Wednesday, September 26, 2012

INTRODUCING THE SMART WAY TO SAVE: THE DIAMOND SAVINGS ACCOUNT


With as low as N1,000, anyone can now begin to enjoy the myriad of benefits tied to the new Diamond  Savings Account. With the new Diamond Savings account, customers can have an access to the account even with an account balance of zero naira.

One of the features holders of this account enjoy is access to Diamond Visa credit cards. With the credit card, customers get to make purchases from their cards while they earn interest on the funds in their accounts. Qualifying customers can also access credit facilities from the bank.
Benefits of this unique savings account include ease of access to saved funds at any time, interest earnings on savings and free withdrawals from all ATMs in Nigeria. Diamond Savings account owners also enjoy the privilege of accessing their funds through Diamond Banks alternate banking channels like Diamond Online, Diamond Care and Diamond Care.

To open the Diamond Savings Account , undergraduates only need to provide their school ID card and a copy of their admission letter or current year school receipt for identification purposes; traders can open the account with their Cooperative ID Card such as the ID card from Market Women Association. Staff of reputable companies can also open the accounts with their Identity cards.

The Diamond Savings account comes to join a number of savings accounts currently offered by Diamond Bank. These include the Diamond SavingsXtra account which gives customers a chance to win mouthwatering cash prizes for maintaining the account; Diamond High Interest Deposit Account (HIDA) for customers planning to save large sums of money for a longer term and wish to maximize the interest earned. There is also the Diamond Kiddies account that provides parents with a rewarding way to save on behalf of your children below the age of 18 years.

The Diamond Savings account can be opened at any Diamond Bank branch.

DIAMOND BANK AND ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH SMEs


Small & Growing Businesses (SGBs) have been acknowledged as an engine of growth in many economies such that informal enterprises account for 60% – 70% of total employment in emerging economies. In Nigeria, small & growing businesses account for 70% of industrial employment and well above 50% of GDP. Despite this significant contribution to the economy, access to a formal financial system by small & growing businesses are limited due to imperfect information, perceived high transaction cost of smaller loan amounts and high risk. Small businesses on their part are reluctant to obtain loans due to lack of collateral, untimely delivery of credit and high interest rate.

Diamond Bank has embraced the challenge of serving small & growing businesses by setting up a focused unit within its retail propositions group to drive Micro Small and Medium scale Enterprises (MSME) initiatives. To effectively downscale these initiatives, each Diamond Bank branch has a dedicated relationship manager trained to manage the banks’ MSME service offerings. The banks’ MSME Propositions team recognize that finance is not the only need of small & growing businesses and develops interventions that go beyond the traditional services available in the banking industry.

Efforts to improve management capacity in small businesses include the 24 business seminars that have been held in different cities across Nigerias 6 geopolitical zones. The central theme of these seminars have been to educate promoters of small enterprises on best practices for success and these seminars are delivered by proven entrepreneurs with a track record of organic growth of their businesses. The forum also creates networking opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.

In addition to these seminars, and in recognition of the limited expertise of small business promoters in functional management disciplines, 7 Business clinics have been organised in major commercial cities across Nigeria. These business clinics provided small business owners an opportunity to have consulting/advisory sessions with professionals and consultants on the diverse business challenges they face in running their enterprises.

One of the bank’s CSR initiatives, Building an Entrepreneurs Today (BET)  in partnership with Pan University’s Enterprise Development Centre, is in its second season and has provided management training to 100 entrepreneurs and awarded N30Million in grants to the best 10 businesses.

Networking sessions such as Diamond Business Club, access to internet services (website creation) and the recent selection of 5 customers for an all expenses paid trip to the October 2012 CHINA CANTON FAIR are value added services for small business promoters to improve access to market opportunities and encourage business growth.

Also, linkages and partnerships with organizations such as IFC, SMEDAN, DFID, USAID, and other multilateral organisations are aggressively sought to pool funds for financing, reduce high interest rates, lower business risk, improve business climate, improve business processes and improve management capacity of small business promoters.

The Mediloan project (in partnership with USAID) is one of such partnerships to develop small & growing businesses in the health care sector. The bank also is highly supportive of Market Access Nigeria, an initiative by the Ministry of Trade & Investment to promote market linkages and synergy between small & growing businesses in Nigeria and large corporates & multinationals.

Diamond Bank’s MSME traditional banking product interventions recognises the unique needs of small & growing businesses such as access to finance, cost control, and surplus cash management. In view of this, the bank uses a unique methodology that enables lending to businesses without collateral or security. N69.2 Billion has been disbursed small businesses using this methodology.

Furthermore, the Diamond BusinessXpress Account a current account for small businesses (with variants BASIC, GROWING & ESTABLISHED) recognize that the fee structure of most banks may erode already constrained profits of small businesses and adopts a fixed fee structure relative to the businesses size or monthly turnover limits (N4Mn, N12M & N40M for BASIC, GROWING & ESTABLISHED variants respectively).

Each variant has an appendage account where surplus business cash is reserved to earn attractive returns until required. Customers are eligible to access the bank’s financial and non-financial service offerings through their DiamondXpress account variants.

IFUEKO OMOIGUI OKARU APPOINTED INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR OF DIAMOND BANK

 
Diamond Bank Plc has announced the appointment of Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru to its Board of Directors as an Independent Director, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and shareholders in general meeting.   

According to a statement released by the Bank, the appointment was approved by the Board of Directors of Diamond Bank Plc at its meeting of July 26, 2012.  

Mrs. Omoigui Okauru, who is best described as a hands-on strategy/change management consultant and change agent with proven leadership ability, is expected to bring on board her wealth of experience in contributing towards the advancement of Diamond Bank.

She is currently the Managing Partner of Compliance Professionals Plc. – supporting individuals and organizations to ensure compliance with rules and regulations. She is also a part-time member of the United Nations (UN) Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of DAGOMO Foundation Nigeria (Limited by Guarantee), a family based Non-Governmental Organisation geared to community development.

As member of the UN Committee of Experts, Ifueko is the coordinator of the sub-committee on capacity building responsible for identifying and executing capacity building initiatives for deserving revenue authorities and officials. Ifueko also acts as the 2012 Mentorship Chair of the African Women’s Leadership Think Tank (AWLTT).

From May 2004 to April 2012, Ifueko was the first female Executive Chairman of the FIRS and Chairman of the JTB comprising representatives of all taxing tiers of Government in Nigeria. During her tenure, she spearheaded comprehensive tax reforms that lead to the development of a national tax policy (for the first time), modification of tax legislation and remarkable improvement in the effectiveness of Tax Administration. Tax collection in the FIRS, under the leadership of Ifueko Omoigui Okauru grew significantly.

From July 1996 to April 2004, Ifueko founded ReStraL Ltd. (a Leadership and Management Services Company) and built the organisation up from a zero base to a company par excellence. ReStraL Ltd. owns the Franklin Covey (FC) license in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa, and is governed by a Board of Directors committed to the highest standards of service and driving positive individual and organisational change.

From December 1983 to March 1996, Ifueko worked across the broad spectrum of Audit, Tax and Consulting work in the firm of Arthur Andersen & Co. (now split into two firms - KPMG Professional Services and Accenture). She led the firm’s successful strategy consulting practice before her exit in 1996.

A prize winner in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) professional examinations, Ifueko is a Fellow of ICAN and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN).

She attended the University of Lagos where she also earned the competitive Gulf Oil (now Chevron) scholarship for her course of study, Accounting. She graduated with a first class degree and was the valedictorian at her convocation with several prizes won. She attended the prestigious Imperial College London, United Kingdom on a Commonwealth scholarship and holds its Master of Science/Diploma of Imperial College Degree in Management Science.

She has received numerous awards in recognition of services rendered to Nigeria, most recently in May 2012, from the paramount traditional ruler of Edo Kingdom, Omo N’Oba Uku Akpolo Kpolo, Oba Erediauwa, bestowing royal beads on her.

During her tenure, the Federal Inland Revenue Service was recognised through several awards such as the Government Agency of the Year 2009 by the “This Day” and “Leadership” Newspapers.

Ifueko has written several articles and books currently being published. Her works have been used as case study in a number of publications in print and electronic media.

Mrs. Omoigui Okauru’s appointment brings to three the number of female directors sitting on Diamond Bank’s Board.

DIAMOND BANK SUPPORTS NOLLYWOOD


In line with its resolve to strengthen the burgeoning Nigerian movie industry, Diamond Bank PLC has partnered with award winning movie director, Obi Emelonye, to produce the blockbuster movie, Last Flight to Abuja.

In a press release issued by Ms. Akpo Daniyan, Head, Corporate Communications, Diamond Bank PLC, she says the Last Flight to Abuja is a movie the bank is proud to be associated with on many levels.

According to Ms. Daniyan: “The movie is replete with computer generated images that are yet novel in this part of the world and this is an illustration of the nature of our service delivery in Diamond Bank as we are regarded as the industry leader in deploying cutting edge technology in servicing our valued customers. As evidence of our use of technology, we recently won, for the second year in a row, the best Credit card award at the Card Expo.

The Last Flight to Abuja is based on true life events surrounding the two air crashes that occurred in Nigeria in 2006. The action-thriller boasts of a fantastic storyline and special effects and it was produced by Obi Emelonye, the producer of award winning movie, Mirror Boy.

Continues Ms. Daniyan: “We are convinced that The Last Flight to Abuja would be the movie to beat for a long time in Nollywood as the movie is set to raise the bar in movie production in Nigeria. With a fantastic storyline and painstaking production with out-of-this world special effects, viewers of the movie are set to enjoy a cinematic experience comparable to Hollywood movies offer.

Explaining that the bank had decided to sponsor the movie project before the June 3 air disaster, the statement said Diamond Bank welcomes the movie’s initiative to beam a spotlight on the frequent air mishaps in the nation’s aviation industry and the need to overhaul the industry to check the air crashes.

The movie, which features a star studded cast including Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde and Hollywood actor with Nigerian parentage, Hakeem Kae-Kazeem, premiered at the Genesis Deluxe Cinema on Friday, 3 August 2012. At the premiere, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Diamond Bank, Dr. Alex Otti, while iterating the need to overhaul the nation’s aviation industry, announced that the Bank will match up to 50% of the total box office sales and donate the sum to provide support for victims of the June 3 air disaster.

Said Dr. Otti, “We had elected to provide support for this movie long before the June 3 air disasters that devastated the nation. While it is a sad coincidence that as we were planning to bring a film based on the 2006 air crashes to our theatres, we experienced another aviation disaster, we are thankful that the film does put the spotlight on the issue and the need for reforms in the aviation industry”.

Diamond Bank’s support of the Last Flight to Abuja comes to join a number of similar sponsorships in the arts and entertainment industry. It will be recalled that the Diamond Bank sponsored the Vision of the Child painting competition in this year’s Lagos Black Heritage Festival. The bank also sponsored the award winning movie “Amazing Grace” in 2009.


IFC $70M CONVERTIBLE SUBORDINATED LOAN TO DIAMOND BANK


In what is yet another indicator of its rising credit rating in the market, Diamond Bank has been granted a $70million 7-year convertible subordinated loan by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Africa Capitalization Fund Limited (a specialized IFC-fund set up and managed by IFC Asset Management Company to assist banks in Africa in raising capital to fund growth).  The facility which qualifies as Tier II capital was agreed after a thorough due diligence by IFC as is usually the case with all its investments and reinforces IFC’s confidence in the bank.

Diamond Bank considers the dollar denominated investment appropriate for its medium and long term funding strategies given the high naira interest rates regime, dearth of such long term financing in the Nigerian financial markets and the depressed domestic equities market which would have made local borrowing and equity issuance a lot more expensive. Moreover, the Bank’s current capital structure is optimized with the issue of debt capital rather than equity. Injecting tier 2 capital into the balance sheet will help the bank to achieve a lower weighted average cost of capital and boost the Bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR), while providing a veritable source of funding for customers’ business and the Bank’s expansion plans.

The subordinated nature of the facility also conveys the sort of confidence the IFC has in the Bank. Subordinated debts are clean unsecured debts, which rank below other debts and have lower priority in the hierarchy of repayments (below senior debt, taxes and other financial obligations). They stand in contrast to senior debts which are secured against assets of the borrower and repaid first in the hierarchy of obligations of the borrower. Consequently, Lenders are generally more willing to issue senior debts than subordinated facilities. However, in this case the fundamentals of the Bank and its future competitiveness and profitability are sufficiently strong to warrant an international prudent investor like IFC to make such investment. It is worthy to mention that this is the first subordinated Tier 2 instrument in the Nigerian banking space.

The facility is also convertible, which gives the IFC entities the option to convert the debts into equity at pre-agreed price per share within agreed timelines in the future. This is another stamp of authority on the Bank and its Management as the IFC truly believes in the growth potentials of the Bank to seek to become a core shareholder in it. This speaks to the existence of excellent corporate governance culture in Diamond Bank Plc. It is also an attestation to the confidence the new management under Dr. Alex Otti, which took over running of the bank in March 2011, has engendered for the bank amongst existing and potential customers and investors.

The facility will go a long way in helping the bank expand its retail banking footprint across Nigeria and West Africa, and strengthen its ability to grow its micro small and medium enterprises banking business. With its reputation as the leading SME Bank, the Group Managing Director had indicated in March 2011 that it would continue to make funding available to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the real sector of the economy as they are acknowledged as the undisputed engine of economic growth and development.

Diamond Bank is a leading and respected bank in Nigeria, with close to 250 branches around the country, noted for its excellent service, driven by innovation and delivered through the most advanced banking technology platform in the market. It currently offers full range of banking services through its offices in Republics of Benin, Togo Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal. Diamond Bank has over the years leveraged its underlying resilience to grow its asset base and successfully retain its key business relationships. The Bank posted a net profit before tax of N15.4 billion in the half-year ended 30th June 2012, representing an increase of 413% from the N3 billion it recorded in the corresponding period of 2011. Total assets stood at N960 billion as at 30th June 2012, a growth of 20% from the 31st December 2011 position of N802 billion. The Bank’s industry leading net interest margin is sustainable considering its growing retail liabilities. Accordingly, the Bank is well-positioned to deliver steady and growing returns to its shareholders in 2012 and beyond.