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FirstBank, Driving Dollar Remittances, Economic Growth Via IMTOS

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FIRSTBANK UNVEILS A FULLY AUTOMATED SELF SERVICE BRANCH, STRENGTHENS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN NIGERIA

FIRSTBANK, DRIVING DOLLAR REMITTANCES, ECONOMIC GROWTH VIA IMTOS

By Chinwendu Obienyi 

For centuries, there have been heated debates over the sources of economic growth in developing economies and why some countries reflect strong economic growth compared to others.

The hypotheses have often centred around crude oil, agriculture, revenues, private capital, bubbling stock market, stable security, low unemployment rate, high standard of living amongst others. But in recent times, one factor that has been added to this list is diaspora remittances as it is one of the major international financial resources, which sometimes exceed the flows of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Remittances promote economic growth by increasing household income and increasing income creates the opportunity to boost consumer spending, accumulation of assets, promotion of self-employment, and investment in small business.

Data from the World Bank in 2014 indicates that global remittances stood at $430 billion dollars in 2011 and was 0.31 per cent of global GDP in 2009. The impact of remittances on any economy is more profound in developing countries because they receive $307.1 billion of the total N416 billion inward remittances, amounting to about 74 percent.

Remittances also account for about 27 percent of the GDP of developing countries. According to the World Bank, remittances flows to the developing world have reached $414 billion in 2013 (up 6.3 percent over 2012), and are now, behind the foreign direct investment, the second-largest source of external financial flows to developing countries.

Daily Sun investigations reveal that the enormous upward movement in remittances payments may be attributed largely to two factors, namely; immigration between developing and developed countries which increased dramatically in the past 20 years, and decline in transaction costs as technological improvements have allowed for faster, lower-cost mechanisms for the international transfer of payments between individuals.

This means that it is different from other external capital inflows like foreign direct investment, foreign loans, and aids due to its stable nature. Little wonder why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled a new policy in 2020 that granted unfettered access to forex from the diaspora and other money transfer remittances like Western Union and MoneyGram.

The bank also clarified transactions that are eligible under the policy in line with global best practices. The policy allows beneficiaries of diaspora remittances through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) to henceforth receive such inflows in the original foreign currency through the designated bank of their choice. It explained that the new regulation was part of efforts to liberalise, simplify and improve receipt and administration of diaspora remittances into Nigeria.

Under the new policy, recipients of remittances may have the option of receiving such funds in foreign currency cash (US Dollars) or into their ordinary domiciliary account.

“These changes are necessary to deepen the foreign exchange market, provide more liquidity and create more transparency in the administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria,” the apex bank stated.

It explained that the changes would help finance a future stream of investment opportunities for Nigerians in the Diaspora, while also guaranteeing that the recipients of remittances would receive a market-reflective exchange rate for their inflows.

Backed by these words, several commercial banks swung into action to tap into this virgin zone by introducing a variety of offers that yield fruits as more remittances started coming in.

However, the CBN in March 2021, in a bid to encourage more inflows, introduced a new incentive tagged “Naira 4 Dollar Scheme”. In a circular signed by Saleh Jibrin, CBN‘s Director, Trade and Exchange Department, said, the scheme would allow all recipients of diaspora remittances to be paid N5 for everyone dollar received.

This explains why First Bank of Nigeria Limited chose to expand diaspora remittances inflow into the country by increasing its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) targeted at easing accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner.

Before then, it was on record that FirstBank has maintained a long-standing partnership with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The Bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs including Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes, and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflows into the country, thus putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends, and loved ones across the bank’s 750 branches, especially in this Yuletide season.

For potential customers without an existing domiciliary account, can have their dollar account automatically created for their remittances and can also receive inflow directly into their account through Western Union.  In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly-owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, and FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Gbenga Shobo said, “At First Bank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses, and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are across the world.”

Having been at the forefront of pioneering international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago, it is safe to say the bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market.

With its total principal standing at N100 billion and over one million customers to service in 2020, FirstBank is providing prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand, a credible financial partner, thus promoting economic growth and development.

Culled from The Sun 

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Polaris Bank Promotes SMEs, Sponsors The Fashion Souk

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Valentine Season: Polaris Bank Excites Existing, Prospective Customers With Mouthwatering Rewards

…as The Fashion Souk holds December 3 and 4, 2022

Polaris Bank has reaffirmed its commitment to support the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

The Bank in a statement gave this assurance while disclosing plans to sponsor The Fashion Souk 7.0.

The statement further noted that 3 successful entrepreneurs who emerge winners in a business pitch at the event will go home with N1million, N500,000, and N250,000 for the overall winner, first runner-up, and second runner-up respectively.

The two-day event, which is organised in partnership with Nigeria’s foremost event management company, EVENTFUL Limited is scheduled to hold on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th of December 2022, at Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Speaking on behalf of Polaris Bank, the Group Head, Strategic Brand Management, Nduneche Ezurike, said that “Fashion and style enthusiasts can once again look forward to experiencing unparalleled fashion moments from Nigerian entrepreneurs.”

Mr. Ezurike noted that “As a SMEs-friendly Bank, it is always our delight to explore opportunities to grow Nigeria’s Small and Medium Enterprises. Polaris Bank’s lead sponsorship of the 7th edition of The Fashion Souk, underscores our acknowledgment of the SMEs as the catalyst for Nigerian’s economic growth.”

Continuing, he noted that “this year’s Fashion Souk is unique as it provides an opportunity for the yuletide holidaymakers with an unforgettable shopping experience as visitors will behold the creativity of the Nigerian entrepreneurs, especially in the beauty and fashion space.”

Mr. Ezurike further stated that Polaris Bank’s continued partnership with EVENTFUL Limited stimulates the entrepreneurial spirit of many Nigerians, especially the new-age innovators in the key sectors of the national economy. He commended Eventful Ltd for visibly showcasing the enterprise amongst Nigerians.

Commenting on the essence of the SOUK, Founder and Chairman of Eventful and Convener of the Fashion Souk, Yewande Zaccheaus, said: “Eventful Limited has been deliberate in using the platform of The Fashion Souk to create the much-needed road to market for budding fashion entrepreneurs whilst also expanding the target market of the more established designers. “We are proud to once again contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy,” she added.

More than 160 SMEs in Nigeria’s fashion industry, ranging from manufacturers to designers and retailers in clothing, kids’ fashion, textiles, jewelry, accessories, hats, bags, shoes, and lingerie, are billed to showcase their creativity and product lines at the Fashion Souk.

According to December 2021 industry report, the Sub-Saharan African fashion market is worth $31 billion, with Nigeria holding an expanding share of 15 percent.

In line with its SME focus, Polaris Bank has partnered with and supported businesses in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, including health, education, manufacturing, agriculture, export, and others. The Bank has advanced credits and indeed, provided close to N70billions to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) from January 2021 till date.

Following the Bank’s recent strides in supporting SMEs and MSMEs, the prestigious BusinessDay’s Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards named Polaris Bank the MSME Bank of the Year 2022.

Polaris Bank, adjudged Digital Bank of the Year 2021 and 2022, is a future-determining Bank committed to delivering industry-defining products for individuals and businesses

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Union Bank Unveils Brand New Sonic Identity – The Sound Of Union

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Union Bank Unveils Brand New Sonic Identity – The Sound Of Union

By Moninuola Sulaiman

Union Bank of Nigeria launched a sonic identity tagged ‘The Sound of Union. At 105 years, the Bank is now leveraging the universality of music to engage with new and existing audiences through this unique sound identity.

The Bank tapped prolific and award-winning music producer Tee-Y Mix, to create a timeless sound and interpret it across multiple genres for today’s and tomorrow’s generations.

Speaking about The Sound of Union during the official Twitter Space unveiling, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Chief Brand and Marketing Officer, at Union Bank, spoke about why the Bank is unveiling the sound identity at this time. She said: “Over the past couple of years, Union Bank has gone through significant evolution, and as a team, we are constantly thinking of ways to connect with our audiences – new and existing.

At 105 years, we are entering a new era of identity and the Sound of Union represents a milestone for us. We have produced a distinct tone and instrumental melody spanning five music genres drawing on our local culture to connect with audiences across different geographical zones. We believe we are the first Nigerian bank to create an identity using sound, and not just a one-off jingle or payoff. This launch underscores our commitment to providing the simplest and smartest solutions while offering the best experience for our customers.”

Union Bank Unveils Brand New Sonic Identity – The Sound Of Union

To launch the sound identity, Union Bank has partnered with Boomplay to release an EP that will include the melody’s five genres, making the EP available exclusively to Boomplay subscribers for a period before it is available on other platforms.

Also commenting during the Twitter Space, about the audio distribution partnership between Union Bank and Boomplay, James Afuwape, Marketing Manager at Boomplay said: “Boomplay is the largest and fastest-growing streaming platform in Africa, and we are passionate about building and sustaining the music culture and consumption in Africa. We do this by leveraging partnerships and collaborations and this one with Union Bank was one we couldn’t pass up on. The Sound of Union is a unique project, and we are honoured to use our platform to help amplify the sound.”

The Sound of Union EP is now streaming exclusively on Boomplay. Click here to listen

Know More About Union Bank Plc: Established in 1917 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971 now Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. is a household name and one of Nigeria’s long-standing and most respected financial institutions. The Bank is a trusted and recognizable brand, with an extensive network of over 300 branches across Nigeria.

The Bank currently offers a variety of banking services to both individual and corporate clients including current, savings, and deposit account services, funds transfer, foreign currency domiciliation, loans, overdrafts, equipment leasing, and trade finance. The Bank also offers its customers convenient electronic banking channels and products including Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Debit Cards, ATMs, and POS Systems.

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Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI® – New Order Growth Hits Six-Month High In November

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By Moninuola Sulaiman

…Faster rises in output and new orders

…Inflationary pressures remain elevated

…Business confidence at a survey-record low

By Moninuola Sulaiman

Business conditions continued to improve markedly in the Nigerian private sector during November amid improving demand and higher customer numbers.

In turn, firms expanded their purchasing activity and employment. That said, business confidence dropped to the lowest since the survey began in January 2014. Meanwhile, inflationary pressures remained elevated, often reflecting currency weakness.

The headline figure derived from the survey is the Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI®). Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions in the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration.

The headline PMI rose to 54.3 in November from 53.6 in October, pointing to a solid monthly improvement in business conditions in the Nigerian private sector. The health of the private sector has now strengthened in 29 successive months, with the latest improvement the most pronounced since April.

New business increased at the fastest pace in six months amid reports of stronger demand and higher customer numbers. Companies responded to rising demand by increasing their business activity accordingly. Output has now risen in each of the past five months.

Marked increases in activity were seen across each of the four broad sectors covered by the survey. New order growth also encouraged companies to expand their employment and purchasing activity midway through the final quarter of the year.

Staffing levels increased for the twenty-second month running and at the fastest pace since August. Meanwhile, the rate of growth in purchasing activity was the steepest in four months. Similarly, inventories also expanded at a marked pace.

Purchase costs rose at a sharper pace as the weakness of the Nigerian naira against the US dollar exacerbated rising raw material prices. Staff costs were also up, linked both to higher staffing levels and efforts to motivate workers by increasing wages.

The passing on of higher input costs to customers meant that output prices also increased markedly, with the rate of inflation quickening to a three-month high.

Despite the generally positive picture for output and new orders in November, business confidence continued to decline. Optimism dropped for the fourth successive month and was the lowest since the survey began in January 2014. Those firms that were confident in the year-ahead outlook for output mentioned business expansion plans and hopes for a further strengthening of demand.

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