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Access Bank unveils New Growth Strategy



In its bid to become number one retail bank in the country and Africa gateway to the world by 2022, Access Bank yesterday launched new five-year strategy.

Mr Hebert Wigwe, the bank’s Group Managing Director, said at the launching in Lagos that the new strategy would place the bank as the number one Nigerian bank by 2022.

According to Wigwe, it will also create a ‘Universal Payments Gateway’ to dominate international trade and inter-African payments.

“Our strategy will mean that by 2022, millions of people will have access to banking services for the first time.

“Customers will make payments and transfers when they need to,” he said.

The bank managing director said that businesses would be able to trade in new markets and invest in new technology.

Wigwe said that the new strategy would centre on six strategic levers namely digitally led, retail banking growth and consolidation in wholesale markets customer focused, among others.

He said that the bank would adopt a new organizational structure to deliver the transformation strategy.

The managing director said that the retail bank would have a customer segment focus, driven by digital and payments, while the corporate bank would build deep sector expertise and deploy global relationship managers.

“Access Bank’s subsidiaries will be organized around strategic clusters, with strong collaboration among them to secure trade finance and correspondent banking.

“The bank’s transformation programme will be underpinned by robust risk management together with high levels of automation to enhance the compliance and risk functions and drive customer insights,” Wigwe said.

He explained that the bank, from 2013 to November 2017 increased its total assets at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 18 percent and delivered shareholders’ returns of 90 percent.

The bank chief added that the bank had grown its customers’ base from 90,000 in 2002 to over eight million in 2017 and in the same period opened 351 new branches.

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NDIC Warns Nigerians of “Wonder Banks”



The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has urged Nigerians to be wary of “wonder banks” that give extra-ordinary interest rates and profits on investments.

Its Managing Director, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, gave the advice in an address at the NDIC Special Day at the ongoing 29th Enugu International Trade Fair in Enugu on Thursday.

Umaru, who was represented by Mr Festus Ekechi, NDIC Director of Strategy Development, said many Nigerians had continued to lose fortunes and even their life savings to Ponzi schemes and other illegal fund managers with disastrous consequences.

“The corporation’s activities, through the supervision of banks continuous monitoring and oversight, serve as consumer protection for depositors (in legal banks) which enhances confidence in the financial system.

“This acts as an incentive for the unbanked to access financial services of licensed banks.

“Poor and uninformed depositors need assurance that the services of licensed deposit taking institutions are safe and that they have access to their money whenever they need it,” he said.

The NDIC managing director said the NDIC was determined to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s financial system.

According to him, the key mandate of the corporation is to provide deposit guarantee to depositors of insured financial institutions, banks supervision, distress resolution, and bank liquidation.

He said that since inception, NDIC had grown from strength-to-strength in ensuring that the over-riding public policy objectives for establishing a deposit insurance system in the country were realised.

“With the protection of depositors in mind, the Maximum Deposit Insurance Coverage (MDIC) per depositor per bank progressively increased from N50, 000 in 1989 to its current N500, 000 per depositor per Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).

“Similarly, the insured limit for Micro-Finance Banks (MFBs) and Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) in 2009 was increased from N100, 000 to N200, 000 per depositor per MFB/PMB in 2010.

“However, on August 4, 2016, the Minister of Finance approved an upward review of the deposit insured limit for depositors of PMBs to N500, 000 in order to ensure coverage of over 90 per cent of depositors in the banking sub-sector.

“It is pertinent to point out that depositors who have funds in excess of the insured limit are entitled to liquidation dividend after recovery of debts and sales of physical assets of the closed banks,” he said.

Earlier, the President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Chief Emeka Udeze, had commended NDIC for always partnering with the chamber to educate the banking public on the safety of their bank deposits.

Udeze said that NDIC remained resolute in the protection of depositors’ funds within banks and other financial institutions in the country.

“The NDIC has helped to build confidence amongst bank depositors, thereby helping to stabilise the Nigerian financial system,” he said.

The fair, which has entered its 7th day, has its theme as “Engendering the Competiveness of Nigerian Products in the Global Market.”

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SIGMA Pensions Launches Mobile App To Redefine Customer Experience



Sigma Pensions Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading Pension Fund Administrators with the goal of providing exceptional value to their stakeholders through the delivery of superior pension administrative services recently launched its mobile App; the Sigma Buddy.

The development of Sigma Buddy is evident in the organisation’s desire to be the Pension Manager of Choice providing innovative solutions and redefining customer experience.

It is fast, convenient and easy to navigate. It eliminates the hassle of walking into any of their branches to sort out account related issues.

Access to personal information, account related information and even communication with the customer’s assigned relationship manager is made possible with the Sigma Buddy.

For over a decade, Sigma Pensions has provided innovative solutions to its customers and the mobile App is an excellent opportunity to tailor more quality services with emphasis on the ease of transactions while building a stronger relationship with their customers.

One of the outstanding features of the Sigma Buddy is the ability to request for your e-statements.

The platform also provides a secure way to find their nearest branches closest to you. The App is free and available for download on both Play store and Apple store.

‘’We are revolutionizing the process of Pension fund administration and the first step towards achieving this is to offer easy access to our customers by bridging the gap between them and their retirement savings account.

This is the motivation for developing the Sigma Buddy’’.-Dave Uduanu, MD, Sigma Pensions Limited.

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Heritage Bank Achieves ISO 27001 Information Security Management Certification



Heritage Bank Plc, has achieved the Information Security Management Certification from International Standards Organisation (ISO).

This certification also known as the ISO 27001: 2013 is part of the ISO 27000 family of standards which helps organisations keep information assets secure. The certification was achieved on the heels of the bank’s drive to revolutionize the banking sector digital experience with Octopus, by putting in place a systematic approach to managing sensitive organisational information, ensuring it remains seamless, secure and available.

The Octopus platform owes numerous benefits to the users, thereby enable small businesses key into electronic payment system easily, efficient collections, social integration, retention strategy, bills payment, mobile virtual top-up, funds transfer, balance enquiry, movie show time, news.

With the introduction of Octopus, the ISO 27001: 2013 Information Security Management Certification is proof of the Bank’s demonstrated ability to consistently provide products and services that gives service consumers and customers an easily recognisable security hallmark.

Speaking on the award received, Ifie Sekibo, MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, reiterated the bank’s commitment for secured services, whilst assuring customers that their information is appropriately protected and, as such, reduces the need to undertake time consuming and costly onsite security audits reducing time and cost for both parties.

According to him, the certification demonstrates credibility and trust, which reduces customer and supply chain audit and ISO 27001 certification reduces third party scrutiny of your Information Security Management by customers and the wider supply chain.

“The achievement of ISO 27001 will differentiate two competing organisations in the market place, providing a valuable competitive advantage. Increased legislative and regulatory compliance ISO 27001 supports compliance with relevant laws such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and software copyright legislation.

This in turn reduces the risk of facing prosecution and fines. An organisation’s liability in security incidents may be reduced if it is certified ISO 27001 compliant,”

He further explained that it reduces customer and supply chain audit, stating that ISO 27001 certification reduces third party scrutiny of your Information Security Management by customers and the wider supply chain.

As ISO 27001 is the current international benchmark for Information Security Management, it is increasingly recognised that compliance with the standard is supportive evidence of adequate security.

Considerations and outcomes To achieve ISO 27001 certification, an organisation must produce documentation that demonstrates that it has developed an Information Security Management System that complies with the standard.

Organisations should consider producing most of this documentation even if they are not going for certification as it provides a best practice approach for compliance as well.

There are three key issues to note about the standard: Its generic requirements mean that it is applicable to all organisations, regardless of size, type or nature. However, you tailor it to the exact needs of your organisation through the information security controls that you select to implement within your Information Security Management System.

It takes a flexible, risk-driven approach. It is dynamic – it focuses on continual improvement and helps the organisation keep ahead of changes both within and outside the organisation.

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