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Ifie Sekibo

Ifie Sekiboie sekibo


As a follow up to its highly successful MSME Clinic, Heritage Bank has announced the launch of a new SME Finance Package called the Paris Klub SME (PKS) Scheme. The new scheme is designed, according to the Bank, to support lending without core collaterals.


While speaking on the rising tide of the challenging economy and the plight of an estimated 17 million Nigerian SMEs out of which only about 10% have access to finance, Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo said there is no better time to support the SMEs than now when the survival of the economy depends largely on retail businesses. He noted that to improve the dwindling fortune of the economy, a robust SME business environment has to be developed.

“This is why we introduced the Paris Klub SME (PKS) Scheme to support lending without core collateral. We take pride in our hybrid solutions where borrowing customers gain access to more value added services including consulting, business tools and technology. What we have done is to bring up an innovative idea of how to finance SMEs without collateral. Once we identify the SMEs, we offer advisory services to them, we help them to structure their businesses and also with their cash flows”, he explained.

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Sekibo noted further that Heritage Bank is currently developing a sponsored interest scheme for the educational sector where educational institutions can borrow at low rate subsidized by the scheme manager. “We are also discussing partnership programs with Venture Capital Firms to introduce debt-equity financing option”, he revealed.

Speaking further, he noted that one major reason why banks were not funding SMEs was because of the risk involved. “A high perceived risk of lending to the largely unstructured SME Sector is a major issue. More efforts and resources are generally required to effectively monitor loans to SMEs which may result in eating into the bottom-line. In addition, Banks also have different risk appetite.”

The Heritage Bank helmsman admonished banks to move beyond challenges of risk, by de-risking SME businesses and making them more bankable. He said Heritage Bank is supporting more retail businesses today by looking beyond risk.

“Our strategy at Heritage Bank is to de-risk the SMEs and make them more bankable The process of de-risking  SMEs is what makes one bank different from the other”, Sekibo affirmed


Speaking on the new SME Financing Scheme, Group Head, SME, Heritage Banking Company Limited, Mr. Bayo Ogunnusi noted that Heritage Bank is working on several other sector-specific finance schemes in its quest to make SME financing simple. He specifically mentioned the agric sector where a large chunk of the nation’s SMEs operates.

“We have financed a few agric projects and understand the challenges of the sub-sector. However, as a bank committed to improving national growth and development, we are encouraged by the long term potentials of the sub-sector. We are also leveraging on CBN Agricultural Funds (MSMEDF and CACS) and currently developing capacities to effectively support the agric sub-sector.”

Ogunnusi affirmed that with the ongoing integration of the recently acquired Enterprise Bank with about 160 branches and 400 points of presence, which include ATMs and mini kiosks across Nigeria into the Heritage Bank network, the Bank’s capacity to grow the retail business sector would be properly enhanced.


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Its Official: Manchester United Finally Seal Odion Ighalo’s Loan Extension Deal



Manchester United

Manchester United has finally sealed a loan extension deal for striker Odion Ighalo.

Recall that Ighalo’s six months loan deal with the UK-based expired May 31.


However, with a ban on international footballers returning to the country till October, United sought a loan extension with Ighalo’s parent club, Shanghai Shenhua.

The deal will expire in January 31, 2021.

In a statement, the club said: 

“Manchester United have reached agreement with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua to extend the loan deal for Odion Ighalo.

“The Nigerian striker’s stay was initially due to end on 31 May but he will now remain with the Reds until 31 January 2021, enabling him to build on an impressive start to life with the club he supported as a boy.

“Ighalo’s tally of four goals in eight appearances so far includes at least one strike in each of his three starts – against Club Brugge, Derby County (2) and LASK.

“Today’s confirmation is a timely boost for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he continues to prepare his squad for this month’s resumption of competitive football.”

“They [Shanghai Greenland Shenhua] have been great towards us, allowing him to play for his dream club,” Solskjaer said.

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“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish what he started and win a trophy with us.”

Ighalo scored four times in eight appearances in all competitions before the suspension of the Premier League.


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Kings of Finance: GTBank Named Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand




Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa. The rankings were announced in a novel global virtual event and will be published in the June issue of the African Business magazine.

In a special report examining the results of the 2020 survey, the founder of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, said GTBank’s “clever marketing, global presence and some of its flagship food and fashion events have undoubtedly helped make it a fixture of daily life in some of its key markets, especially its home base Nigeria.” He added that the bank, which recently won plaudits for building a 110-bed Care Centre in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, “has taken banking and finance to the people.”

GTBank has long been regarded as one of Africa’s outstanding brands and enjoys a massive youth following thanks to its innovative and forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement. It currently commands the largest social media following amongst all financial institutions in Africa and in 2019, the Bank hosted over 700,000 people at its consumer-focused events, GTBank Food and Drink Festival and The GTBank Fashion Weekend, among them dozens of business leaders and industry experts from around the world.

In 2019, GTBank removed all banking charges for young undergraduates under the age of 25 on its GTCrea8 Account Package. The move was unprecedented in the financial services sector but not unusual for a bank that had pioneered Zero-Naira Account Opening in the country, and in which people over the age of 65 also bank for free. GTBank is also blazing the trail in digital technologies; after leading the USSD banking revolution in Nigeria with its 737 Service, the bank is driving the digitization of consumer lending with Quick Credit, a first-of-its-kind digital lending product that gives individuals and small businesses instant, real-time access to loans anytime, anywhere via their mobile phones.

Brand Africa’s ranking of GTBank as Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand is only one of its many accolades. In 2019, the was recognized as the Best Bank in Africa and Best Bank in Nigeria, by the Euromoney Magazine and the Best Banking Group and Best Retail Bank Nigeria by World Finance Magazine. In the same year, the Bank also dominated the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards for the third year in a row, taking home 8 of the 12 honours for banks at the forefront of driving the digitalization of financial services.

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Banking Brand


Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, has emerged as the Best Bank in Nigeria in the recently released Global Finance Magazine World’s Best Banks Awards 2020.

The awards, which was published in the May 2020 edition of the Global Finance Magazine, was based on the performances of the banks in their respective regions and countries over the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019.

Global Finance’s “World’s Best Banks Awards” are recognized amongst the world’s most influential banking/finance and corporate professionals as the most coveted and credible awards in the banking industry, with winners chosen in more than 150 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Western Europe.

Founded in 1987, Global Finance regularly selects the top performers among banks and other providers of financial services and the awards have become a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

Commenting on the recognition, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Mr, Ebenezer Onyeagwu said that “this award is a clear demonstration of the bank’s market leadership, occasioned by our superior product offerings, best-in-class service and top-of-the-range technology which create value for our teeming customers.”

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Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices. The bank, with a knack for setting the pace and raising benchmarks, is a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions.

As a testament to its resilience and market leadership, Zenith Bank announced an impressive result for the year ended December 31, 2019, with profit after tax (PAT) of N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian Bank to cross the N200 billion mark. In the recently released Q1 2020 unaudited financial results, the bank also recorded an improved result over the corresponding period in 2019, with gross earnings rising by 6% to N166.8 billion and profit before tax (PAT) growing 3% to N58.8 billion.

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Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of exceptional performance, Zenith Bank was ranked as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co. The bank was also voted as Bank of the Year and Best Bank in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. Most recently, the bank was recognized as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020” and the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020.

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