In order to ensure that eligible travelers are able to access foreign exchange and make liquidity available in the market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to buy and sell foreign exchange to travelers provided they have the required travel document.

The apex bank equally mandated all BDCs to access forex three times a week.

The CBN in a press statement signed by its Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor stated that non compliance to these directives would attract sanction.

“All Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) are mandated to buy and sell foreign exchange to travelers (both customers and non- customers) upon presentation of relevant, valid travel documents such as visa and ticket OVER THE COUNTER. All travelers shall be attended to immediately at the banks’ counters. Any contravention shall be sanctioned by the CBN.

All BDCs shall henceforth access forex from the CBN on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is compulsory that all BDCs access forex at least three times weekly. Any BDC that fails to access the forex window at least three times weekly shall have its licence reviewed by the CBN”, he said.

Three Banks Holding 60% Of N700 Billion Insider Bad Loans…NDIC
From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos
The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has disclosed that three Deposit Money Banks (DMBs)have been identified to have in their balance sheets 60 per cent of the N700 billion insider-related bad loans bedeviling the industry.

The NDIC Managing Director, NDIC, Umaru Ibrahim, who made the disclosure at the Financial Institutions Training Centre Thought Leadership Discussion Series in Lagos, said the level of non-performing loans in the industry could be lower if the banks were to adhere more to sound corporate governance.

The identities of the banks were not disclosed, but the NDIC boss said that lenders without strong corporate governance culture were already being shunned by foreign investors because of the importance they attach to sound corporate governance practices.

The Central Bank of Nigeria expects banks’ NPLs not to exceed five per cent, but many lenders have grown their NPLs to over 20 per cent in recent months.

The financial industry still harbours weaknesses in governance as seen in insider non-performing loans, unreported losses, huge exit packages for directors, over-domineering executive management, contravention of regulatory/prudential guidelines and lending limits, poorly appraised credits and weakening of shareholders’ funds, among others.

Speaking on the theme: “Strengthening the Banking System and Facilitating Sustained Economic Growth: Roles of the Regulators, Operators and the Banking Public,” Ibrahim, who was represented by NDIC Executive Director, Operations, Prince Aghatise Erediauwa, said a large part of the NPLs came from loans to oil and gas sector.

He regretted that many of the banks lending to key sectors of the economy do not have the right industry knowledge needed to properly assess the loans.

He said: “The bad loans we see today in banks are mainly due to large exposure to oil and gas sector. They expose themselves to the sector without the right industry knowledge. The banks go with the bandwagon effect, as once there is loan syndication, every lender will want to be part of it without understanding what is involved.”

According to Ibrahim, many of the banks are also undercapitalised, borrowing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Many banks still do not disclose the names of all their staff that are involved in fraud, he said.

He added: “A lot of oil and gas loans went bad and created huge NPLs. Banks were not knowledgeable of the oil and gas industry, telecom and power sectors. The banks are running helter-skelter instead of getting experts to handle the loans.”

Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Settles Shareholders with N140M … Pays N3.354 billion Gross Claims

From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos

Consolidated Hallmark(CHI) Plc., one of the leading underwriting firms in the country has declared a 2 kobo dividend per share, for 2017 financial year, amounting to N140 million dividend paid to its teeming shareholders nationwide.
Speaking at the company’s 23rd Annual General Meeting(AGM) in Lagos today, the Chairman, Mr. Obinna Ekezie, said, CHI believes shareholders deserve all the reward they could get through regular dividend payments and more for their continued faith and firm belief in the company.
According to him. the dividend is payable to shareholders whose names appear in the register, “we shall continue to live up this expectation as we have done severally, in the past.”
He expressed optimism about the future of the insurer, pointing out that the successful completion of the final phase of the capital it raised, full deployment of funds realised and the eventual emergence of the company as one of the top players in the financial service sector, will benefit its esteemed shareholders in the long run.

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director/CEO, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, Mr. Eddie Efekoha, said the company continues to fulfil its obligations through prompt claims settlement as gross claims amount paid out in its 2017 financial year was N3.354 billion.
The Total Assets of the firm, he said, stood at N9.49 billion in its 2017 financial year, up from N7.44 billion it was in 2016, representing 27 per cent growth.
He stated that CHI also posted a Profit After Tax of N406.2 million as against N194.9 million posted in its 2016 Financial Year, adding that its Profit Before Tax grew by 74 per cent from N368.1 million in 2016 to N641 million in 2017.
The Gross Premium Written reported for the period, he stressed, was N5.6 billion, while a Net Underwriting Income of N4 billion was recorded.
Pointing out that the company made appreciable progress in investment activities as well as its Investment Income which grew from N472.3 million to N796.2 million in 2017, he promised the shareholders to expect more returns in the nearest future from the insurance firm even as recent capacity expansion and growth initiatives in the underwriting firm will help to grow its revenue.

Keystone Bank on upward trajectory, declares strong Q1 financial result
From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos

After many years in the doldrums and following its most recent acquisition by Sigma Golf – Riverbank consortium, the moves by the new management team at Keystone Bank Limited has begun yielding fruits. The Bank for the quarter ended March 2018 recorded a profit before tax of N3.72bn, compared with a loss of N2.79bn over the same period in 2017. Deposit grew 42% or N84bn to N283bn at the end of the quarter March 2018.
Keystone Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, recently posted its first quarter financial results which indicate tangible profits in just eight months of taking over the helm of affairs after many years of struggling to stay afloat.
Recall that following the successful completion of AMCON’s divestment from the bank, a five-man transitional board was set up to oversee its re-positioning for growth and competitiveness. The transitional arrangement was successfully concluded on August 15, 2017 with the assumption of office of the substantive MD/CEO.
In less than one year, the bank has experienced tremendous transformation in all ramifications. Aside revamping all its branches across the country and bolstering its workforce, it has invested substantially in technology and developed fully integrated service models that enable customers access banking services through a wide range of channels. The Keystone mobile banking application boasts of several unique features such as the ability to bank with zero data, the Oxygen Chat Banking and several others that have re positioned the bank to compete effectively in the sector.
Speaking on the development, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Obeahon Ohiwerei said, “This achievement is a testament to the hard work and resilience of the management and staff of the bank. From inception it has been our vision to restore the confidence of all our stakeholders with tangible results and we are indeed pleased with this start.”
Mr. Ohiwerei stressed that this was only the beginning of greater things to come, noting that the team was set to double its efforts in meeting and surpassing the expectations of its customers.
“It was not an easy journey,” he said