First Bank of Nigeria recruits experienced staff with international banking exposures to strengthen its foreign subsidiaries to make positive contributions to the groups’ bottom line this year.
FIRST Bank of Nigeria Limited has strengthened its offshore subsidiaries. Adesola Adeduntan, managing director, First Bank Nigeria, said the bank is expecting its foreign branches to make at least 10 percent contributions to its bottom-line.
He said the bank recruited experienced staff with international banking exposures to run its foreign subsidiaries. With such experienced hands, Adeduntan said, the bank expects such subsidiaries to make positive contributions to the groups’ bottom line this year.
“We have strengthened governance and management in all the subsidiaries, with more of the key staff now having international banking exposure. We have given them all the tools they need and we expect them to start contributing. We expect them to in the next five years, contribute 10 per cent to the bottom-line,” he said.
Adeduntan said that in 2017, contributions by offshore subsidiaries to were negative, but the new management has strengthened offshore operations of subsidiaries, recruited top managers and expect them to begin to yield results this year.
He disclosed that the banking industry is recovering, with liquidity also improving as crude oil prices rose by over 100 percent, leading to positive impact on lenders’ liquidity positions. He said the bank has improved on its Non-Performing Loan position, from 30 percent to 20 percent and has a target of further taking it down to 10 per cent in the nearest future.
He said the bank is driving retail, consumer lending and Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs. According to him, “the bank’s non-performing loans were at 30 per cent, dropped to 20 per cent and the bank wants to bring it further down to where it should be. We should be less than 10 per cent in NPL at the end of this cycle”.
The First Bank boss said the lender is transforming its operations, with digital banking adoption. Adeduntan said the bank’s Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD, on *894# has processed more than N1 trillion transactions, adding that over 80 per cent of transactions done in the bank is digital. The transactions, he added, are carried out through alternative banking platforms like FirstMobile, FirstOnline and Automated Teller Machines, ATMs.
He said the bank expects rapid growth in the non-oil sector, adding that it has also lowered its cost to income ration. On bringing new customers to the bank, the bank chief said: “We do a lot of screening now before taking in new customers. We are the biggest lender to Small and Medium Enterprise, SMEs. Our market capitalisation has risen by N300 billion and we want to ensure that the valuations get to where it should be,” he said.
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