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ZENITH BANK SUSTAINS MARKET DOMINANCE WITH IMPROVED PROFITABILITY

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In the first quarter ended 31 March 2019, Zenith Bank Group recorded improved numbers across key metrics, driven by a solid performance in all business segments an unedited Q1 results released by the bank revealed.

This solid performance resulted in a Profit before Tax (PBT) of ₦57 billion, representing a 6% growth over the ₦54 billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2018 according to information available.

The Group’s on-going commitment to cost optimisation on the income statement and statement of financial position ensured earnings per share increased by 7% to ₦1.60 compared to Q1 2018 further details revealed.

The growth in net interest income and operating income by 23% and 1% respectively mitigated the decline in gross earnings. The effective management of cost-to-income ratio, cost of funds and cost of risk offset top-line declines to deliver an enhanced operating income in the period the unaudited results showed.

More information revealed that the risk and asset quality continues to improve as cost of risk dropped significantly by 52% from 0.9% in the prior year to 0.4% for the period. And this was achieved as impairment charges declined by 54%(₦2.5billion year on year reduction).

The figures available further showed that cost of funds also improved, declining by 25% from 4%in Q1 2018 to 3% at quarter-end. This was supported by a 22% decrease in interest expense of ₦10billion over the same period, affirming the Group’s robust treasury and liquidity management.

Added revelation revealed that prudent cost management led to a 5% decline in the cost-to-income ratio by 5% from 53.3% in 2018 to 50.9% in the period with an absolute reduction in operating expenses by ₦2.3 billion year-on-year.

The Bank’s retail franchise continues to increase as retail deposits grew by N80bn between December 2018 and March 2019 representing a 9% growth notwithstanding the fact that total customer deposits dropped marginally by 3%. The drop in customer deposits was as a result of rebalancing of the deposit mix as expensive purchased deposits were forgone in favour of cheaper and stickier retail deposits according to details available.

The volume and value of transactions across electronic and digital platforms continue to grow as new customers are being acquired. And the balance sheet continues to strengthen as liquidity ratio is at 66.7%, loan to deposit ratio closed at 43%, and capital adequacy ratio ended the period at 25% respectively and remain above the relevant regulatory thresholds as at 31 March 2019 the Q1 unaudited report further revealed.

According to a statement from the bank ‘’Going into the rest of the year and with improving economic fundamentals, we are confident of delivering value to all our stakeholders on our commitments even as we create more opportunities for businesses by supporting them through selective risk asset creation. We shall continue our investments in the retail segment of the market as we consolidate our leadership position in the corporate segment while maintaining a strong balance sheet.’’

Business

Depositors Panic Over N40B Fraud At First Bank

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Some depositors of the Olusegun Alebiosu led First Bank of Nigeria Limited are stiff worried about the N40 billion fraud that rocked the bank.

 

They are perturbed that the staggering amount involved in the fraud might affect their deposits, we gathered that some of them have been trooping to the bank to withdraw their money or transfer to another bank.

 

The staff of the old generation bank, Tijani Muiz Adeyinka, who perpetrated the fraud and his wife have escaped according to findings.

 

 

When officials of the bank sent security men to arrest Adeyinka, they could not locate his whereabout, so they stormed his wife’s office but could not arrest her because she escaped through the back door of her office.

 

First Bank, which has a market capitalisation of ₦829 billion has begun legal action to recover “huge sums of money” allegedly diverted by Adeyinka, an employee at a head office team in Iganmu, Lagos.

 

Adeyinka allegedly diverted those funds to 98 bank accounts classified as first beneficiaries, including his wife’s account.

 

 

The bank reported the incident to the Nigerian Police Force on March 25, 2024, and obtained three court orders between April 4–8, 2024 to block hundreds of bank accounts believed to have received the stolen funds.

 

Gathered that while the initial amount discovered to be diverted was around ₦12 billion, it now stands at around ₦40 billion ($29 million).

 

Adeyinka, a manager on the electronic products team at First Bank, allegedly authorised the process of reversals for customers.

 

Adeyinka controlled an account with which he processed those reversals and could credit merchant accounts.

 

The banker allegedly used that authority to instead credit customer reversal requests to a merchant he controlled. As the last line of authorisation on the team, he allegedly did not need any further approvals, it allowed him to carry on diverting customer funds for almost two years without detection.

 

His scheme was eventually discovered when a customer made a complaint that was eventually escalated to the bank’s internal control unit. The control unit discovered several suspicious transactions and reported to the police.

 

“We hereby bring to your notice the discovery of fraudulent transactions into various transactions within and outside the bank and request your good offices to set up the machinery of investigation in place with a view to unravel the circumstances surrounding the said fraud and get the culprits arrested to face the wrath of the law,” read a letter dated May 10, 2024, from First bank to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police.

 

“I discovered that one Muiz Tijani Adeyinka, a former staff of First Bank was involved in the nefarious posting of fraudulent transactions,” read a statement from the investigating Police officer in charge of the case signed March 26, 2024.

 

“It was discovered that he made some fraudulent transactions to his wife’s account number (name withheld) domiciled with Zenith Bank, which in turn transferred to other beneficiaries totaling thirty-four accounts which also gave birth to second beneficiaries domiciled with other banks totaling 1,190 accounts,” the statement added.

 

 

First Bank obtained an order on April 8 to block the bank accounts of the first and second beneficiaries of the illegally obtained funds from a Federal High Court in Lagos. The bank also obtained additional orders dated April 8 and May 5 from a Jalingo and a Lagos high court to block additional accounts believed to be involved in the incident.

 

One first beneficiary account reportedly used some of the stolen funds to buy the stablecoin USDT from several crypto traders detailing their bank accounts.

 

 

Those traders claimed their only involvement was selling USDT and denied knowing the funds they received were proceeds of fraud. They have now been drawn into a legal battle with the bank with restrictions on their accounts at the time of this report.

 

Efforts to make Chinwe Bode-Akinwade of Corporate Communications department of First Bank, react to the development met a brickwall as she was yet to respond to our inquiry as at time of filing this report.

 

Stakeholder have been reacting since the fraud was reported in the media. They took to their X handle to react to the development.

 

 

In his comment on X, one Dr A. TuruMbe said the revelation brought to his memory a case 20 years ago when he worked with a bank on Ahmadu Bello way in Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

Another user of X claimed the money that was stolen “is from dispense error, it gets moved by the end of work day and transaction deleted. It has gone for about two years, what gave him away was the issue of submarine cable that affected telcos and banksd in April. The transaction piled up for those days.”

 

According to another commentator on X, “banks and other financial institutions need to have elevated risk management and fraud detection systems in place. The downside of evolving technology is that crooks will always want to exploit any vulnerability to their advantage.”

There have also been questions as to why this fraud went on for as long as it did. According to Nkwuda Chinedu, “there are much obvious questions begging for answers – is their system not automated? Is there no Maker-Checker in place as known traditionally in banking? Has the staff no supervisor and no audit for the period?”

 

Other commentators have also asked to know how one staff can be left solely in charge of reversal funds where he would have unchecked access to move funds unchecked?

 

 

Mr Victor Frank in a comment on X, said, “the problem with the Nigerian government is evident in the banking sector. I cannot imagine how a whooping N44bn will be scattered around without triggering an alert.”

 

One bank customer on X said because the alleged culprit was stealing bank customer reversal, it was hard for the bank to detect and that this is why bank customers wait endlessly to have

their transfers reversed and their bank accounts credited.

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‘Seye Will Return To Ilesa’! The Interview That Lands Lamidi Auxilliary In Trouble

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To the dethroned Oyo State Park Management System boss, Lamidi Auxilliary, it was like a bad dream when he was paraded by the police and charged to court recently.

 

Papermacheonline can reveal that the accused, a former aide of Governor Seyi Makinde landed himself in trouble after granting an interview where he threatened another top aide of the governor, Seye Famojuro and promised to reveal more in another interview.

 

Just some hours after the interview, Auxilliary was arrested by the DSS in his home at Olodo, Ibadan before he was later paraded and charged to court for murder, armed robbery and illegal arms posession.

 

A source hinted papermacheonline that Auxilliary’s threat to reveal more was like a death knell, explaining that he was the head of Governor Makinde’s ‘protection team’ and his decision to start granting interviews on radio is unacceptable. Again, the person he threatened, Seye Famojuro is the closest person to Governor Makinde.

 

The source furthermore explained ‘are you aware he just left the UCH some months ago? He was hit and injured by a car when he went to buy drugs, he almost died! So, we all wondered how he could get so silly and start granting interviews. He is just an illiterate and there are so many evidence against him’. The source revealed.

 

In the interview he granted to Media personnel, Ajibola Akinyefa, in the Yoruba Language, the former PMS chairman said, “If he (Famojuro) is the governor or Seyi Makinde is, we will know. It is just a matter of time. Everybody will face the consequences of their actions. The people he chose to manage the park are cheating themselves.

 

hen asked if it was his hooliganism that led to his removal, Auxiliary queried how many people reported that he beat them to the police.

He further said that Seye would still return to Ijesha because Ibadan is not his homeland.

 

 

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lifestyle

Glad I Have One Less School Fees To Pay! Seyi Makinde Bares Thoughts At Daughter’s Graduation

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Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde is one happy man. The politician could not help but bare his mind during the graduation of his first child, Tobi from the Yale University.

 

The Governor on his official instagram handle claimed he is glad to have one less school fees to pay at the ceremony which was attended by friends and well wishers.

 

Makinde wished his beloved daughter the best as she embarks on a new chapter of life.

 

Spotted at the graduation ceremony was the Oyo State First Lady, Omini Makinde, lawmaker Stanley Olajide and a handful of friends and aides of the Governor.

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