.
We gathered that the aviation firm is seeking an order of the court for special damages of the sum of $19, 250,000, against the bank, being the revenue or income it lost from December 2014 to the date of filing the suit, due to the bank’s unethical practices.
The company is also seeking an order of the court to compel Diamond Bank Plc to pay it the sum of $25 million and $875,000, as special and exemplary damages respectively, for several outrageous and reprehensible breach of its banker’s duties to it, and for loss of income which would have accrued to it from the commercial use of its aircraft.
In an amended statement of claim filed before the court by its lawyer, Barrister Fidelis Albert, Topbrass Aviation limited stated that it has a banker/customer relationship with Diamond Bank and such relationship is still subsisting.
The company maintains three-dollar and two-naira denominated accounts with the bank.
Sometime in 2010, the company bidded for and was awarded a multi-million dollar contract by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), to provide aircraft charter and auxiliary aviation support services for Chevron, and that by the terms of the contract, it had the obligation to deploy two Bombardier Dash-8Q300 aircraft for the exclusive use and Service of Chevron Nigeria Limited on an initial two-year charter.
The purchase price for the aircraft was $9.5 million, however, the cost of undertaking a comprehensive back-to-service maintenance on the aircraft before it could introduce the aircraft to its fleet for routine flights, was over $1 million, and on account of prohibitive cost, it was constrained to approach Diamond Bank, as its banker, for a loan to finance the purchase, maintenance and importation of the aircraft.
The aviation firm stated further that in obtaining the credit facility, it entered into series of negotiations with Diamond Bank, and after its proposal including the risk, cash flow projections, income stream on existing contract, potential incomes and commercial viability has been fastidiously assessed by the bank, and upon the conclusion of the negotiations, it was granted credit facility of $10.5 million.
The plaintiff also stated that by the term of the offer letter of the facility, it was require to make and indeed made, an equity contribution to the loan portfolio to the tune of 10 per cent of the value of the credit facility, which amounted to the sum of $1.050 million.
The plaintiff further stated that sometime in 2010, it entered into an Aircraft Maintanance and Service Provider Agreement (AMSP Agreement) with an aircraft maintenance facility in South Africa known as Execujet Maintenance (Pty) Limited.
Pursuant to the AMSP Agreement, it began servicing and/or maintaining it’s aircraft fleets with Execujet.
The first aircraft, similarly a Bombardier DHC-8-Q315 marked 5N-TBC and MSN 614, was delivered to Execujet for ‘C’ check sometimes in March 2013, for which Execujet completed the scheduled maintenance within a ten-week period at a total cost of about $650,000.
The plaintiff, averred further that quite unknown to it, and while it was labouring to resolve payment issue with Execujet, Diamond Bank had sometime in January 2015, surreptitiously circumvent it, and commence clandestine discussion with the Execujet with a view to retaining the services of Execujet as its agent for sale of the aircraft.
With this, the plaintiff said Diamond Bank and Execujet concluded an agreement dated May 14, 2015, the agreement it termed intended to overreach and extinguish its proprietary and ownership right of its aircraft.
The plaintiff alleged further that Diamond Bank’s interference with its contract with Execujet, through deceit, fraudulent misrepresentation and breaches of banker’s fiduciary duties to it, gave Execujet the impetus to boldly defraud it and foster the chains of fraud and breach of contract.
The company further alleged in its particulars of damage, that Diamond Bank breached its banker’s duties of confidentiality, care, good faith and honoring mandate to it,without cause, by:
- Divulging its credit standing and private financial information to Execujet in a false, misleading and inaccurate manner.
- Maliciously misrepresenting its credit standing to Execujet without authority.
- Refusing to honor its payment mandate to vendors in respect of the Aircraft thereby injuring it’s credit and reputation.
- Unilaterally accessing and making payments without and against the mandate of the company.
- Covertly and maliciously interfering with or circumventing it’s contractual relationship with Execujet, or unjustly inducing Execujet to breach its Aircraft Maintenance Agreement with the company, including countermanding the company’s instructions and directives to Execujet in respect of maintenance of the Aircraft and incidental matters.
The plaintiff averred that Execujet concluded maintenance of the Aircraft in 25th October, 2016, however following the action of Diamond bank, Execujet was in dilemma of who to hand over the aircraft to, in view of competing claims of the company and Diamond Bank, adding that with the steps taken by the Diamond Bank, consequently Execujet continues to unlawfully retain the possession of the Aircraft in South Africa at Diamond bank’s behest and pleasure, while the actions taken so far has put Topbrass Aviation company in a state of perpetual indebtedness to the bank.
Consequently, Topbrass Aviation Limited is urging the court to grant all it’s above stated reliefs against Diamond Bank.
The court has adjourned till next month for hearing when Diamond Bank must have filed its amendment statement of defence.