.Bank ripe for NSE Listing says shareholder activist
COMFORT EKELEME, Asst. Business Editor
Following its passion to ensure the growth of businesses in the country, Keystone Bank Nigeria Limited in conjunction with the Enugu State Ministry of Commerce & Industry recently provided support to Micro, Small and Medium scale enterprises within the state as part of an on-going government initiative.This financial support many said is among the reasons why the economy of Enugu State is growing and more jobs created within the state for the unemployed youths.
In the partnership, which has been widely commended, 100 entrepreneurs were endowed with a financial aid of N50, 000 each to enhance their various trades which have translated to a boost in the local companies in the state and the economy at large.Keystone Bank has been at the forefront of supporting micro enterprises as it drives economic growth from the grassroots of the society while maintaining that the partnership was in line with the federal government’s recent drive to support growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) through its policies hence the commitment to the support of the growth of small businesses in the country. Economically, Enugu State is predominantly rural and agrarian, with a substantial number of its working population engaged in farming, although trading which account for 18.8per cent and services (12.9per cent) are also important.
According to Keystone Bank, the partnership was equally in line with its continuous economic empowerment campaign aimed at raising the bar of small businesses, which forms the bedrock of the nation’s economy. The Governor of the state, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, lauded Keystone Bank’s commitment and support of the crusade for MSMEs growth in the state.Acting Managing Director, Keystone Bank, Mr. Hafiz Bakare, represented by the Head, South Directorate, Mr. Rowly Isioro, said, “Keystone Bank has been at the forefront of empowering MSMEs as they drive economic growth from the grassroots of the society. This helps to boost our drive for financial inclusion of the un-banked in Nigeria which is in line with Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive,” he said. Bakare stated that the importance of the MSMEs to the development of the nation’s economy was significant, noting that they provided means of employment generation, improvement of local technology, output diversification, development of indigenous entrepreneurship and forward integration with larger-scale industries.
While noting the importance of SME’s to the growth of the economy, Bakare stated that the current employment rate could be bolstered if SMEs are provided with a conducive ecosystem with which to thrive.“While the government is making efforts to increase the ease of doing business in Nigeria, financial institutions have a significant role to play in supporting SMEs and this is why Keystone Bank is repositioning its GrowBiz Account to create financial options for businesses.“Today in Nigeria, many factors have contributed to the underperformance of micro enterprises and their contributions to economic growth. We at Keystone Bank seek to help bridge the gap by not only providing finance, but by offering financial advisory services and relevant platforms to assist in business growth,” he said. GrowBiz Account is designed to meet the needs of business owners and organizations; sole proprietors, partnerships & limited liability companies. The product is available in two variants: GrowBiz Gold Account (with minimum balance); GrowBiz Classic Account (without minimum balance). Each variant is broken down into three segments Individuals, SMEs/Traders, Corporate.
Also, as part the pillars of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Keystone Bank held the reins of the Women Empowerment segment at the 2017 International Okpekpe Road Race. The Okpekpe Road Race – an annual 10-kilometre marathon organized by Pamodzi Sports marketing Nigeria Ltd in partnership with the Edo State Government is recognized by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) and attracts competitors from all over Africa.The bank believes that women are the bedrock of social and moral values and as such been supporting programmes that will empower more women. As part of the Women Empowerment Programme sponsored by Keystone Bank, 10 indigenous women were trained and provided with start-up kits in various vocational skills.Speaking at the event, Group Head, Oil & Gas (Corporate Banking) at Keystone Bank, Mrs. Nnenna Kayode-Lawal said, “Beyond being one of our CSR pillars, the focus on supporting women in the society stems from the fact that women remain the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.
According to a study by the Clinton Foundation, 41per cent of Nigerian women are entrepreneurs compared to only approximately 10per cent in the United States and 5.7per cent in the United Kingdom. While according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring annual report, women actually outnumber men in the entrepreneur space in countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia.Many of these women include small scale operators in the rural areas who if provided with the right support can have significant effects on the economy. Backed with this report, Keystone Bank is charged to explore all strategies to make significant impact in this terrain.
Vision, Brand & Values
The Keystone Bank Brand is built on meeting and exceeding customer expectations by providing simple, convenient, anytime banking service at all times. Keystone – Literarily suggests that an object, system or philosophy is indeed born to hold together all the pieces that help with its success. The Keystone Bank Logo is a motif made up of interlocking stones which represents; safety, trust, strength, service and it is further accentuated by different eye-pleasing hues of the colour Blue – Royal Blue, Cyan and Ice Blue.
The Keystone Bank Brand pay-off line is … Convenience & Reliability!
At Keystone Bank has the single focus to “partner with you as you seek to realize your personal and business goals”.
With over 150 business offices and a vibrant workforce, Keystone Bank leverages its technology to offer leading solutions and services to numerous clients. In living true to its brand and service promise, Keystone Bank clients enjoy the expertise of professionals with experience in Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, Commercial Banking and the Public Sector. The bank provides its services with four core pillars in mind; Safety, Trust, Strength, Service. Also, it offers a unique experience to individuals, start-up businesses, large corporations and public institutions, using a platform of innovative products and solutions that are delivered through convenient and accessible channels.
About Keystone Bank
Keystone Bank is a full service commercial bank currently owned by Sigma Golf River Bank Consortium after being acquired from the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in 2017. It was granted banking license on August 5, 2011, by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The Bank has met and exceeded all capital adequacy requirements of the CBN and assumed the deposit liabilities, certain other liabilities and assets of former Bank PHB Plc following the revocation of the erstwhile bank’s operating License by the CBN.A technology and service-driven bank with subsidiaries in Sierra Leone and Liberia and a vibrant and professional workforce, Keystone Bank operates with best practices and offers leading solutions and services to its clients and associates.
ActivPay: e-Salary Payment
ActivPay is Keystone Bank’s comprehensive web based e-payment application that provides an efficient and secure platform for an organization to effectively initiate and conclude payment (Direct Credit) instructions irrespective of the beneficiaries’ Bank account domiciliation. It is a self service web solution that allows authorized personnel within an organization process bulk or single transactions irrespective of time zones and currency and credit beneficiaries’ account irrespective of the bank account domiciliation in Nigeria. Transactions that are carried out on this robust solution include but not limited to the following: Salary payments, Vendor’s payments, Taxes, and Dividends payment.
Features includes self processing of salaries, taxes from the comfort of your home via the web, credit beneficiaries’ banks account irrespective of domiciliation and currency, salary & contractor payments (single and multiple beneficiary), role based- incorporates the maker-checker principle during transaction cycle, multiple account viewing, incorporates the maker-checker principle during the transaction cycle, flexible report writing tool, comply with best security standards, ability to interface with any legacy solution
The benefits include, timely payment of salaries, bonuses, taxes, pension etc, elimination of delay in salary processing due to challenges of sending schedule to banks, view account balances across different banks from a single point or solution, increased capacity to prepare, plan and improve your operations, real time tracking and monitoring of all payments, improved productivity of staff with new and technologically driven processes, robust reporting tools for strategic decision making.
Engagement with the society
As a socially responsible corporate body, Keystone Bank expresses its commitment to the society through empowerment and developmental programmes which are predicated on four main pillars: Health, Education, Women & Youth Empowerment and Employee Volunteering Scheme.
Demonstrating its commitment to CSR is a deliberate strategy for Keystone Bank. The bank continuously seek to align its business values, purpose and trust with the social and economic needs of stakeholders, whilst entrenching responsible and ethical business policies and practices in all of its activities.
Keystone Bank believes that health is an integral aspect of the country’s economic development that is why it commits resources to different health related projects nation- wide. The Keystone Bank CSR health initiative tagged, “Think Road Safety, Save Lives” focuses on providing health screening and teaching preventive health measures to road transport workers. Launched on November 21, 2013 in Abuja and in Lagos on September 8, 2015, this initiative recognizes and supports the vibrant transport system in order to improve safety on Nigerian roads and ultimately save lives. This is in line with the FRSC projection to reduce road traffic accidents by 50 per cent by 2015. Similarly, it aligns with the United Nations General Assembly resolution of 2010 calling for a Decade of Action for Road Safety from 2011 to 2020. Because studies have shown that human factor accounts for about 90per cent of all road accidents across the nation, Keystone Bank has made health projects integral “to how we seek to positively impact the society”.
To communicate the power of knowledge and inculcate the love for reading, Keystone Bank’s CSR Educational Scheme builds and stocks libraries with scholastic materials in public/government schools across the federation. This is done in conjunction with well-meaning individuals, national and international foundations and other bodies. The Bank has also embarked on financial literacy for secondary schools which is aimed at equipping young people with information to empower them financially and equip them for the corporate or business world.
Women and Youth Empowerment
As part of its dedication to financial inclusion for all, the bank has re-engineered banking process with flexible account opening requirements to promote financial inclusion for women and youths.The Bank introduced its ‘PINK NETWORK’, an online community designed to inspire, enable and empower professional and women entrepreneurs. They are vested with technology, training, free online mentorship sessions, free exhibitions, seminars and other opportunities to succeed in business. The platform also facilitates social, entrepreneurial and inspirational interactions. This exciting digital community also has a facility for free to use ‘MARKET PLACE’ for buying and selling which comes with free advertising.
The Commercial Banking Division provides specialized financial services to emerging conglomerates, top end small and medium enterprises. The bank’s full range of banking services is designed with the strategic intent to provide financial and advisory support to these companies. Commercial banking serves the customer bridge between the retail and corporate ends of the market.
Alliances & Partnerships
In the process of building an international brand that will stand the test of time, built on integrity and enduring values, Keystone Bank has gone into strategic partnerships with different institutions and organizations. For instance in2006, Keystone Bank signed a strategic partnership with Fortis Investments, the asset manager of the Fortis Group, one of Europe’s biggest financial institutions. The Partnership resulted in the establishment of Keystone Asset Management Limited.In 2007 also, the United States Consulate in Nigeria, in what was a resounding validation and affirmation of Keystone Bank’s worthy strides in the area of human capital development named Keystone Bank as a partner in its Fulbright Scholarship, the first ever partnership between the US Consulate and a Nigerian organization. The Fulbright programme, is the most prestigious scholarship scheme sponsored by the United States Government.
Again, Keystone Bank in May 2007 signed on to the UN Global Compact initiative and was invited and participated in the triennial United Nations Global Compact Leaders’ Summit, which held in the ancient, but scenic city of Geneva, Switzerland, home to the UN. Keystone Bank voluntarily signed-up to this elite initiative, a gathering of the world’s best, facilitated by the UN. Keystone Bank has since become an active partner of the UNGC in its activities in Africa and beyond.Speaking on the strides by the bank, a shareholder activist, Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo stressed the need for a serious publicity on the bank’s innovative products and introduction of many attractive brands that would attract the attention of more Nigerians, especially the youths.
According to him, “there is need for branch expansion, especially to the rural-areas in order to conquer the market-share there, before the big banks looksthat direction. They have the advantages to make it more in rural-areas before making their re-entry in the cities once again. For example, the bank has only one branch at Ikorodu, behind the BRT-garage bus stop and the Ikorodu area is extremely under-banked because there is no single bank in the whole of Agric/Isawo axis which comprises of about 35 communities and there are many of such places across the country.
“I am of very strong opinion that the owners of the bank don’t aim high, because it’s seems to be very comfortable at the banking industry background. The bank is neither in a hurry to hassle for more customers nor to properly establish its presence in the mind of the people or in competition with others in the banking industry, in the areas of the newest innovations/brands within the banks, whereas there are many other banks very young and not quoted on NSE that are positioning themselves and making waves”.
According to him, the owners of the bank should get it listed on Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in-order to get access to cheap fund for serious expansion and necessary logistic to push the bank into limelight. “Seriously speaking the bank is just one of them that were yet to arrive nor shown any signs that it is in competition with other banks on the issue of market share nor in a hurry to show its face and established its products”, he noted.
For a better society