Sterling Bank reports 15% growth in net profit in 2019

Sterling Bank Plc, a full-service national bank, has reported an audited profit after tax (PAT) of N10. 6 billion on gross earnings of N150.2   billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to a net profit of N9.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2018, representing a growth of 15 percent.
Commenting on the financial performance, Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Bank said, “In the final quarter of 2019, our relentless commitment to improving education through micro banking was rewarded with ‘The Banker’s Award for Banking in the Community’ on the global stage by the Financial Times of London.”
He said the bank was also ranked ‘top 3 banks in retail’ by Nigerian consumers in a KPMG banking survey – a major accomplishment for the brand – and overall, the bank delivered a 15  percent growth in profit after tax to N10.6  billion as at December 2019.
According to Mr. Suleiman, the bank recorded an increase in gross earnings, driven majorly by growth in fees and commissions by 24.3 percent, despite a steady loan base – as it continues to diversify into key sectors of focus – and a decline in trading income.
In 2019, the bank delivered more than 200 percent increase in loans to its retail and consumer segment with its Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) above the regulatory limit all year round.
Notably, the bank’s digital lending product continued to set the trend with more than N45 billion disbursed to more than 50,000 customers. Also, interest expense declined by 10.9 percent driven by a 19.4 percent year-on-year increase in low-cost deposits as the Bank continues to grow its Retail & Consumer base, resulting in a 110 bps drop in the cost of funds and consequently, a 130 bps increase in net interest margin.
According to the CEO, the Bank’s cost-to-income ratio remained relatively flat year-on-year, even as operating expenses grew on the back of staff salaries and wages and spend on technology infrastructure as well as digital platforms.
Mr. Suleiman said the bank grew its deposit base by over N130 billion in deposit during the 12-month period, representing over 75 percent growth from its 2018 performance of about N75 billion, and shareholders’ funds grew by 22.2 percent at the end of the year.
Analysis showed that in comparison with its peers, Sterling delivered the highest percentage growth in terms of savings deposits and 2nd highest in terms of total low-cost deposits.
He also noted that investments in technology have also allowed the bank to continuously record steady growth in the instant payments market contributing to the bank’s transactional revenue. Also, the bank has continued to see traction in machine supported transactions, driven by the adoption of its digital channels. As a direct result, Sterling’s NIBBS Instant Payments (NIP) transaction volume grew by 78 percent compared to the previous year, faster than the industry growth while recording the fastest growth in Fees & Commission income in comparison with its peers.
Zenith Bank’s 2019 PBT is N243 Billion

Zenith Bank Plc has announced result for the year ended December 31, 2019, with profit after tax of N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian bank to cross the N200 billion mark.

According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2019 financial year released in Lagos on Friday, profit after tax rose by 8% to N208.8 billion from the N193 billion recorded in the previous year.

The group also recorded a growth in gross earnings of 5% rising to N662.3 billion from N630.3 billion reported in the previous year.

This growth was driven by the 29% increase in non-interest income from N179.9 billion in 2018 to N231.1 billion in 2019. Fees on electronic products continues to grow significantly with a 108% Year on Year (YoY) growth from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in the current year.

The bank in a statement sent to Newscorner said the increase in the figures was a “validation of the bank’s retail transformation strategy which continues to deliver impressive results”.

Profit before tax also increased by 5% growing from N232 billion to N243 billion in the current year, arising from topline growth and continued focus on cost optimisation strategies. Cost-to-income ratio moderated from 49.3% to 48.8%.

The drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.1% to 3.0%.

However this also affected net interest margin which reduced from 8.9% to 8.2% in the current year due to re-pricing of interest bearing assets.

Although returns on equity and assets held steady YoY at 23.8% and 3.4% respectively, the Group still delivered an improved Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew 8% from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.

The bank said it increased its share of the market as it secured increased customer deposits across the corporate and retail space as deposits grew by 15% to close at N4.26 trillion.

Total assets also increased by 7% from N5.96 trillion to N6.35 trillion. The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22% from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion. This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1% and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98% to 4.30%.

Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3% and 22.0% respectively.

The bank has announced a proposed final dividend pay-out of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to N2.80 per share.

“In 2020, the Group remains strategically positioned to capture the opportunities in the corporate and retail segments, while efficiently managing costs and expanding further its retail franchise employing digital assets and innovation.”

Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria 2019 by The Banker.

The bank was also recognized as Bank of the Year and Best Bank in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards, and was ranked as the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co. Most recently, the Bank emerged as the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the Thisday Awards 2020.

 

BJAN Unveils Plans to Mark 2020 Consumer Rights Day

The Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) has concluded plans to hold the 2020 World Consumer Rights Day in Lagos.
BJAN will mark the 8th edition of its Consumer Rights Day with the theme ‘Sustainable Consumer Behaviour’.
The World Consumer Right Day, an annual event being organised as part of BJAN’s effort to join the rest of the global community with consumer advocate(s) invited to speak to consumers on the need to be global change agents to avert environmental breakdown.
This year, BJAN will embark on a walk to sensitise consumers on their rights and the need to be a sustainable consumer as the association will be embarking on drainage clearing, cleaning and picking of food package materials littering the streets.
This year’s edition falls on Sunday, March 15, 2020, as a result of that the association has resolved to celebrate it on Saturday, March 14, 2020.
According to the Chairman of the Association, Mr. Princewill Ekwujuru said: “In order to protect the planet, provide fair social conditions for current and future generations, we need to think about the way we produce consumer goods and services. The aim of sustainable consumption is to increase resource efficiency and fair trade while helping to alleviate poverty and enable everyone to enjoy a good quality of life with access to food, water, energy, medicine and more.”
He added that, “The decision to join the rest of the global community in celebrating consumers is to deepen the campaign and discuss the need for sustainable consumption globally, as well as highlighting the important role that consumer rights and protection can play.”
“This exercise is the association’s little way to compliment the efforts of the Lagos State Government and producers of these products in keeping the drainages and streets clean, he said.
The association and stakeholders in the industry will assemble at Obafemi Awolowo House, (Ikeja under-bridge) by 8:00am to enable them embark on the cleaning exercise, especially clearing of PET bottles and other materials blocking drainages, and littering the streets.
Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) is the umbrella body of practising journalists covering brands, marketing, advertising and Public Relations beat in Nigeria.
Airtel Named Telecommunications Company of the Year

Steve Omanufeme, Managing Director & Editor in Chief, Daily Independent Newspaper presenting the Telecommunications Company of the Year Award to Airtel Nigeria’s Head of Public Relations, Erhumu Bayagbon, at the Daily Independent Awards held recently
Steve Omanufeme, Managing Director & Editor in Chief, Daily Independent Newspaper presenting the Telecommunications Company of the Year Award to Airtel Nigeria’s Head of Public Relations, Erhumu Bayagbon, at the Daily Independent Awards held recently

Leading telecommunication services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has been named Telecommunications Company of the Year by Daily Independent Newspaper, a prominent and foremost news platform in Nigeria.
The telco was presented with the award at a star-studded award presentation ceremony, which held yesterday (8/3/2020) at the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos and attended by prominent personalities including the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and the Cross Rivers State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, among many other important dignitaries.
According to the award citation read at the ceremony, Airtel was declared telecommunications company of the year because it had set the pace in revolutionizing the super-fast mobile Internet services in the country.
“After launching its Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) network in Lagos in 2018, the company arguably boast as the telecommunications firm with the largest 4G network in Nigeria, with constant coverage of cities across the country.
“Apart from Airtel’s wider coverage of super-fast broadband, the company has made affordable data a cardinal point of its Internet services to its customers, with pocket-friendly plans at affordable rates.
“Today, Airtel is not only one of the best telecommunication companies in Nigeria but in Africa as its seamless services have put it at par with what is obtainable in any part of the continent and globally.”
Steve Omanufeme, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Daily Independent Newspaper, presented the award plaque to Erhumu Bayagbon, Head: Public Relations/Communications, Airtel Nigeria, at the ceremony.
While commending the organizers of the award for instituting a credible and independent platform to promote and reward excellence, Airtel dedicated the award to its over 50 million customers, stating that it will not rest on its laurels but will continue to go the extra mile in delivering innovative, affordable and bespoke value offerings to Nigerians across the country.
We Must Make Organised , Deliberate Efforts To Tell Nigerian Stories To The World – – – Lanre Adisa

(L-R)- Mr udeme Ufot,GMD,SO&U Limited;Mr lanre Adisa,CEO Noah’s Ark/Guest Speaker;Mr Lolu Akinwunmi,GMD Prima Garnet;Mr Goddie Ofose Convener; Nn’Emeka Maduegbuna,Chairman/CEO C&F porter Novelli and Charles O’Tudor, GMD, Adstrat Communication at the inaugural Industry Evening with Goddie Ofose summit at Sheraton Hotel Ikeja Lagos.

Communication professionals, governments and all stakeholders in brand Nigeria have been enjoined to make conscious, deliberate  and organised efforts to tell the many positive stories of  the country, if we truly desire to expand Nigeria’s  reputation index globally. 
This call was made by top advertising mogul,  Lanre Adisa, CCO, Noah’s Ark Limited, in a keynote address he presented  at  a special  industry evening parley convened by  Goddy Ofose, one of Nigeria’s top brand analysts and journalists.
The event, tagged, Industry Evening With Goddie Ofose, was held recently  at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Advertising and the Power of the Nigerian Story’, Adisa noted with great discomfiture that outsiders have been telling the Nigerian story for too long.
This, he believes, communication professionals must be at the forefront in eradicating this ugly trend.
Adisa noted; “In a brand new world where digital disruption drives every aspect of our lives, life itself becomes too mechanized and regimented without the soothing balm of storytelling, otherwise known as content.
“Everyone has a story. Everyone tells their stories. Some have made an art of it and have spawned a whole new industry teeming with influencers, content creators of all sorts and a host of hitherto unimaginable vocations.”
“Nations tell stories. Sometimes they tell it themselves through what they do or what they say about themselves. Sometimes their stories are subsumed in the stories and heroics of their people. At other times, outsiders tell their stories, cobbled together from a myriad of odds and bits done by them or their people. The latter is never desirable. In that instance, you’re not in control of the input and therefore cannot determine the output.
“In today’s world, truly powerful nations have gone beyond jostling for control in the real world to extending their frontiers in outer space and now the next battle is the dominance of cyberspace in all its entirety.”
Picking his field, advertising – an area he believes has huge mind-power with both intended and subtle messages, as an example, Adisa feels every  piece must be seen as an opportunity to shape minds and make impact for a particular era.
“When the full power of advertising is unleashed, it changes the fortune of brands for good. Its power is unbelievably transformative,” he stressed.
Juxtaposing this declaration with series of evergreen commercials done for Peak Milk, MTN, Star and Airtel, that have remained remarkable till date, the Noah’s Ark boss noted; “I’ve been privileged to be part of one or two such campaigns and for this I’m forever grateful to share in the joy of helping to move the needle for a few brands in the span of my callIn 1998, Peak milk was faced with the challenge of not just maintaining its premium positioning , but also making itself appealing and accessible to a new generation of young home makers trying to make sense of justifying their choice of Peak over a new  cheaper challenger brand that was in sachets.
“ I remember Dr. Biodun Shobanjo putting together a new crack team to attend to this challenge, which eventually led to the Peak Generation to Generation campaign. The campaign was so effective and memorable it made a comeback with a remake in 2018.
To Adisa, every piece of communication arts, be it an ad, music or film project must provide a veritable platform to project Nigeria’s story and condition valuable positive projections for the country.
“Every form of content that we come across speaks to us at two levels; the level of the intended message as well as that of  the unintended. Every piece of advertising done in a particular epoch mirrors that era and beams the light on the future. By this, I mean the entire industry inadvertently creates a body of work with anthropological import.
“Advertising, when done properly, comes embedded with the traits of its time. Think back to “Enjoy the brighter life with Star”. You can still remember the happy folks raising their glasses in merriment, speaking to a time when life was simple and enjoyable. Think back to “weke-weke” with Vitafoam. Think back to Obron 6. Think back to “ Black thing good o”with Guinness. Take it down the lane to the Milo clap, down to Thermocool“making things better, making better things”. Remember “who get this rain coat from Gold Circle condoms? What about Bagco Super Sack and the jolly fellows that turned a mere commodity to a super brand? And don’t forget “Tally Number” from ETB. Interestingly, the last example wasn’t  just about reflecting a period in time; it also reshaped the future of banking.
“Inherent in all these examples and a whole lot more not cited, is the hidden power of advertising. Charles Saatchi was reported to have gone down to the creative department of Saatchi & Saatchi London to commend a young creative team on a brilliant campaign they had just created. In his admonition, he told them to always remember that every ad is an opportunity. And that’s the point most people in our industry tend to miss. It takes the same effort(perhaps even more sweat) to create a mediocre as it would take to create a brilliant and timeless one. The difference is  in your understanding of the opportunity you have been given. It takes that understanding of the human condition and a good sense of anticipating how your audience is likely to receive the message. It is up to you to determine what you would like them to think, feel and do after receiving your message,” he submitted.
Speaking further, Adisa noted; “One common thread in all the examples I’ve cited is the need for relatable stories that connect with shared human situations. When our audience can identify with the conflicts, emotions and resolutions that make up our story, we don’t just have their attention, we also earn their love. They invite us into their world and will easily forgive us when we make mistakes as we are bound to do at some point. Any brand that can achieve this and goes further by suffusing it all with a sense of shared identity will definitely enjoy brand nirvana.
“In a society where the appreciation of art cannot be said to be mainstream, the easiest vehicle for art and entertainment is advertising. In most climes, advertising, through its use of national monuments and other paraphernalia of culture overtime helps to paint a particular image of that country to its people and the world at large. It’s amazing how we easily resort to using the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower in ads created for other people outside of their countries of origin, while we struggle to find the right monuments to represent our country. I recall that in the early 90’s we created an ad for an American airline selling its direct flight from Lagos to New York. In looking for images with pictorial similitude, we ended up with an image of the Statue of Liberty and an illustration of the Eyo masquerade holding up its opanbata staff to mimic the torch of the Statue of Liberty.
“Our nation may have a problem agreeing on  the best way to represent itself, but we as an industry have a lot to do to sell Nigerian imagery and monuments for them to attain iconic status. As beautiful as JP Clark’s Ibadan poem is, I do not know if it has evoked any action from the people of Ibadan to make it their own and part of their legacy in the modern age. Think about it, the American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, came from a poem by a lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key. The same country refers to itself as the land of the free, home of the brave. Here in Africa, the South African national anthem started its life as the anthem of the ANC. That nation brands itself as the Rainbow Nation. I’m not too sure if Ghanaians will argue about the part of their country where the kente fabric came from before accepting it as a national treasure. Go to the East and the North, you find people celebrating weddings with the asooke caps and head gear. Yet no one dare project it as a national treasure.”
“This is where those of us in the creative business come in. Be it in our films, our music, in our ads or any form of artistic expression, it behoves us to be deliberate in projecting our identity through stories and scenarios that are relatable and uplifting. One of the things that excite me today is the current evolution of Nollywood from quantity to quality. From script to screen, the stories are getting better and the production values are far better than where we used to be. Together with some of emerging literary writers, sportsmen and entertainers, they are the ones projecting the Nigerian story to the outside world.
“While one can see a new zest for storytelling in advertising, the truth is we need more of this for it to have impact and birth what we can truly call Nigerian advertising the same way the world celebrates Brazilian, Indian, Australian or even Thai advertising. This will only come from a body of work that reflects the spirit of the Nigerian. The spirit of grace under pressure. The optimism that lets you achieve in the face of odds. In my opinion, we are just scratching the surface. There is the need for us to challenge ourselves more. We need to dig deeper into our world and express ourselves in a way that will earn the attention and respect of the wider world.”
In his conclusion, Adisa said; “The Nigerian story is vibrant and uncommon. Nigerians can’t have enough of it. The world needs to hear it. No one can tell it better than us. So we need to shun all the excuses.
“Make it as beautiful as it can be for the brands in our care. For Nigeria and all it stands for. The time to do that is now. The power is in our hands.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Goddy Ofose, the convener of the event, which he announced would be an annual one thanked all industry players that responded to the special invitation and all who helped to ensure that the event was a success.
Ofose explained that the event was designed  to bring together industry leaders that he has interacted with over the years in the quest to rev up conversations that will move the Nigerian Marketing and Communications industry forward.
He also expressed great confidence that the keynote  speaker, panelists and  all other stakeholders present would explore the overriding engagement benefits derivable in deepening the Nigerian social-cultural content in our Advertising and other works of Communication arts.
Members of the panel that included top industry players like  Dr Felix King Eiremiokhae, Martin Mabutho, Jaiye Israel Opayemi, Mrs Bunmi Oke, Moji Saka, and Odion Aleobua among others took quality time to discuss the day’s paper.
Mr Lekan Lawal  served as the moderator for this segment.
In his comment, while delivering a goodwill massage, Gboyega Akosile, Chief Press Secretary to the Lagos State governor said, ” Programmes like this will inspire increased awareness on ways advertising  and marketing can stir up businesses to grow the value of Brand Nigeria; the states and city destinations as well as  deepen the relevance of marketing communications in  the country”.
In the second segment of the night’s event which was a special awards programme, three industry giants in Nigeria’s marketing communications industry were specially recognised for their evergreen outstanding achievements in the last  decade.
The three industry achievers who were personally present to pick the awards  are Udeme Ufot, CEO/GMD SO&U, former APCON chair, Lolu Akinwunmi, GMD, Prima Garner, former APCON chairman and Nn’Emeka Maduegbuna, CEO, C and F and foremost PR practitioner.
 During their citations, it was revealed that the  pedigrees of Udeme, Lolu and Maduegbuna in the Advertising and PR industry respectively stood them out  as unique achievers eminently qualified in receiving this special recognition.
Apart from the three lifetime awards, 16 other awards for other achievers in the industry  were also given out.
The Marketing Practitioner of the year- FMCG 2019 went to  Segun Ogunleye of Seven up Bottling Company while Emeka Oparah of Airtel Nigeria PLC won the Communications Practitioner of the Decade award for Telcos.
Communications Practitioner of the year 2019- Financial Sector  went to  Bola Attah Of Uba Plc while Marketing Practitioner of the year 2019 for the same Sector went to Folake Ani-Mumuney of First Bank.
 Bolaji Abimbola of Integrated Indigo was PR Practitioner of the year 2019, while the Advertising Practitioner of the year 2019 award was given to Steve Babaeko of X3M Ideas.
The Marketing Practitioner of the year 2019 for Multinational Brands  went to  Martin Mabutho of Multichoice Nigeria while the Experiential Marketer of the Decade was picked by Dr. Felix King Eiremiokhae.
Media Practitioner of the Decade went to  Tolu Ogunkoya, while the Most Innovative Experiential/Event Practitioner 2019 award was won by Dare Art Alade of LiveSpot360.
Ikem Okuhu was declared the Most Innovative Brand Journalist 2019, while the IMC Agency of the Year- 2019 was  Noah’s Ark Communication.
In his vote of thanks , Daniel Obi, Media Editor, BusinessDay Newspaper and member of The Awards Committee thanked everyone present and promised an elevated version of the event in 2021.
Unity Bank Advocates Increased Investment in Creative Industry 

From left: Head, Digital, Events & Sponsorships, Unity Bank, Bashir Salami, Founder/CEO of Sparkle Uzoma Dozie, Head, Retail & SME Banking, Opeyemi Ojesina, CEO of Kuda, Babs Ogundeyi and Partner, PwC, Chijioke Uwaegbute after a panel session on "Financing the Music" at the just concluded Social Media Week, Lagos.
From left: Head, Digital, Events & Sponsorships, Unity Bank, Bashir Salami, Founder/CEO of Sparkle Uzoma Dozie, Head, Retail & SME Banking, Opeyemi Ojesina, CEO of Kuda, Babs Ogundeyi and Partner, PwC, Chijioke Uwaegbute after a panel session on “Financing the Music” at the just concluded Social Media Week, Lagos.

 

Nigeria’s commercial lender, Unity Bank Plc has advocated more investment in the creative industry to drive its contribution to the Nigerian economy.

 

The Head, Personal & SME, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Opeyemi Ojesina made the call in Lagos on Wednesday while speaking at a panel to explore financing options for the music industry at the just concluded Social Media Week.

 

Nigeria’s music industry witnessed an explosion over the past decade, growing by 9 per cent in 2016 to hit $39 million, and is set to grow by 13.4 per cent by 2021, with an estimated worth of about $73 million, according to statistics.

 

Highlighting impediments to flow of credits and investment, Ojesina stated that the music industry with the involvement of stakeholders in financial services sector needs a deliberate action plan to boost investment that will grow opportunities for entrepreneurs in the sector.

 

“To attract the required funding in the music industry, all the stakeholders involved must be deliberate about it. But most importantly, the people in the industry must begin to understand the business of their craft and build the necessary structure that would enable financial institutions to make an informed investment decision’’, Ojesina said.

 

Also speaking, the Head of Digital, Events & Sponsorships, Unity Bank Plc, Bashir Salami reiterated that the Bank has been exploring several financing strategies to support musicians and grow the industry.

 

He added that, “before the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, came out with the Creative Funding Initiative, CFI, the Bank has supported a number of artistes to promote initiatives and projects that resonates with corporate objective of the Bank,” citing the endorsement deal with Adekunle Gold in 2018 as the most significant project to enhance the Bank’s contribution to the growth of the Nigerian music industry.  

 

The session was hosted by Beat FM in partnership with Unity Bank Plc. Titled: “Financing the Music” it had in attendance over hundreds of musicians and creative industry entrepreneurs.   

SystemSpecs Hosts Industry Stakeholders At Social Media Week

To deepen digital lending opportunities and further empower individuals and SMEs in Nigeria, SystemSpecs, a leading provider of financial technology and human capital management solutions and services, would be hosting an insightful session during the 2020 edition of the Social Media Week (SMW) in Lagos.

The session with the theme, “Human-Focused Lending in a Digital World: Impact of Fintech Collaborations” would hold between 11:00 am and noon on Thursday, 27th February 2020 at Landmark Event Centre, Oniru, Victoria Island.

Bringing together customers, providers, facilitators and regulators of digital lending in Nigeria including banks, other financial technology players, and policymakers, panelists at the session would discuss the potentials that abound in retail lending as well as the innovations and extensive opportunities that can be created through increased collaboration among Fintechs, banks, alternate lenders, credit bureaus and other data providers.

Speakers at the session would include the Chief Executive Officer of Arvo Finance, Ayotunde Bally; Business Head, Digital Banking Group, Access Bank, Esther Obiekwe; Co-Founder, Lidya, Tunde Kehinde; and Divisional Head, Payment Applications and Vertical Markets, SystemSpecs, David Okeme. The session will be moderated by Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, Co-founder, CFAmedia

SystemSpecs, developers of Remita, the innovative payment and collection solution for corporates, SMEs and individuals, is known for powering the services of most of Nigeria’s top lenders. Since the inception of its data referencing service in 2017, SystemSpecs has become well-known as a key enabler in the ecosystem by providing insight on credit, streamlining lender’s risk decisions and facilitating the lending of over N35 billion to individuals and SMEs.

Thriving on partnerships within the ecosystem, its Remita direct debit offering is adjudged the leader in the industry and continues to attract interest from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Microfinance banks, alternative lenders and LendTech solution providers.

Patrick Ikpelue, Divisional Business Development Lead at SystemSpecs, said a major hindrance to the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is the lack of access to funds as a result of stringent measures such as lengthy, torturous approval processes as well as convoluted requests for collaterals.

“A virile finance and credit system is a key enabler to the realisation of a number of sustainable development goals, particularly in reducing poverty and raising peoples’ social status. At SystemSpecs, we are committed to empowering the delivery of digital lending to individuals, SMEs and larger organisations to enable them meet their financial needs,” Ikpelue said.

Noting that more financial institutions and Fintech lenders have now become active players in the retail credit business, he said this move would deepen retail portfolios and enhance collaborations.

Retail lending partnerships, if properly harnessed, will further strengthen the economy. The session on digital lending aligns with the overarching goal of the 2020 Social Media Week in Nigeria which is “to support ideas, campaigns and brands that embody a human-first approach to creating digital experiences, which is not only good for business, but will advance us as a society and culture.”

SystemSpecs is a leading provider of Africa’s financial technology infrastructure and human resource management software application. For 28 years now, SystemSpecs has offered robust solutions to individuals, corporate organisations – small, medium and large, and government at state and federal levels in Nigeria and on the African continent.

iF DESIGN Awards 2020 : Nokia Phones Win Six Accolades

Nokia phones have been honoured by iF DESIGN Awards 2020 for outstanding design.
HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones stated this recently.
  The company has been resolute in their commitment to delivering premium phones that embody our Nordic heritage at every price point to our fans across the world.
iF DESIGN  Awards 2020 awarded the following Nokia phones:
Smartphones
Nokia 7.2
Nokia 1 Plus
Feature phones
Nokia 105
Nokia 110
Nokia 800 Tough
Nokia 2720 Flip
Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer, HMD Global, said: “We have always aspired for a Nokia phone to stand apart in the sea of sameness – with pure, emotive designs inspired by our Nordic heritage. These awards are a fitting testament to our impressive product design team, who remain committed to innovation in design and materials craftsmanship. We’re flattered that the international design community has recognised them for their exceptional talent and proud of the work they have achieved during the past year.”
An intuitive user experience, coupled with Nordic design expertise, is woven in the DNA of each Nokia phone. The same premium design principles run throughout the portfolio, whether that’s the Nokia 7.2 with its light-diffusing satin glass back, the Nokia 4.2 with its compact size and edge to edge display, or the Nokia 800 Tough that boasts an anti-slip coating and rubberised edges.
The iF DESIGN™ Awards are held by the world’s oldest independent design organisation iF International Forum Design GmbH.
The judging panel consisting of 78 independent design experts reviewed over 7,000 entries from 56 countries across the globe.
Zedcrest Unveils Digital Wealth Management Subsidiary

New-age financial solutions powerhouse, Zedcrest Capital Limited has announced the launch of a wholly owned subsidiary and new Investment/Asset Management firm aimed at digitally  `democratizing investment in Africa.

The new company, Zedcrest Investment Managers (“ZIMVEST”) will introduce digital private wealth and investment management, help clients grow wealth by beating inflation and currency risks through multicurrency investments, through best in class paperless processes

According to the Founder & Group CEO of the Zedcrest Group, Saheed Adedayo Amzat, CFA, “ZIMVEST’s differentiating factor will come from the renowned expertise of the Zedcrest group in the global financial markets. This is evidenced by the leadership position of its global markets business, Zedcap Partners which bagged the 2019 best brokerage service award of FMDQ OTC. The Group also has a wide distribution experience garnered from setting up another subsidiary, Zedvance, a top-three consumer lender in Nigeria.

The Chairman of Zedcrest Group and former managing partner of Ernst & Young, Adebisi Sanda said: “The launch of the Asset Management business ties in nicely with our plan to dominate every important vertical of Financial services: our four pillars of global markets, investment management, lending and payments. Despite some growth in the last decade, capital formation in Nigeria is still relatively low compared to our frontier/emerging market peers. The total AUM of the contributory pension scheme, at 10 trillion is just under 10% of GDP compared to South Africa at 63% of GDP. The non-pension AUM at about 1.2 trillion is very low and represents a clear growth opportunity, one which we are going after.”

Gbenga Adigun, the newly hired head of Asset Management  believes ZIMVEST would leverage on the Group’s remarkable capacities and capabilities to launch the firm into the top five players in 5 years.

“I am delighted at the focus and vision I met on ground at Zedcrest Group and excited at the unique opportunity we have to create tremendous impact. In the coming months, we will be unveiling new well-thought-through products to meet the investment needs of the public. We would have propositions for the salaried employees, entrepreneurs, HNIs, corporates, governments and family offices”, Adigun said.

He also showered glowing praises on the Management of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for the support in granting the operational license in record time.

With the current thrust of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to drive inclusive growth in the economy, returns have fallen tremendously as fund managers have been locked out of the Juicy Open Market Operation market, in favour of foreign investors who bring the much needed foreign currency inflows.

 Most fund managers are expected to have negative real returns in 2020, a situation Zedcrest attributes to the unusual dependence on risk-free government securities investments.

A recent guideline from the CBN elongates the available CBN futures yield curve to 5 years from 12 months. The management of Zimvest believes this is to encourage foreign direct investment in critical sectors of the real economy and would significantly give Nigeria a growth lifeline.

“The Nigerian rising narrative is about to be rekindled and we believe this is the best time for us to be setting up. We have a clear opportunity to bring alternative investments products to the market, and reduce the focus on government securities. We would be creating products for underlying investments in infrastructure and the agricultural value chain,” noted Stella Duru, another Zedcrest Director.

IMC Experts Set To Discuss ‘Advertising And Power Of Nigerian Story’ At Industry Evening

Top Integrated Marketing Communications, IMC stakeholders are set to discuss ‘Advertising And Power of Nigerian Story’ at an Industry Evening organised by one of Nigeria’s top brand analyst and journalist, Mr Goddie Ofose. 

The Industry Evening which aims at massively accelerating growth in Nigeria’s marketing communications industry and propeling all-round relevance of the industry in the country’s development will take place on March 6, 2020 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.

Gboyega Akosile, Chief Press Secretary to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, will be the special guest of honour at the occasion.

The lead paper for the evening will be presented by Mr. Lanre Adisa, chief creative officer, Noah’s Ark Limited.

Meanwhile, members of the panel, who will discuss Adisa’s paper include: Mr. Onyekachi Onubogu, CEO, Frutta Juice and Services; Mr. Amaechi Okobi, Group Head, Communications and External Affairs, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Emeka Oparah, Vice President, CSR and Communications, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Martin Mabutho, Chief Commercial Officer, Multichoice Nigeria, and Mr. Jaiye Israel Opayemi, chief executive officer, Chain Reactions/ President, Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria.

Others include Dr. Felix King Eiremiokhae, chief executive officer, Oracle Experience/convener The Startups Africa, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha, acting Registrar/CEO, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Mr. Odion Aleobua, CEO, Modion Communications and Mr Lekan Lawal as the moderator for the segment.

The Industry Evening, according to Ofose, was designed “to bring together industry leaders that I have interacted with over the years in the quest to rev up conversations that will move the Nigerian Marketing and Communications industry forward”.

Ofose also believes that with theme of the night, -Advertising and the Power of the Nigerian Story- the speaker, panelists and all other stakeholders present will explore the overriding engagement benefits derivable in deepening the Nigerian social-cultural content in advertising.

The programme, which is scheduled to be an annual event will attract stakeholders in Nigeria’s marketing communications industry, corporate organisations, young practitioners and students from selected universities and other higher institutions in the country.

The convener felt that weaving the conversation round the Nigerian story will not only deepen the evening’s conversation but will equally throw up ideas that will bolster the corporate image of brand Nigeria and raise the national consciousness of industry players, young practitioners, students and other stakeholders in all ramifications.