Monday , 28 July 2014
News Flash

Category Archives: Business

Access Bank Suffers Mass Protest Withdrawal, Pays Over N637Million For Fraudulent Charges

herbert wigwe

Ill wind seems to be blowing in Access Bank as Customers groan in pains over illegal deduction …. and many at branches we visited are leaving accounts dormant.

Weeks back CBN’s axe came with N353million fine for violating regulatory rules. Now an appeal court in Enugu has ordered over  N636million be paid F.G Onyenwe Motors Nig. Ltd for excessive, fraudulent and wrongful charges.

UBA Hailed By Experts Over CBN Cashlite Policy ….. Her 5 Notable Products

Cash-Lite-goes-Nationwide

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced the take off of the Cash-Lite policy nationwide starting July 1st, 2014.

Under this new policy, cash withdrawals and deposits above N500, 000 will attract a 3% fee for individuals while cash withdrawals and deposits above N3, 000,000 on any day will attract a 5% fee for corporate bodies.

However, these fees are only applicable in the following states; Abia, Anambra, Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Rivers, and Abuja for now. Cash deposits made in any other state not mentioned above will not attract the required fees until July 1st, 2015.

In a bid to ensure that UBA customers are not subjected to these fees, the bank provides several platforms to enable customers withdraw, deposit and transfer funds conveniently.

Some of the platforms customers can take advantage of include;

Point of Sales (POS) machines;

POS are great for reducing cash collections at selling points. Traders with a high volume cash business can deploy UBA’s highly efficient POS machines to reduce cash collections from their customers.

Cards

UBA has an array of cards that helps customers eliminate cash. UBA issues Mastercards, Visa and Verve cards which can all be used for payments across both traditional platforms like ATMs and POS machines and also online. UBA payment cards are also accepted by millions of merchants in over 200 countries.

This means that UBA card holders do not need to take cash with them where ever they are going in the world as long as they have a UBA card.

UBA also offers prepaid cards, which are perfect for people that do not have bank accounts or customers that may not want their card transactions linked to their bank accounts. UBA prepaid cards are ideal for online shopping, especially for those who are worried about online security.

U-Mobile

This is UBA’s award winning mobile banking application. It is effectively a bank on a phone. With U-Mobile, UBA customers do not really need to visit the bank unless it is absolutely necessary.

It is very easy to install a U-Mobile on a phone and it is compatible with many smart phones. Customers can initiate inter-bank and intra-bank transfers once they have a U-Mobile installed on their phones, which significantly reduces the amount cash they carry around.

Sellers can even ask their customers to transfer payments for goods and services through U-Mobile and they can immediately receive an alert for any such transaction and also check the balance on their phones to confirm the transaction has been done.

U-Direct

This is a bank on a tablet or personal computer. UBA’s U-Direct gives the user a platform to also carry out all your basic and advanced banking transactions right on their personal computers or tablets.

Payments for bills or purchases, inter-bank and intra-bank transfers, checking of account balances, tracking of transactions among others, can all be done on a personal computer through the highly secured U-Direct internet banking platform. With U-Direct, there is no need carrying cash anywhere or receiving cash.

U-Direct also has a version for corporates, which enables them manage their cash and payment transactions right on their personal computers or tablets. U-Direct Corporate has eight different modules dealing with different aspects of a company’s operations.

ATMs

This is a traditional platform that many are already used to. Sadly, many people use it only for withdrawals and nothing else. However, UBA ATMs are enabled to offer you more. You can actually pay for most of your bills on a UBA ATM. You can also do inter-bank and intra-bank transfers easily on the ATM, thus eliminating the need to carrying around cash.

All the listed platforms are highly secured by UBA’s world class e-banking security platform. This ensures that customers can carry out cashless transactions without worrying about the security of their money or funds.

Panic As Boko Haram Hits Lagos, Responsible For Apapa Explosion

Raji-Fashola

LEADER of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has claimed responsibility for two explosions on June 25 at a fuel depot in Apapa, Lagos.

Shekau, according to Agence-France Presse reports, made the claim in a new video sent to the French news agency.

Also, the Lagos State Council of Arewa Chiefs on Saturday confirmed that the June 25 blasts at Apapa were indeed bomb attacks masterminded by Boko Haram.

The Sarkin Hausawa of Lagos State and chairman of the council, Alhaji Sani Kabir, said the police had confirmed that the Apapa explosions were actually bomb blasts and that 7,000 northerners had been arrested by the police in Lagos over the incident.

The Shekau video has since been posted on the internet.

In the video, Shekau, standing next to at least 10 gunmen in front of two Armoured Personnel Carriers and two pick-up trucks, said, “A bomb went off in Lagos. I ordered (the bomber) who went and detonated it.”

Two blasts, minutes apart, had rocked Apapa, where Nigeria’s main sea ports are located, on the night of June 25.

While the Lagos State Government and the police had said the incident was a mere explosion caused by a gas cylinder at a nearby depot, there had been speculations that a female suicide bomber had detonated an Improvised Explosive Device.

“The two blasts last month in Apapa were almost certainly caused by bombs,” Reuters quoted three senior security sources and the manager of a major container company to have said.

Reacting to the Shekau claim, the Force Police Public Relations Officer, ACP Frank Mba, said on Sunday that the police had been studying the video and that they would wait for the conclusion of investigation into the video before making any pronouncement.

Mba said, “We are studying the video. Our approach is to first conduct a thorough IT and forensic analysis of the video in order to establish its authenticity or otherwise.

“It is only after the investigation that we will be in a position to make an evidence-based stand.”

When the blasts occurred, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, had said they were an accident caused by a gas canister, but security sources had told Reuters that it was a cover-up meant to avoid panic in Lagos.

Apparently reacting to the police claim then, Shekau, in his latest video, said, “You said it was a fire incident. Well, if you hide it from people you can’t hide it from Allah.”

“The target of the Lagos bombs was a fuel depot. Had it gone up, it could have caused a massive chain explosion and disrupted Nigeria’s mostly imported fuel supply,” Reuters reports said on Sunday.

Attempts to get the reaction of the Lagos State Government on Sunday failed as the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba, did not pick calls to his mobile phone. He also did not respond to text messages sent to his phone on the matter.

Shekau is in the habit of releasing video clips to claim responsibility for attacks by Boko Haram. He has also been known to claim attacks suspected to be the work of other criminal gangs.

A major flaw in the new video however is that Shekau wrongly identified the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole as the governor of Lagos State.

The leader of the Hausa community in Lagos at the briefing on Saturday warned all Hausa people in the state to be law-abiding and not to do anything that would strain the relationship the Hausas and Yoruba had enjoyed in the state.

Kabir said the council had met with several monarchs and local government authorities on the issue.

He urged his members to stop sleeping in mosques, abandoned buildings and under the bridges as the security situation in the country had become volatile. Kabir said any of his members accused of terrorism by security agencies would be immediately handed over to the police and would not be shielded.

He also advised all northerners in the state to register with the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency so that the government could have their data.

When asked if it was only northerners that were involved in terrorism in Lagos, he said “Just like you rightly observed two weeks ago, security agencies, particularly the police, under the leadership of the CP, invited us for an interactive session. Actually, we raised the same question to the police why they are only inviting people from the North.

“Prior to the meeting, there had been indiscriminate arrest of northerners. At the last count it was more than 7,000. It was as a result of the incessant arrest that we leaders of Arewa demanded an explanation for the arrest of northerners.

“Security agencies got information from within the community that we have influx of people coming from the North. But what is important is that after the meeting with security agencies, in order to prevent further stigmatisation of the Northern community, we met with council of obas, baales, LCDA and we let them know it was not a northern problem alone but a general problem.”

He urged the Federal Government to negotiate with terrorists as military approach alone could not solve terrorism.

About a year ago, a suspected Boko Haram member from Chad was arrested by security agencies in Lagos.

During a military raid on March 21, 2013, soldiers ransacked a building on Aromire Street in Ijora, where one of the arrested persons, Ibrahim Musa, was occupying five rooms.

A bomb kept in a cooler and hidden inside the ceiling of one of the rooms in Musa’s apartment was recovered by the soldiers.

Other items found were AK-47 rifles, cartridges and daggers.

UBA Excites Salary Account Owners With IOU Product Tagged “U-Advanced Card”

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MDUNITED Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), has announced the introduction of a new product “U-Advance Card,” a payment card that allows workers who operate a salary account with the to get a credit advance ahead of pay-day.

“The U-Advance Card is an internationally accepted card payment solution designed to address the salary account holders’ need for easy and quick access to extra funds during their monthly salary cycles, in form of a revolving, secured credit facility” said Dr Adeyinka Adedeji, Divisional Head, e-Banking, UBA.

The U-Advance product will complement UBA’s existing suite of retail credit products in the form of a Naira based, short term, secured financing targeted at salary account holders and will provide frictionless access to much needed credit with the cardholder’s monthly salary as security.

Though available only to salary account holders with the bank, non-UBA customers can pre-qualify by opening a salary account with UBA. The scheme is designed for staff of reputable organisations, affluent and high networth individuals who receive regular monthly salary.

Accepted locally and internationally, U-advance cardholders can make cash withdrawals at over 1.9 million ATMs worldwide and POS or web purchases at more than 30 million retail outlets around the world. For safety, the U-advance card comes with the EMV certified chip & PIN technology plus the 3D Secure feature for enhanced protection during web transactions.

“The U-Advance Credit card has been introduced in line with UBA’s strategy of growing its retail business across Africa and strengthens its position as Africa’s financial solution power house. Access to this credit card is relatively easy as the main requirement is a valid salary account which has been operated for a period of no less than three months for existing customers and six months for new customers.”  Adedeji explained.

Diamond Bank MD Gets 2013 Zik Leadership Award

DSC_0034

Group Managing Director and CEO of Diamond Bank Plc, Dr. Alex Otti, has received the 2013 Zik Prize in the Professional Leadership category, at an award ceremony organized by the Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC) recently.

Delivering the welcome address, Prof. Jubril Aminu, Chairman, Advisory Board of PPRAC, said that late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who the award was instituted in his memory, needed no introduction as his nationalist legacies loom large in the national psyche. Continuing in his strides, Aminu said the Zik Prize has become a national institution to celebrate notable Nigerians for their contributions to the society.

Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth and Chairman of the occasion, extolled the virtues of Azikiwe, noting that he has become an institution whose legacies would transcend generations.

“Dr. Azikiwe is no doubt a legend that has contributed a lot to the development of the country and we are here to celebrate distinguished Nigerians who have proven themselves in public service and professional leadership like the late Zik. We hope that those present here today will draw inspiration from the late African giant,” he added.

Responding on the award, Dr. Otti said, “The shoes of the late Dr. Azikiwe cannot be filled, so we are only trying our best to follow in his footsteps. Like Chief Anyaoku noted, the current situation whereby we spend about 80% of our national revenue on recurrent expenditure leaving very little for capital investment is unsustainable. This is why we continue to face problems of youth restiveness, among others.

“At Diamond Bank, we are trying in our own ways to reduce the burden of youth unemployment. We have instituted the Building Entrepreneurs Today (BET) project, where we try to help young people with great ideas but no money to execute them. We reach out to these people from all over the country and select fifty with the best ideas for training at the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University. After the first round of training, the best fifteen go through a second phase of business training with top consultants. The final five participants are given free grants of three million naira each to pursue their ideas. So far, Diamond Bank has invested over one hundred billion naira into the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector.”

Executive Secretary of PPRAC, Prince Emeka Obasi, described Dr. Otti as an intellectual banker and quintessential leader who, “after graduating with a first class degree and as the best graduating student in his set at the university, came into banking and has been making strides for others to follow.”

Other awardees include Senator Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross Rivers State; Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo, Governor of Gombe State; and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Governor of Edo State.

Others are: Dr Bamanga Tukur, Chairman, Nigerian Railway Corporation; Aare Afe Babalola, Founder, Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD); Dr ABC Orjiako, CEO, SEPCOL; Dr. Ernest Obiejesi, GMD of  Nestoil Plc and Ms. Evelyn Oputu, former MD/CEO, Bank of Industry.

UBA MD, Oduoza, Speaks Frankly About CBN Gov, Fraud In Banking, etc..

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MD

He rarely grant interview, so this is a priced possession, it’s a readers’ delight. Aside his mind on new CBN Gov, and about Online banking, the Group Managing Director of UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, 40 per cent of transactions in the bank are now done online and 60 per cent done offline, unlike in the past, when about 17 per cent were done online and 83 per cent done offline. Oduoza in this interview, explains that electronic payment generates revenue for the bank and reduces operating costs.

But this is not without its challenge as he states that online fraud is a very big challenge for the industry as a whole. He speaks on the joint efforts of the banks in tackling the problem and other burning issues in the banking sector.

Excerpts:

Retail banking

We are very strong in retail banking. UBA has over seven million customers. We have the branch network and scale. We are able to reach quite a lot of customers and we also have the channels. UBA has a very substantial number of ATMs in the market and by the time the pronouncement on the cash reserve ration was made by CBN, we had already diversified our deposit base. And today, we have a very strong mix. In fact, the public sector constitutes just at paltry 10 percent of our total deposits. One of the things we did under project Alpha, is to drive the non-public sector deposits and that is basically where our focus has been. If you look at our deposit mix, you will find out that a substantial part is coming from the retail and corporate with a very small position coming from public sector.

We will want to provide more consumer loans but there are existing challenges in Nigeria at this time. One is identity verification. It is a very big problem. The identity issue is being addressed with the biometrics that we are rolling out in the banking industry as a whole.

The credit bureaus will also help consumer lending in Nigeria. They are still populating their database and we believe once this is done, it is going to improve the situation. UBA has also come up with some products that will drive financial inclusion. For example, we have a modified freedom savings account that requires little or no documentation to open. We also have the pre-paid debit cards that require you not to have any account to own and use. We also have U-mobile, which is the mobile banking platform. So these are some of the new products that we have launched in the market and they are gaining a lot of momentum.

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regulation

Year 2013 was very challenging for financial service institutions in Nigeria with the resultant effects of regulatory induced reduction in income lines and increase in funding costs. Commission on Transactions (COT), which used to be at N5 per million maximum, but reduced to a maximum of N3 per million. As you know, COT is a major component of the income lines of banks. There was also the removal of the N100 that was charged by banks for ATM usage. In addition, there was an increase in savings interest rates leading to costs for banks because significant portion of our deposits, comes from savings deposits, especially for banks like us that have been around for a very long time.

Whilst these happened in the second quarter of last year, another major one was thrown in by the third quarter. The cash reserve ratio for public sector deposits, was increased from 12 percent to 50 percent, meaning that for every N100 that you generate from public sector you must sterilise 50 percent of the amount or keep N50 at zero yield. How did we deal with this? This was where our African operations came into play. All these initiatives basically affected the Nigerian market but did not apply to the various African countries where we operate. UBA operates in 18 African countries outside Nigeria, so we intensified our activities in these countries. The income losses that we suffered in Nigeria, we tried to make from our 18 African countries where our subsidiaries operate.

So, the first strategy was to increase revenue from the various African countries. Luckily for us, we had finished the first phase of our African expansion by last year and had entered the consolidation phase. Therefore, we deployed more resources; we made some changes at senior levels in the various African countries. We intensified activities in the area of remittances and intra-African trade and the non-interest income arising from these activities were very substantial though not enough to completely cushion the impact of all these changes in general.

The second thing we did was to start ramping up on our electronic banking services. Electronic payment generates revenue for us arising from the card usage (point of sale usage) and other income associated with e-banking. Card usage also reduced our costs, as customers migrate their transaction from the banking halls to the electronic space. Serving customers through electronic banking, is just a fraction of what it actually cost you to serve the customers through the banking hall. So, increased electronic banking did two things for us, significant reduction in our operating cost and an increase in the income level.

Our third strategy was a shift from investment in government securities, in treasury bills, and related instruments, into quality asset creation. Our risk asset portfolio last year increased significantly. We are focusing basically on emerging sectors, like telecommunications, power sector oil and gas upstream, agriculture, power thereby optimizing the balance sheet of the group. UBA is probably the biggest lender in the power sector under the new power sector reform and we are going to do more this year. Agriculture remains a very big area for UBA. Today, it actually contributes about 7 percent of our lending portfolio compared to the industry average of 4 percent. These are some of the strategies we have adopted to cushion the impact of the crunch that we experienced last year.

Operation outside Nigeria

It is a different ball game. It is quite profitable but I will not say that it is more profitable than in Nigeria. Nigeria is still a very dominant market in sub-Saharan Africa. The Nigerian market is very huge, when compared to other markets in sub-Sahara Africa. Our Nigerian operation commands about 75 percent of our group revenue with other Africa countries, contributing about 25 percent. But going into the future other African countries will continue to increase the proportion of their contributions and the ultimate objective is to achieve a 50-50 between Nigeria and the various African countries in the medium term.

Power sector reforms

For us, the power reform is going to be a revolution just as we have experienced in the telecommunications industry. The overall impact on the economy is going to be very significant with a multiplier effect on the economy. It is going to impact hugely on the operations of SME’s. The country is going to reap the full benefits of the privatization of power sector across all sectors of the economy for us, as a bank, our support to the power sector is long term financing that will provide a steady cash flow and income for the period of that funding. Some of those funding are for seven years, others are for five years or there about.

So,  over that period the bank will continue to enjoy that revenue stream. In summary, we believe the power sector reforms, just like that of the telecoms sector will have significant and far-reaching positive impact on the economy and the livelihood of Nigerians.

Secondly, we believe in the power reforms because of the derived value that will come from banking and the value chain of the power sector. The balance sheet of the bank is very robust. UBA still remains one of the banks that has significant room to create risk assets. In 2014, we look forward to more quality asset creation in the power sector. The non-performing loans for UBA remains one of the lowest in Nigeria, it was under one percent and for the group as a whole  it was within 3 percent and this is within the Central Bank limit of 5 percent NPLs. If you recall, sometime in 2011, we cleaned up our balance sheet, realigned our position and this has resulted in one of the cleanest bank balance sheets.

Safeguarding online banking

Online banking is actually the new direction for banking. Today we have seen 40 percent of transactions done online and 60 percent done offline. Some years back, we had just about 17 percent online and 83 percent done offline. Online fraud is a very big concern for the industry as a whole. It is unlike cheque fraud for instance which may involve customer confirmation and therefore can easily be stopped at the stage of confirmation. For online fraud, once the fraudster presses a key and the transaction is completed, the money is gone.

The industry is tackling the challenge jointly. As an industry, we have decided that ATMs in Nigeria, must have anti-scheming devices, so that it becomes difficult for fraudsters to steal customers’ information from ATMs. That was one of the decisions we took at the Bankers Committee Retreat which took place in Calabar in December last year. Every bank must have anti-scheming device all the ATMs. We recently launched a Security Operations Center, the first of its kind in Nigeria to monitor every single transaction against potential fraud. We partnered one of the best and security companies in the world. It is a battle in which we have to remain ahead of the fraudsters because they come up with various attempts every day. The bank’s robust IT infrastructure and world class security system is being constantly upgraded to ensure that we continue to effectively tackle e-banking fraud.

Stock performance

For UBA, you are right that the price to book is low compared with other banks and believe the situation is going to change in 2014 when we cleaned up our books. We declared to loss which was very strange in this environment, we had to meet all stakeholders at the stock market; stockbrokers, financial journalists and other players in the market and addressed them on why we decided to clean up our books. What we did was new in this environment but very common amongst major global financial institutions. Given that we operate in major financial centers with regulators in 21 jurisdictions, it was expedient for us to do the right thing and it is in line with global best practice.

As you know we operate in London where we are regulated by the Financial Regulatory Services Authority (FSA) and New York where we are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of Currencies (OCC). In addition to that, we operate in 19 other jurisdictions in Africa, which makes us not a typical Nigerian bank. So, we wrote and sold others to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) while taking the corresponding haircut.

Let me emphasize that when we presented this plan, people asked us, why do you want to do this? They told us we could write it off over a period of time but we said no. We insisted, we had to do that. We believed that once we clean our books, we would now start the path of renewal. Stakeholders on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) were initially alarmed. So, some people started selling their shares and UBA shares dropped to a low of N1.65. But some analysts saw the wisdom in our decision and they started buying gradually and the share price of UBA started to move back upwards. In the subsequent first quarter of 2012, UBA made a profit, second quarter, we made a profit and everybody started picking their shares. In 2012, UBA had the most appreciation in its share price in the stock market among financial services institutions and we closed 2012 with a return to profit.

In 2013, the share price sustained its upward momentum and by December of last year, UBA had also seen a significant appreciation in the stock market. I believe the same thing will repeat itself in 2014. I also believe analysts will see UBA from a new perspective in 2014. Analysts will recognize that the bank’s growth has been a sustained growth. If anything at all, the balance sheet is very strong and robust. So, I believe that an upward review of the bank’s rating is going to take place. Our current pricing is based on people’s memory not on our performance and prospects.

Investors also lost a lot of money during the financial crisis, so a lot of them have not come back to the market and may not come back to the market for some time. There is definitely going to be an upward movement in our share price because our current performance shows that we are a bank to invest in.

Cost-to-income ration

It is true that the cost-to income ratio is high and I will explain why it is so. The amount of money we have invested in Africa, if we were to bring that capital, into treasury bills, our performance today is going to be totally different. However, it is an investment for the future which is not being priced into our share price yet because investors are not looking long term.

Fourteen of our African subsidiaries are making profit out of 18, apart from Nigeria. When all of them start operating at full steam, starting from this year, the contribution will be totally different altogether.

At the same time, we are writing off or amortizing some of the pre-operating expenses in Africa, therefore, we are bound to experience the current seemingly high cost-to-income ration. We have recognized the expenses but the income will come in future. Already the cost-to-income ration has been coming down. Don’t forget that in 2012 we closed with cost-to-income ration of 78 percent and in the second quarter, it had come down to 62 percent and it has continued to reduce. Our ultimate objective is to come to the 50s and this will happen very soon given the revenue logs costs in the capital investments for the African countries.

Achievements

We have turned around the bank from loss position, post financial crisis and have extended the profit-ability to the newly established African subsidiaries. The African countries that were just being set up have started scaling up gradually from loss positions to the profit level that we have today, with 14 of them making profit out of the 18 African subsidiaries.  Both the deposit liabilities and the loan books have shown significant growth in the past three years. UBA came first and got an award from CBN as the most agric-friendly bank and the bank has been winning numerous high profile awards from Euromoney.

The share price has appreciated so much in the last two years resulting in major value creation for shareholders. The future of the bank is very bright. We have laid a very good foundation. In fact, there is no big transaction you can talk about today that UBA does not participate in. Any of the major tickets. UBA is there. So the brand remains very strong, we have also witnessed seamless board (two board chairmen and other Non-Executive Board) transitions showing the robustness of the governance structure.

Agriculture

We have been funding agriculture and we will continue to support other areas of the economyand that is why UBA become the biggest lender in the power sector. We are playing very big in the power sector. We are playing very big in infrastructure, and we are playing quite big in the upstream of the oil and gas industry. And these are the new areas growing the economy. Agriculture remains very important to us and most of the major names in the sector either in production or processing are in the books of UBA. I also mentioned that seven percent of our portfolio is in agriculture as against industry’s average of lower than four percent. We have the highest lending, for any bank in Nigeria, as a percentage of total loans to the agriculture sector. We remain very strong on the entire value chain. Whether they are processing starch or processing cotton or cocoa. Even to the ones that are exporting and the ones that are providing storage. UBA is always present.

New Central Bank Governor

I do not think we are going to see a reversal in the key policies. These policies are working very well. For example Nigeria is the only country among the emerging markets that have not suffered major currency depreciation for a long time. The inflation rate has been brought down to a single digit. I don’t see any easing of the monetary policy rate. The cash less policy has been very good and I believe it is something that should be embraced by all.

This year, the cashless policy is going to be rolled out in all the states of the nation. I also see some stability in interest rates. One of the reasons why I believe there won’t be any easing in the monetary policy is because we are going into the pre-election year. The pre-election spending is inflationary in nature and you will not ease the monetary policy when there is to much liquidity in the system. If anything at all, I believe we might experience some further fighting of the monetary policy. It is possible that the cash reserve ration is going to go up further, not only for the public sector deposit but for also the private sector deposits and I believe that the CBN will continue to use its reserves to defend the local currency.

Present interest rate regime

It is true we are all feeling the pain of high interest rates. I also want lower rate. But when you look at it, you find that banks are an integral part of the economy. One of the reasons interest rate is very high in Nigeria is because of infrastructure challenges. Deposit rate may not be as high as you will think but the additional costs that go towards the generation of that deposit is very high.

As we speak here in this office, UBA has about four generators that run simultaneously. Each of them is 1,500 KVA. So this office alone is generating six megawatts. It’s a mini power station. Diesel consumption alone is extremely high. Each of the branches that UBA has is using two generators. One is the main generator while the other is for standby. We have cards all over the world, we cannot afford to go down for one second and therefore build multiple redundancy. People are using our cards in Japan, South Africa and America.

Therefore that infrastructure has to be there. So all these are costs that if you have to remain in business you must bear. This is one of the reasons interest rate is very high. The cost of taking care of the cash is also very high. If you go to the banking hall, you will see how the note counting machines break down every day. So you either replace them or get the people who repair them, you have tellers lined up.

This is why we are pushing for cash less banking. As cash less banking takes firm root, you will find out that the cost of handling cash will go down significantly impacting positively on interest rates.

If you compare the financial of the Nigerian banks with those of other emerging and frontier markets, the cost to income ration of the Nigerian banks are in the 60s. Some extreme ones are in the 70s. All the other emerging markets like Turkey, Malaysia, India etc, their cost to income rations are in the 40s. So if we are able to deal with all these cost elements, I can tell you that the interest rate can come down to single digit.

•Culled from Lion King Magazine, an in-house publication of UBA Plc

Super Eagle Will Defeat France Today – Guru Maharaji Predicts

super eagle

Sat Guru Maharaj Ji, the Head of the “One Love Family” Ibadan, on Sunday predicted victory for the Super Eagles ahead of their clash with the Blues of France in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

His prediction is contained in a statement signed by Wole Oladapo, the Minister for Media Links of the One Love Family.

The Super Eagles are billed to take on their French counterparts on Monday in the Round of 16 of at the Mundial.

He reminded the Nigerian Football Association, Super Eagles Supporters Club, players and coaching crew to be obedient to his earlier divine injunctions, such as avoiding the colour Blue and abstaining from sex, smoking and drinking.

“This is, however, the time for the whole world to know and realise the fact that Nigeria is where the light of the world resides. Victory is for Africa,’’ the statement said.

 It said predicted a win during the Nigeria versus Bosnia match, an encounter that largely contributed to Nigeria’s qualification for the Round of 16.

UBA Managers’ Robbery Tricks Exposed, Nabbed For 265M Fraud

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MD

Incessant Bank Fraud by Officers and Managers in UBA assumed another dimension last week, as new swindling trick was exposed for customers to be vigilant and beware.

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has given a vivid account of how its erstwhile Oke-Arin II branch manager of the bank, Prince Okay Aroh, and his alleged accomplice Abimbola Oluwaniyi, helped themselves to funds from accounts of two customers: Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka and Petroz Nigeria Limited.

The bank, through a petition addressed to the Head of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleged that Prince Aroh alongside Abimbola Oluwaniyi, the Relationship Manager of the branch, fraudulently converted a total of N265 million.

Giving details of how the alleged fraud was perpetuated, the bank stated that a report was received by Group Audit of the bank on a suspicious transaction involving the duo. According to the bank, Mr. Chukwuemeka had alleged he had fixed deposit investments totaling N265 million with the bank.

The bank said after detailed investigation a number of revelations came to light. One of them was that Mr. Chukwuemeka maintains three accounts with Oke Arin branch of the bank, namely Emmanuel Chukwuemeka, Chalton Nigeria Limited and Chanko Investment Nigeria Limited.

The bank further pointed out that the customer presented deposit certificates for four fixed tie deposits totalling N265 million which were found not to exist in the system. The bank maintained that upon the customer’s insistence that he had deposits with the bank, his accounts were reviewed and it was discovered that he had two fixed time deposits with the bank totaling N120 million (N60 million each booked on his account on 8th and 11th 2010in favour of Chalton Nigeria Limited and Emmanuel Chukwuemeka respectively).

“It was however discovered that upon maturity of one of the fixed time deposit on 8th December, 2010; its proceeds were used to liquidate two cash collaterised facilities belonging to Eeribe Ikenna and Evacyil Nigeria Enterprises, while the second fixed tie deposit was partly used to liquidate the cash collaterised facility of Petroz Nigeria Limited”, the petition read in part.

While noting that Mr. Chukwuemeka denied the consent to use his investment as collaterals for the facilities for these customers, the bank told the anti-graft agency that the operator of Evacyil Nigeria Limited, one of the beneficiaries of the alleged fraud is faceless.

“The petitioner now seeks the assistance of your good office to institute an investigation into the above fraudulent activities and ensure that the culprits face the maximum punishment provided under Nigerian laws for the offences, as well as prevent the culprits from enjoying the fruit of their fraud at the expense of the petitioner, its depositors and investors”, the petition read in part.

Prince Aroh and Mrs Oluwaniyi have since been slammed with a six count charge of conspiracy, stealing by fraudulent conversion, forgery and uttering before a Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Another Robbery By Staff In First Bank Plc, $368,203 Stolen, Customers In Panic Withdrawal

Bisi-Onasanya

Your money is not as safe as it use to be in First Bank Plc, some of their staff have become armed robber within.

A former banker with one of the old generation banks, Oreoluwa Adesakin, was on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, arraigned before Justice O.M Olagunju of an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, on a 15-count charge bordering on stealing by fraudulent conversion, contrary to Section 390 (8) (C) Cap 38 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

 The accused person who was in charge of Western Union Money Transfer at First Bank Nigeria Plc, allegedly used her office  to convert a total sum of $ 368,203.00(Three Hundred and Sixty Eight Thousand, Two Hundred and Three United States Dollars)  for her personal use. She allegedly perpetrated the fraud, by using her position and office to raise vouchers for payment of money in excess of what was meant for customers of the bank.  Investigations showed that, Adesakin used the money to acquire landed properties in Ibadan and to float a company: Empathy Trade and Investment Company, Limited.
One of the charge reads:  “that you Oreoluwa Adesakin on or about the 23rd day of October, 2012 at the Bola Ige Market Branch of First Bank, Ibadan, within the Ibadan Judicial Division, whilst being a Cashier at Bola Ige Market Branch of First Bank Plc in charge of Western Union Money Transfer Operations,  fraudulently converted the sum of $4,500 (Four Thousand Five Hundred Dollars) property of First Bank Plc via Western Union Money Transfer payment, Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) 733437 to your personal use”

When the charges were read to the accused person, she pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In view of her plea, prosecuting counsel, Zainab Ettu asked for a trial date and prayed the court to remand the accused person in prison custody. But the defense counsel, Samuel Adeniji, informed the court that he had placed an application for bail before it and prayed that the accused person be remanded in EFCC custody. This prayer was opposed by Ettu, who reminded the court that the EFCC did not have an office in Ibadan. “Besides, the proper place of custody after arraignment is the prison”, she said.

 

Justice O.M Olagunju after listening to both counsel, fixed July 1, 2014 for the hearing of bail application and ordered that the accused person be remanded in Agodi prison, Ibadan

Experts Hail UBA’s PayPal Collaboration On E-Payment

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MD

United Bank for Africa Plc says its debit and prepaid cards are now accepted on the PayPal gateway.

PayPal, one of the world’s largest online payment platforms, had last week added Nigeria to its global operations.

PayPal allows individuals and businesses to make easy international payments. It has been used over the years to pay for transactions on online platforms like Amazon, eBay, and other top e-commerce websites. PayPal boasts of more than 100 million users worldwide.

UBA, in a statement, said the latest partnership between the bank and PayPal would allow its cardholders to join PayPal users.

According to the lender, the development will make shopping online from popular international retailers more flexible.

The statement quoted the Head, e-Banking, UBA, Dr. Yinka Adedeji, as explaining, ”All customers need to do is to visit PayPal’s website, select country of location, fill the application form that will be displayed and submit the form online. Once this is done, the registered card can be used to make payments on all websites with the PayPal logo.

He added, “UBA cards on Paypal offer unrivalled convenience for our cardholders to shop online.”

Adedeji assured that the bank’s cards were trusted, reliable and protected with advanced technology for online payments.

In addition, he said UBA MasterCard and VISA cards were fortified with MasterCard SecureCode and verified by VISA features respectively for secure online transactions.

He added, “The acceptance of UBA cards on PayPal will provide more convenience for those planning their summer shopping.