Finance

Nigerian bank set to issue $500 million unsecured notes

Fidelity Bank Plc has said it is considering raising $500 million from the international debt capital market through the issuance of unsecured notes.

A statement by its Company Secretary, Ezinwa Unuigboje, yesterday, disclosed that the company intends to list the notes on the Irish Stock Exchange, adding that the proceeds would be used for general corporate purposes, including supporting its trade finance business.

It described the development as an interesting stride, “from a bank that has always set the bar when it comes to its leadership and is very well known for its stable management, positive investor relations and forward-thinking digital innovations.”

It pointed out that in its almost 35 years of operations, Fidelity has only had four chief executive officers, which it noted was a testament to the stability of management and strong corporate governance.

“The bank has consistently and sustainably grown its business based on a careful well-thought-out strategy. This has not only contributed to its bottom line but also guarantees the safety of its and depositors funds.

“With the bank’s recent ISO 27001 certification on information security, Fidelity Bank is leading the industry with its commitment to the provision of quality and secured services to investors and depositors across the country.

“This certification continues to enable the bank to prevent information security lapses and mitigate associated risks. As a customer-centred financial institution, the bank is ensuring the safety of depositors funds through a host of initiatives including Online Vulnerability Assessment, SSL encryption, second-factor authentication, to mention a few.

“Without a lot of fanfare and noise, Fidelity has become one of the best capitalised and safest banks in Nigeria,” it added.

In addition, the bank has also continued to deploy a market-leading digital strategy encompassing not just mobile and online banking, but end-to-end digital products to better serve its customer base of over six million individuals and corporates, as well as to diversify its revenues.

It noted that the diversification would further strengthen the bank’s balance sheet and increase the sustainability of its growth strategy.

According to the bank, a demonstration of its digital prowess was its recent award by Citigroup for excellent operational efficiency in foreign currency payments.

“With a strong history of serving small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria, it didn’t come as a surprise when the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) also recently recognised Fidelity Bank as the performing financial institution with the highest disbursement to DBN-focused locations.

“To further underscore the bank’s digital transformation initiatives, its chatbot Ivy was named in the KPMG Digital Channels Scorecard as the Best Chatbot of 2020,” it added.

Furthermore, it pointed out that with only 10 months at the helms of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, with the support of one of the strongest boards in the banking industry, was not only transforming the fortunes of the bank but also contributing to Nigeria’s economic advancement.

The bank recently announced its audited first half of 2021 results with a profit before tax of N20.6 billion for the period ended 30 June 2021. This represented about 72.4 per cent growth over the previous year despite the uncertain local and global economy. The Chairman of the Board of Fidelity Bank, Mustafa Chike-Obi is a well-known professional with footprints nationally and internationally- from Goldman Sachs to Bear Sterns and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, where he was the founding/pioneer Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Onyeali-Ikpe is one of the few female CEOs in the industry, a trend that is starting to rise. She is an industry veteran with over three decades of experience, including working for other banks such as Zenith Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, of whom she has been known to say, “They are our competitors but also our friends.”

This is a refreshing approach in the sometimes over-aggressive banking industry. Her seven key imperatives of Accelerated Growth, Innovation, Brand Refresh, Performance Discipline, Digital Transformation, Service Excellence and Workforce Transformation are the strategic pillars for driving its business.

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