By Babajide Komolafe
OVER the years, the financial services industry in Nigeria has undergone various forms of transformation in terms of operations, service delivery and other indices of performance.
Increased sophistication in the lifestyle of people, changing tastes, demanding schedules, technological savviness, amongst other modern trends, have seen operators in the sector constantly reinventing the wheel to meet and satisfy the needs of the ever-dynamic environment as well as the populace.
These days, the assessment of financial institutions, particularly banks, is largely measured by their level of connection with their stakeholders and the customer-centric solutions they offer. This fact was succinctly captured by Roy Spence, co-founder of GSD&M, a leading advertising firm in the United States, who declared that, “every business needs to be in the business of improving customers’ lives”.
For FCMB Group Plc, a foremost holding company in Nigeria, its nine subsidiaries which are leaders in their respective segments, this declaration underlies the philosophy; serving as a roadmap in the firms’ drive to attain the highest levels of customer advocacy as well as experience.
This is while also adding significant value to stakeholders. The operating companies of FCMB Group, with Mr. Ladi Balogun as the Group Chief Executive, are divided along three business groups – Commercial and Retail Banking (First City Monument Bank Limited, Credit Direct Limited, FCMB (UK) Limited and FCMB Microfinance Bank Limited); Investment Banking (FCMB Capital Markets Limited and CSL Stockbrokers Limited); and Asset & Wealth Management (FCMB Pensions Limited, First City Asset Management Limited and CSL Trustees Limited).
The Group successfully acquired Legacy Pension Managers Limited (now known as FCMB Pensions Limited) by increasing its stake in the company from 28.3 per cent to 91.6 percent. The development is engendering sustainable and diversified low-risk growth momentum as the pensions firm is leveraging FCMB’s extensive distribution network, alternate channels, digital innovation and investment research to rapidly expand its customer base.
Speaking on the acquisition, Chairman of the Board of FCMB Pensions Limited and the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun said, “having distinguished ourselves in consumer finance over the years and gaining greater market share in retail payments solutions and savings accounts, a comprehensive suite of asset and wealth management propositions, is a natural addition to our growing base of five million customers”.
Meanwhile the financial results of FCMB Group for the nine months ended September 2018 showed a significant increase in profit before tax to N14.77 billion, as against N6.84 billion recorded for the same period in 2017. Also, gross revenue rose by 11 percent toN132.9 billion from N118.8 billion. Net interest income witnessed a seven percent Year-on-Year (YoY) upsurge from N49.9billion to N53.2 billion, just as non-interest income grew by 77 percent (YoY) to N33 billion from N18.6 billion for the same period in the previous year.
Customer confidence in FCMB Group remained strong, as deposits were up five percent (5%) Quarter-on Quarter (QoQ) to N756 billion in September 2018, compared to N721.3 billion as the end of June 2018. In addition, the nine months financial results saw a surge in Loans and advances by three percent QoQ to N601.9 billion in September 2018 as against N586 billion in June 2018, which is an indication of the Group’s aggressive focus on financial intermediation and support for economic growth of the public and private sectors. The impact of the subsidiaries on the overall performance of FCMB Group has been profound as evidenced by their solid performance.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB), the retail and commercial banking-led subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc, has consolidated its position as a dominant brand by growing in leaps and bounds. The bank has continued to boost its customers’ acquisition drive in the retail segment of the banking industry. It has also sustained the tempo of becoming a more convenient and accessible bank in alternate channels, with more than 800 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) spread across Nigeria as at the end of 2018 and over 15,000 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals deployed nationwide, while on-boarding almost two million customers on its electronic banking platforms.
The bank has sustained the empowerment of customers through its reward scheme tagged “FCMB Millionaire Promo”. Almost 50,000 customers have benefitted from the promo by winning cars, cash rewards of between N1 million and N2 million as well as gifts like television sets, power generating sets and phones, among others.
In business banking, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), FCMB recorded a significant improvement in net revenue as at the end of 2018. FCMB offers several cutting-edge products, services and solutions to meet and satisfy the needs of businesses in this segment. The lender has recently disbursed over N3.17billion to SMEs across the country under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention programme.
In agribusiness, FCMB recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) in a move that would substantially increase the bank’s support to agribusiness, its value chain and overall growth of the Nigerian economy. The memorandum outlines a framework to deepen agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the informal and agribusiness sectors. The project involves FCMB rolling out an integrated savings account – named ‘Kampe Account’ – to offer financial services under phase one of its plan to 150,000 unbanked and under-banked farmers across five states through agricultural agents operating under the bank’s agency banking proposition. The first set of states to benefit in this first phase comprises Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo. The plan is to reach two million farmers across the entire nation by year 2023.
Speaking on these developments and the outlook for the year 2019, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mr. Adam Nuru says, the bank has a great foundation to continue to build on and being confident of its strategy, will achieve the necessary resilience.
“We know we will need constant change, innovation capability and high productivity to thrive in a progressively fierce competitive environment. Based on this, we have a renewed strong commitment to our digital transformation journey with aggressive investments in putting the right structures in place”, he stated.
With this outstanding moves and achievements, coupled with the bank’s niche for excellence and a clear understanding of its market and the environment, analysts are of the view that the FCMB brand is well positioned to create more value for its growing customer base and other stakeholders in Nigeria.