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2023 World Environment Day: Polaris Bank restates commitment to environmental sustainability in Nigeria



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Polaris Bank, Nigeria’s leading digital financial institution, has restated its commitment to environmental sustainability in the country.

The Bank’s commitment is coming on the heels of the 2023 World Environment Day observed yearly on June 5. The annual event is led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which is observed globally to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the event.

The theme of the 2023 World Environment Day is “Solutions to plastic pollution” with the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution. Plastic pollution is a major environmental problem. Every year, millions of tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans, landfills, and waterways. This plastic can harm wildlife, pollute our air and water, and contribute to climate change.

Specifically, and in line with the theme of the 2023 World Environment Day, Polaris Bank has taken proactive measures to address challenges of waste management and plastic pollution while supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBPs) and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI’s) Principles of Responsible Banking

Polaris Bank as part of its environmental sustainability focus has invested  in waste management, plastic collection, renewable energy adoption, education, inclusivity, and carbon reduction. By implementing sustainable practices and guidelines, the Bank contributes to individuals’ needs and societal goals while ensuring a responsible and environmentally conscious business strategy.

“In managing the environmental impact of its activities, Polaris Bank has made significant efforts to reduce carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

“Through the use of solar energy to power security lights, some ATMs and business locations, as well as implementing automated systems and digital alternatives to paper output, the Bank actively mitigates waste generation and reduces its carbon footprint.

“To further minimize its carbon footprint, Polaris Bank has streamlined its vehicle fleet, while most meetings and engagement are held virtually. By prioritizing sustainable energy sources and expanding its network of ATMs, including prestigious off-site locations, the Bank ensures convenient and eco-friendly access to banking services,” the Bank explained in a statement on Monday.

The Bank took it’s commitment a step further by partnering with some organizations to help it provide clean water and sanitation in some communities. It’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects are clearly spelt out to reflect adherence to environment sustainability.

“Additionally, through partnerships with organizations like the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN), we contributed to providing clean water and enhanced sanitation to local communities in Lagos state.

“We also partnered with the non-profit organization Evolve, to launch the Girl Child Education and the Environment CSR program. This initiative strives to keep the girl child in school, and educated thereby reducing early marriages and population explosion which impacts the Climate.

“This empowers underprivileged girls through education, providing them with school supplies and personal development tools. By supporting over 3,000 female students from 12 secondary schools nationwide, Polaris Bank fosters individual growth and inspires positive contributions to society.

“Polaris Bank’s dedication to environmental sustainability is a key component of its broader vision to create a positive and lasting impact on society. As part of the commemoration of the 2023 World Environment Day, the Bank has established dedicated plastic collection hubs across its branches in Lagos.

“These hubs serve as convenient drop-off points for responsible disposal of plastic waste for onward recycling, while empowering individuals and communities to actively participate in reducing plastic pollution.”

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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd


Swiftlink to Deepen Financial Inclusion with Payment Services



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Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutallab, Chairman, Swiftlink Global Services Limited, has said the company remained committed to supporting the significant achievements in financial inclusion driven by the initiatives, programmes, and policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Speaking at the recent launch of Swiftlink in Abuja, he said the platform will provide a robust, accessible, affordable, efficient, and adequate financial solution for the under- banked and un-banked in the nooks and crannies of the country.

He said the company seeks to become the major digital payment service provider especially in the North East where such footprints are almost non-existent.

Abdul Mutallab said the platform will engage in collections, payment and value-added services, terminal management, and agency banking services.

He said, “This is a journey to create harmonies for a system where even the everyday traders and farmers in villages can effortlessly access financial services from the convenience of their surroundings in a language that resonates with them and also access disbursements on social intervention programmes of the government and other development partners.”


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Stanbic IBTC Expands Securities Lending to Fixed Income Securities



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Stanbic IBTC Bank Limited, has announced the extension of its securities lending services to include fixed income securities.

This development marks a new milestone in the Nigerian capital market, providing clients with enhanced opportunities for income generation and increased market liquidity.

With this development, institutional clients, both local and international, can now borrow and lend not just equities but also fixed income securities such as Federal Government Bonds and Treasury Bills, offering them greater flexibility and diversified investment options.

Head, Investor Services at Stanbic IBTC Bank Limited, Babatunde Majiyagbe, in a statement said: “Expanding our securities lending services to include fixed income securities provides our clients with broader opportunities to generate income and enhances overall market liquidity.

“This expansion not only broadens the scope of our offerings but also a provides our clients with wider range of assets to optimise their investment strategies and achieve their business objectives, enhancing the overall liquidity and efficiency of the Nigerian capital market. This move underscores our commitment to driving innovation and growth in the Nigerian capital market.”

Majiyagbe added: “Securities lending facilitates continuous trading and liquidity, which are essential for a vibrant market. Our expansion into fixed income securities will attract more investors and foster a more robust and resilient capital market.

“In 2023 alone, we facilitated the lending of assets worth 150 million naira,” Majiyagbe noted. “This reflects the growing trust and demand for our securities lending services and underscores our role in enhancing market liquidity and efficiency.”


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Fidelity Bank’s Consistent Strong Growth Excites Investors



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Fidelity Bank Plc has recorded an average annual profit growth of 64 per cent over the past three years, underlining its resilience as one of Nigeria’s fastest growing companies.

The bank has also seen rapid expansion in customer base and assets as total balance sheet size leapt from N2.1 trillion to N6.2 trillion, the sixth largest in the Nigerian banking industry. The balance sheet was driven by a hefty total deposit of more than N4 trillion, equally the sixth biggest in the industry.

A review of the audited reports and accounts of Fidelity Bank between 2023 and 2020 showed double-digit growths over the years with cumulative average annual growth rate (CAGR) in earnings, profitability and assets significantly above average industry rate and within the best performance among publicly quoted companies.

Average annual profit growth rate of 64 per cent underscores Fidelity Bank’s fundamental strength as an inflation-hedging investment. The operational growth strengthens the overall return outlook of the bank, which share price has delivered an average annual capital gain of more than 100 per cent in five years at the stock market.

Several experts’ reviews have said the bank’s strong historical performance is a major attraction for its ongoing combined rights and public offer.

Fidelity Bank is offering a rights issue of 3.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N9.25 per share. The bank is also simultaneously offering 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to the general investing public at N9.75 per share.

The acceptance and application lists for the rights issue and public offer, which opened on Thursday, June 20, 2024, are scheduled to close on Monday, July 29, 2024. The rights issue has been pre-allotted on the basis of one new ordinary share for every 10 existing ordinary shares held as at the close of business on Friday, January 05, 2024.

Fidelity Bank’s gross earnings rose successively from N206 billion in 2020 to N251 billion, N337 billion and N556 billion in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively, representing average annual growth of 39 per cent. Profit before tax has grown consecutively from N28 billion in 2020 to N124 billion in 2023. Profit after tax jumped from N26.65 billion in 2020 to N99.45 billion in 2023. Earnings per share has also grown from 92 kobo in 2020 to N3.11 in 2023, showing the headroom for increased dividends to shareholders.

The bank’s profitability has been driven by continuous increase in market share, a strong commitment to national economic growth with supports for businesses and high customer trust.

Fidelity Bank’s total assets has grown successively from N2.11 trillion in 2019 to N2.76 trillion in 2020 and consecutively to N3.28 trillion, N3.99 trillion and N6.23 trillion in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively. Shareholders’ funds have also grown successively from N234.03 billion in 2019 to N273.53 billion, N285.29 billion, N314.36 billion and N437.31 billion in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Total deposit has grown by an average annual growth of 33 per cent from N1.7 trillion in 2020 to N4.02 trillion in 2023. A breakdown underlined a strong customer confidence with low-cost deposit accounting for 97.4 per cent of total deposit.

Low-cost deposit has grown at a faster CAGR of 44 per cent over the period, rising from N1.31 trillion in 2020 to N3.91 trillion in 2023. Savings accounts had also doubled over the period from N424 billion in 2020 to N881 billion in 2023, representing average annual growth rate of 28 per cent.

Fidelity Bank has more than 8.0 million customers, with 5.1 million of these customers on digital channels, underlining the strength of the bank’s robust information and communication technology.

As customers increasingly entrust the bank with their funds, Fidelity Bank has also shown equally aggressive commitment to national economic growth with average annual growth of 32 per cent in net loans.

Net loans have grown successively from N1.32 trillion in 2020 to N1.66 trillion, N2.12 trillion and N3.09 trillion in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively. The above average growth in loans shows Fidelity Bank’s famed supports for Nigerian businesses. The bank’s loans portfolio is the fifth largest in the Nigerian banking industry.

A frontline industrialist and a customer of the bank, Dr Kamoru Yusuf, Founder of KAM Holding, said Fidelity Bank has been exceptional in supporting the development of Nigerian companies.

Yusuf, whose group has metamorphosed into a global business conglomerate operating in three countries across two continents, confirmed that KAM Holding has benefited immensely from financial supports from Fidelity Bank.

He said investing in Fidelity Bank will be an investment in the growth of Nigerian economy and companies like KAM Holding, the nation’s largest wholly indigenous metal and steel production company.

He underlined the relationship between increased capital for a business-focused bank like Fidelity Bank and the overall development of the Nigerian economy.

There are strong indications that the bank will sustain its impressive growth record in the years ahead. Already, interim report and account of the bank for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024 showed that the bank started the current business year on stronger footing with three-digit growths across key performance indicators.

The three-month report showed that gross earnings increased by 89.9 per cent to N192.1 billion in first quarter 2024. The bank’s top-line performance continued to be driven by broad-based growths across income lines with interest income rising by 90.7 per cent and non-interest income growing by 84 per cent in first quarter 2024.

Growth in interest income was primarily spurred by a higher yield environment and strong earning assets base, while the increase in non-interest income was led by double-digit growth in account maintenance charges, foreign exchange (forex)-related income, trade, banking services, and remittances, supported by increased customer transactions.

Profit before tax doubled by 120 per cent to N39.5 billion in first quarter 2024 as against N17.9 billion in first quarter 2023. The bank’s performance was driven by expanding market share with total deposit rising by 17 per cent within the three months to N4.7 trillion, compared with N4 trillion recorded at the end of 2023.

The bank also increased its supports for national economic growth with net loans and advances rising by 21 per cent from N3.1 trillion at the end of 2023 to N3.7 trillion by March 2024.

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