The Banking sector is gradually experiencing a transformation that is seeing more women assuming top echelon positions. In this report, Philip Clement examines the profile of these women and the impact it will have on the industry
The Banking sector is usually regarded as one the critical sectors in Nigeria due to its relevance in digital transformation and creativity.
Over the years, the sector has experienced successive leadership dominated by the male folk in both tier 1 banks and other financial institutions in the country.
However, the trend is currently changing as the new order now creates a pavilion for more women to assume top leadership and decision making positions in the industry.
This movie has been hailed by industry experts who have attributed the successes to the dynamic leadership of the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who has consistently advocated for gender balance in Bank’s leadership positions.
The Daily Times brings the profile of six Bank CEOs who are currently rearing to reposition their respective bank’s for growth.
These women rose through the ranks to their current positions. They are:
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, FIDELITY BANK
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe resumed office as managing director/chief executive officer, Fidelity Bank on January 1, 2021. She is the pioneer female to occupy the position since the bank’s inception in 1988.
She joined the bank in 2015 and was the former executive director for Lagos and south-west directorate, overseeing the bank’s business in the six states that make up the southwest region of the bank.
She holds Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; a master of laws (LLM) degree from Kings College, London; and has attended executive training programmes at global institutions including Harvard Business School;
The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania; INSEAD School of Business; Chicago Booth School of Business; London Business School and IMD.
Miriam Olusanya, GTBANK
Only last week, Miriam Olusanya was appointed as the new managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank). She becomes the first ever female boss in the bank’s 31-year history.
Olusanya now takes over from Segun Agbaje, the erstwhile MD, who moved into a new role as the group CEO of the Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc.
Prior to her appointment, Olusanya was an executive director at GTBank, a position she occupied since 2018 after a successful period as the group treasurer/head, wholesale banking division.
She joined the financial institution as an executive trainee and gradually rose through the ranks over the years.
Miriam Olusanya holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Ibadan and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), majoring in finance and accounting, from the University of Liverpool.
Yemisi Edun, FCMB
Yemisi Edun is currently the managing director of First City Monument Bank Limited (FCMB).
She becomes the first female MD of FCMB, following the approval of her appointment by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Edun hitherto served as the acting managing director of the bank, a role she embraced after working as the bank’s executive director/chief financial officer.
Yemisi Edun holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife and a master’s degree in international accounting and finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a certified financial analyst, CFA® Charter holder.
She is also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers; an associate member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; a member of Information Systems Audit and Control, U.S.A, and a certified information systems auditor.
Halima Buba, SUNTRUST
In January 2020, Halima Buba was appointed as the new managing director/chief executive officer of SunTrust Bank.
She is a seasoned banker with over 20 years cognate experience obtained from working in Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited.
She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Business Management from the University of Maiduguri and an MBA from the same university.
Buba is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School senior management programme.
She is a senior honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.
She sits on the board of several reputable institutions, including those of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as a nonexecutive director and Anchoria Asset Management Company Limited.
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, CITIBANK
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu assumed office as the MD/CEO of Citibank Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Citigroup, in September 2020.
She is the first woman appointed to the lender’s top post in Nigeria after 36 years of operating in the country.
Prior to assuming office in Nigeria, she was the head of payments and receivables, treasury and trade solutions (TTS) for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Citi’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG) based in London, UK.
In the last 32 years, Samuel-Ogbu has held various roles across Citi’s businesses in the UK, Nigeria and South Africa, having worked in each of these countries twice.
Previous roles have included relationship management with Global Subsidiaries Group and the Public Sector Banking Team, as well as TTS sales, corporate finance and leading Citi’s TTS business in two of the largest markets in Africa.
Tomi Somefun, UNITY BANK
In August 2015, Tomi Somefun was appointed as MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc.
She is a career professional with over 35 years post qualification experience, 26 of which were in the banking sector spanning key segments such as treasury & investment banking, corporate banking, retail and commercial banking operations.
Prior to her appointment as MD, she serve0d as the executive director overseeing the Lagos and southwest business directorates, the financial institution division and treasury department of the bank.
She is an alumnus of the Columbia Business School, United States of America, and INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, and holds a certificate of management excellence from Harvard Business School (HBS).
She is a member of various professional bodies including the Institute of Directors (IOD), Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN) and Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
Emefiele’s pragmatic reforms spurring women to bank’s leadership positions
No doubt, the advocacy and dynamic leadership provided by the current governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has been described as one of the pillars of the current transformation in women leadership in Nigeria’s banking sector.
Only recently, Mr. Emefiele had challenged stakeholders most especially in the banking sector to ensure all-round gender development and equal opportunities, in order to increase the number of women in leadership positions in Nigeria and across the world.
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Declaring open the webinar that featured a paper titled: “Positioning Women for Leadership in a Changing World,” the Governor restated the commitment of the apex bank to continually promote gender diversity in the workplace, empower women and increase their active participation in the economy.
According to Emefiele, the CBN recognised the potential of female leaders in different organisations and the Nigerian economy at large, hence it ensured equal opportunities for both male and female staff across every cadre.
He also cited the CBN/Bankers’ Committee affirmative action on 40 percent and 30 percent representation for women in top management and Boards of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), respectively.
While identifying unequal access to education, healthcare, finance and cultural barriers with gender stereotyping as some of the barriers limiting the participation of women in leadership, the CBN Governor also listed policies of the Bank that had afforded women access to finance to improve their lot.
Emefiele, therefore, stressed the need to have appropriate policies in place in addition to making the right investments in programmes and services to promote women’s leadership and gender parity in order to enable them to contribute to the economy.
This is even as he noted that there was overwhelming evidence that organisations with a high level of female participation fared better than others.
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Mortgage defaults hit Sh70bn, auctions jump
- Latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that mortgages recorded the highest growth in non-performing loans (NPLs) f.om Sh47.5 billion in March last year.
- Unpaid mortgages increased by Sh9.1 billion or 14.8 percent in the three months to March, a rise that outpaced other segments like manufacturing (three percent), agriculture (10.7 per cent) and personal loans (three percent).
Defaults on mortgages jumped 48 percent to Sh70.5 billion in the year to March, pointing to widespread distress in real estate in the wake of Covid-19 economic hardships as property auctions pick up.
Latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that mortgages recorded the highest growth in non-performing loans (NPLs) from Sh47.5 billion in March last year, reflecting the struggle by investors to find buyers for their houses amid dwindling returns.
Unpaid mortgages increased by Sh9.1 billion or 14.8 percent in the three months to March, a rise that outpaced other segments like manufacturing (three percent), agriculture (10.7 per cent) and personal loans (three percent) in growth of default on loans, the CBK said.
The mounting defaults in the property market are a reflection of the struggles that mortgage holders are undergoing in an economy that has witnessed a string of job losses across nearly all sectors since the onset of Covid-19 in Kenya in March last year as corporates intensify austerity measures to protect profits.
This has seen workers who took mortgages on the strength of their pay slips default. The slowdown in real estate is hurting property developers who are finding it difficult to sell units that were built on loans.
Banks that had gone slow on property seizures last year following the pandemic
have stepped up debt recovery efforts to clean up their loan books, leading to a spike in auctions.
Thousands of defaulters have since January been appearing in the books of Kenya’s three CRBs — Metropol, TransUnion and Creditinfo International—after the CBK lifted the suspension of listing for loans that were defaulted after April 1 last year.
The CBK has linked the sharp rise in mortgage defaults — credit that goes unpaid for 90 days — to skipped repayments on covid-19 disruptions.
“The real estate sector registered the highest increase in non-performing loans by 14.9 percent (Sh9.1 billion) as a result of disruptions by Covid-19 pandemic,” said the CBK in the banking sector review of first quarter of the year.
Real estate has been one of the country’s fastest growing sectors in the last 15 years, with returns from property outpacing equities and government securities.
The sector has, however, suffered slow growth in sales and rental prices recently due to a huge stock of unsold units, which has seen developers who tapped loans to build and sell houses default.
Low occupancy rates have meant that developers who were dependent on rent collections to repay loans are also struggling.
Industries and other businesses have since cut down their activities in response to the infectious disease, leading to job cuts and unpaid leave for retained staff as profitable firms move into losses.
Businesses that tapped loans based on their projected cash flows are also struggling to meet the loan obligations.
CBK data to April shows that net domestic credit to the real estate sector grew by 5.8 percent to Sh409 billion, the slowest in nine months.
Auctioneers reckon they are holding more forced sales in 2021 linked to mortgage defaults compared to previous years, with banks moving much faster to seize properties from defaulters since the cap was put in place.
But the auctioneers are not selling as fast as they are repossessing due to the minimum bid price, leaving a glut of repossessed vehicles, land, houses and office equipment as cash-strapped buyers seek to buy the properties cheaply and at outsized discounts.
The Land Act, 2012 bars banks from auctioning seized assets at below 75 percent of the prevailing market value.
This has led banks to eye private settlements.
Under private treaties, distressed borrowers agree with banks to look for the best available price for their properties and sell to repay loans as opposed to relying on the auctioneer’s hammer.
Moi allies seek end of InterCon hotel business
- Kenya Hotel Properties (KHP) is seeking a consultant to advise on change of business model for the hotel, which closed permanently in August last year.
- It is also open to selling or leasing the InterContinental hotel building to the government, which owns several buildings in the vicinity including Parliament, KICC and Sheria House.
- The permanent closure and the decision of global chain InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to stop running the Nairobi hotel has downgraded its value.
The owners of InterContinental Hotel, including allies of former president Daniel arap Moi, are considering leasing out the building or converting it into a mixed-used property, complicating the State’s efforts to sell its 33.8 percent stake in the five-star hotel.
Kenya Hotel Properties (KHP) is seeking a consultant to advise on change of business model for the hotel, which closed permanently in August last year, to include a mixed-use approach —signalling the hotel building could be converted to office blocks, shops and mini-hotels.
It is also open to selling or leasing the InterContinental hotel building to the government, which owns several buildings in the vicinity including Parliament, KICC and Sheria House.
The permanent closure and the decision of global chain InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to stop running the Nairobi hotel has downgraded its value.
“Define the various strategic options available for the company premises and adjacent parking silo to repurpose the property to ensure maximum returns on investment,” said KHP in a notice seeking consultants.
“To envision and evaluate a mixed-use approach to the premises together with the pros and cons associated therewith.”
This signals that KHP is keen on earning leasing fees from the 389-room InterContinental Hotel, whose sale of the government stake has dragged for more than a decade.
An investment banker close to the Moi-linked Sovereign Group told the Business Daily earlier that the firm had little interest in purchasing the government stake amid the slump in the travel sector and the exit of the anchor partner — the IHG.
“There is little value for Sovereign to run the hotel. The land where the hotel sits is more important compared to the hotel,” said the investment banker who requested not to be identified.
The Privatisation Commission was expected to start talks with Sovereign Group to buy the stake that the government holds in the hotel.
But the commission, which is in charge of sale of government firms, sad it had yet to receive offers from local or foreign buyers willing to acquire the stake in the hotel, which closed in August at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.
Sovereign Group is the largest individual local investor in the hotel with a 19.2 percent stake while Development Bank of Kenya has a 12.99 percent stake.
Joshua Kulei, former President Moi’s former private secretary, Rodger Kacou and Ahmed Jibril own a combined stake of less than one percent in the firm.
The Intercontinental Hotels Corporation Group, which is listed in both the UK and the USA, has a 33.8 percent stake in the hotel group.
InterContinental Hotel in August announced plans to end its lease agreements with KHP, the holding company for the five-star hotel, and shut down the facility amid the coronavirus economic fallout.
This had made Sovereign Group the likely candidate to acquire the 33.8 percent stake ahead of sale to outsiders.
The InterContinental Hotels Corporation has been running and managing the 389-room InterContinental Hotel Nairobi under a 99-year lease since April 1967.
Kenya lost over Sh100 billion in tourism revenue last year, when the number of foreign visitors fell by two thirds due to Covid-19.
The sector brought in the equivalent of Sh163.5 billion in 2018, and the government had initially expected that figure to grow one percent in 2020.
Analysts forecast that global travel will take more than three years to recover, cutting investors’ appetite for expansion in the sector.
Besides the effects of Covid-19 on the hotel industry, KHP is fretful of the impact of real estate developments near the InterContinental building, including the Nairobi Expressway and the soon to be opened bus park.
It wants the consultant to review if the building could be used by the government, signalling its open to sale or lease of the hotel building to the State.
“The analysis should review and advise on the potential strategic re-evaluations for hospitality and commercial real estate for utilisation by the government and private sector,” said the KHP notice.
The exit of InterContinental Hotels Group came amid financial struggles at the Nairobi facility.
InterContinental Hotel was already struggling before the pandemic and was last year declared technically insolvent since it could not service its debts that stood at Sh717 million. The debt was owed to Stanbic Bank.
Talk of an ownership shift at the hotel began in August 2011 when the then President Mwai Kibaki’s Cabinet gave the green light to the sale of the Tourism Finance Corporation’s (TFC’s) stake with pre-emptive rights to existing shareholders.
TFC, formerly known as Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, was offloading the shares in an exercise meant to transfer government-owned businesses, including underperforming sugar mills, to the private sector.
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