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Polaris Bank positive on post-coronavirus performance

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Polaris Bank plans to leverage its investment in cutting-edge information technology to harness emerging opportunities and mitigate the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business.

Against the backdrop of the impressive financials of the bank in 2019, the management of the bank said investment in technology infrastructure, comprehensive corporate transformation and a keen focus on customer experience would continue to give the bank comparative advantage in the Nigerian financial services sector.

Managing Director, Polaris Bank Limited, Mr Tokunbo Abiru, who reviewed the performance and outlook of the bank in a special media interview, said the 2019 performance of the bank was the result of a corporate transformation that started in September 2018.

He said the corporate transformation has helped the bank build a robust foundation for capital preservation and sustainable profitability.

According to him, while the Coronavirus pandemic would undoubtedly impact all economies and sectors, including Nigeria, Polaris Bank’s strong business focus, organisational efficiency, innovation and digitisation will provide the winning edge against the emerging disruptions.

He also noted that Polaris Bank’s retail customer segments and commercial businesses will remain thriving and competitive, ensuring that the bank continues to harness the value of its investments.

“The key drivers of the outcome as shown in the 2019 results were strong earnings from interest and non- interest income as well as through operational efficiency via cost containment, all resulting in a decent cost to income ratio. These measures are key initiatives of our on-going transformation programme,” Abiru said.

Speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, he noted that the COVID-19 would adversely impact businesses both locally and globally, with credit quality being challenged, business market size already shrinking, and inflationary pressures mounting.

He further explained that while no business can hardly outperform the environment where it operates, Polaris Bank will seek ways to maximise all available income sources; while also seeking ingenious means of containing the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

On the impact of technology on banking, Abiru outlined that the future of banking, like other sectors of the economy, will continue to be shaped by technology.

“Just look around you, is there any area of our lives that technology is not reshaping? Why should banking be an exception? More so, if you look at the nature of our business, it lends itself to digital adaptations more than other areas of our lives. The world is a global village; just look at what is happening elsewhere, and you know it is only a matter of when will it catch up with you and not if. So, it is not so much of what I believe, it’s where the world is evidently heading,” Abiru said.

He reiterated that the vision of Polaris Bank remains to be a top, innovative and digital-led retail bank, a preferred partner that provides superior financial solutions to its customers and one that is not afraid to be different from the pack.

“The bank is currently on a corporate transformation journey, which focuses on five key pillars: process, technology, business strategy, brand, and culture alignment. With regards to technology, we have concluded the first phase of our I.T platform refresh to world-class servers and data centres, we are strengthening our cyber-security and network capacity, we have upgraded all our digital channels with robust offerings across mobile banking, internet banking, USSD, POS, ATMs, including agency banking etc. As we reposition our I.T infrastructure to world-class standards, we are implementing a robust digital transformation to actualise our vision of making Polaris a truly digital bank that makes banking more convenient with customised , value-adding product offerings,”Abiru said.

He noted that with all the bank’s fundamentals competing well with its industry peers and above the regulatory minimum, Polaris Bank now stands on firmer ground with better margins, lower cost of operations for good returns to stakeholders.

According to him, Polaris Bank is a future-determining bank that is committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, and services, across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.

He pointed out that the successful turnaround of Polaris Bank has made it a classic testimony of the turnaround of a troubled bank through a regulator-induced intervention adding that from all indications, the future of the bank is now very bright as evidenced by the improved prudential ratios.

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CBN revises timelines for dispense errors, refund complaints

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (cbn), in its determination to further enhance service quality, particularly quick refunds when customers experience failed transactions, dispense errors or disputes has revised timelines for reversals and/or the resolution of refund complaints on electronic channels, with effect from June 8, 2020, as follows.

1. Failed “On-Us” ATM transactions (when customers use their cards on their bank’s ATMs) shall be instantly reversed from the current timeline of three (3) days. Where instant reversal fails due to any technical issue or system glitch, the timeline for manual reversal shall not exceed 24 hours.

2. Refunds for failed “Not-on-Us” ATM transactions (where customers use their cards on other banks’ ATMs) shall not exceed 48 hours from the current 3-5 days.

3. Resolution of disputed/failed PoS or Web transactions shall be concluded within 72 hours from the current five (5) days.

4. All banks are directed to resolve the backlog of all ATM, POS and Web customer refunds within two weeks starting June 8, 2020

Meanwhile, key service providers in the Nigerian payments system have also committed to establish an integrated dispute resolution platform for the industry and enhance their payment system infrastructure and processes to reduce incidences of transaction failure.

Members of the public are therefore requested to refer to the updated Guidelines for the Operation of Electronic Payment Channels on the Bank’s website (www.cbn.gov.ng) for further details.

Please note that your bank will never request for your PIN, Password, Card details or Token. Kindly ignore any email, SMS or call requesting for those details.

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Bayo Olugbemi sworn in as new CIBN president

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Mr Bayo Olugbemi has been sworn in as the 21st president/chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Mr Olugbemi took over the CIBN leadership on Saturday, May 16 in Lagos from Dr Uche Olowu his predecessor and has also crafted the strategic focus of his administration in the next two years into the acronym “A-TEAM”.

The new CIBN leader will oversee affairs of the Institute for the next two years. He was sworn in by Honourable Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi (Rtd) at the Bankers House, Council Chamber, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Olugbemi is expected to bring his knowledge of over 38 years’ experience as investment banker to bear on the Institute.

Olugbemi, who is also the Managing Director/CEO, First Registrars & Investor Services Limited had served as the First Vice President and Chairman, Board of Fellows and Practice Licenses at CIBN as well as the President/Chairman of Council, The Institute of Capital Market Registrars and Treasurer, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

He has also served and is still on several committees of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigerian Stock Exchange; Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS); Institute of Directors; Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) and Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR) among others.

Olugbemi in his acceptance speech paid tributes to the founding fathers of the Institute who sacrificed and contributed immensely to its growth and development over the years.

He recognised the enormity of the tasks ahead of him and pledged to transform and propel the institute into global limelight through his administration’s strategic focus.

Mr Olugbemi told over 700 participants who connected to the event through Zoom and YouTube across the globe that “Our strategic focus is crafted into an acronym “A-TEAM” in line of the 2020-2024 strategic plan of the Institute which encapsulated in the acronym A-TEAM – Accelerated Development, Technology and Digital Enhancement, Engagement for Growth, Accountability and Transparent Leadership and Membership Drive for Value.

“Our desire is to be a global referenced point, an Institute that everyone is proud to associate with, one that sets the agenda for the banking industry, for businesses and the economy as a whole, he said.

Olugbemi promised his stakeholders to explore the possibilities of developing physical structures for the various branches of the Institute where they have landed properties and to pursue the acquisition of lands for the various branches where they have a prospect.

He also continued that he will embark an immediate evaluation and impact assessment of the Linkage programme with tertiary institutions for greater value and employability of banking and finance and social science graduates and to Institutionalise a banking-related legacy learning project in a university and polytechnic in each of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria; He also said that he will commence Banking Museum project which Governing Council had approved for preserving the rich Educational history and historical heritage of the Evolution and Growth of Banking and Finance in Nigeria.

Olugbemi said that the Institute which had recorded many successes in time past, would move forward into new uncharted and exciting territories and claim ownership of it before anyone else.

He further assured members that he will further explore an advance technology-driven mode and channel of conducting and monitoring the Institute examinations without prejudice to the integrity and acceptability of the certificates, he then promised to explore the proctored examination mode which will enable the CIBN to expand the base and reach of its examinations in line with the strategic intent to stay ahead of the curve.

He called on all stakeholders to support him stressing that creative and innovative ideas would be welcomed by all.

In his intervention, the outgoing President, Dr Uche Olowu, thanked the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, NDIC CEO, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, Body of Banks CEO’s led by Herbert Wigwe and other stakeholders for the support given him during his tenure.

He said that “as I hand over the mantle of leadership of the Institute today to my successor, I enjoin all stakeholders of our Institute to accord him all necessary support he needs to take the Institute to greater heights.

“As he takes over the mantle of leadership today, I’m convinced that the Institute is in safe hands given his wealth of knowledge and experience as evidenced in his numerous career accomplishments,” Olowu said.

Asides, the swearing-in of Olugbemi, three more officeholders alongside six elected governing council members also took oaths of office.

The elected officeholders of CIBN are Mr Ken Opara, FCIB, (1st Vice-President), Prof. Pius Olanrewaju, (2nd Vice President) and Mr Oladele Alabi, (National Treasurer).

The Council Members include Mrs Rafiat Oluwatosin Onitiri, ACIB, Mr Olayinka Alade Odutola, FCIB, Mr Rahman Olabode Ajayi, FCIB, Dr Godwin Ununotoyo Adolor, FCIB, Mr Adeniyi Adewunmi Olusola, FCIB and Barr (Mrs) Ojo Oluwatoyin, FCIB.

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