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Keystone Bank’s Obeahon Ohiwerei – The turnaround strategist

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By: Ezra Adeniyi

The story of corporate revolutions in Nigeria will not be complete without direct reference to Keystone Bank Limited and its Group Managing Director/CEO, Dr. Obeahon Ohiwerei. This is a man who has used his Midas touch to turn things around for the financial institution within a significantly short space of time.

Dr. Ohiwerei is a rare breed. We are familiar with individuals who take over bourgeoning establishments and further increase their worth on face value along the line. But it sounds like a fairy tale to have a professional who takes over a near-comatose organization and almost makes a corporate giant out of it. This has been the lot of Keystone Bank.

In just a little over one year after the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON’s divestment which saw the emergence of Dr. Ohiwerei as its Managing Director cum Chief Executive Officer, Keystone Bank’s narrative changed to a financial institution to reckon with.

On March 24, 2017, Sigma Golf-Riverbank Consortium took over Keystone Bank in its distressed state, which led to the appointment of Dr. Ohiwerei. On assumption of office in August 2017, Ohiwerei drew up a holistic and integrated approach to business modernization which elevated the bank to deliver a superior customer-centric experience.  The impact of this change reflected positive results in its 2018 report card, which restored customers’ trust  and confidence in the system.

Dr. Ohiwerei’s magic wand at Keystone Bank has taken industry watchers by surprise, and the industry itself by storm. Since becoming the Managing Director of the lender, the game-changer has spearheaded several growth initiatives which have placed the bank on upward trajectory.

The Bank has invested significantly in technology with copiously integrated service models enabling customers enjoy banking services through a wide range of channels.

From evolving technologies to changing customer expectations to new regulatory demands – it has never been more important for banks to come up with the right strategies for digital transformation and innovation; the bolstered Ohiwerei led team nonetheless made this a reality at Keystone Bank. This entailed initiating partnership processes with foremost technology-enabled concerns to drive its digital revolution.

Keystone Bank’s ‘Cheque Deposit’ feature in its state of the art mobile banking application, ‘Keystone Mobile App’, further describes Ohiwerei’s vision to position Keystone Bank as a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers. The feature which is again the first in the  Nigerian banking sector, enables customers to deposit cheques into accounts from anywhere and at any time on their mobile phones.

Undoubtedly, Ohiwerei’s achievements at Keystone Bank have not gone unnoticed. Accolades have streamed in from all spheres in praise of a man who has done what many people only dream of.

He clinched the Best Banking CEO Award 2018 at the prestigious European Global Banking & Finance Awards in London in July 2018 for his exceptional achievements over the last year. This is an inspiration for business and government leaders working to raise Africa’s investment profile. The judging panel of the award considered excellent leadership skills, enhanced organizational image and innovation. Keystone Bank also emerged ‘Africa’s Most Innovative Bank of the Year, 2018’ at the awards event.

The bank also shone brightly at the International Banker Awards, 2018 as it emerged winner in two categories beating other nominees and carting away the prize for “Africa’s Best Customer Service Provider” and “Nigeria’s Most Innovative Retail Bank of the year, 2018”. The International Banker Awards is an annual event organized by the renowned International Banker financial magazine, one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative analysis on finance, international banking, and world affairs. 

Obeahon Ohiwerei began his professional banking career with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in 1991, and his exceptional performance saw him rise to the position of manager within six years. He later joined Standard Trust Bank (now UBA Plc) where he was appointed the Pioneer Group Head, Consumer Banking in 1998. He resigned in 2002 as General Manager in charge of Lagos and West to join Pacific Bank Limited (then on Central Bank of Nigeria’s holding action) as Managing Director. He repositioned the bank with his new team within 15 months and moved on to take up a new appointment as the pioneer Managing Director of Standard Trust Bank Ghana (now UBA Ghana).

He was  Group Executive Director with Access Bank Plc for seven years, and a director in three of Access Bank’s offshore subsidiaries as well as FITC, Lagos.

Not resting on his oars, the seasoned banker in a recent interview said he would love to leave with a sense of satisfaction that he delivered on the mandate of the investors by making Keystone a Tier-1 bank.

Dr Ohiwerei who describes himself as being audacious to a fault says  I challenge my colleagues to pursue audacious goals believing they can achieve them. There is no limit to what you can achieve as long as you believe in yourself and drive your vision strategically. Personally, I set goals for myself every five years and often achieve them within three years.

“While I do not micro-manage people, I am by nature excited by the challenge of execution and that makes it easy for me to engage hands-on with them in working through any challenges that may arise along the way,”

“I want to leave behind a tested and proven team of passionate and highly motivated people that refuse to see any barriers to what they can achieve; people that are able to compete shoulder-to-shoulder/head to head with any leading bank in the industry.

“At the end of my tenure, the recurrent customer feedback should be ‘my bankers are highly professional solution providers, responsive and always within reach.’” He concluded.

As Dale Carnegie puts it, “You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing,” Dr. Ohiwerei’s bold innovations at Keystone Bank are borne out of his passion to succeed in his every endeavor.

– Adeniyi, a financial analyst, wrote from Lagos, Nigeria.

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GTBank Releases Q1 2019 Unaudited Results…Reports Profit before Tax of N57.0Billion

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has released its unaudited Financial Results for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 to the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.

The Bank recorded positive performance across all financial metrics with gross earnings for the period growing by 1.2% to ?110.3billion from ?109.0billion posted in March 2018. Profit before tax improved to ?57.0billion from ?52.6billion recorded in the corresponding period of March 2018, representing a growth of 8.3%. Customers’ deposits also rose by 6.0% to ?2.410trillion in March 2019 from ?2.274trillion in December 2018, whilst the Bank’s Loan book grew by 1.6% from ?1.262trillion as at December 2018 to ?1.282trillion in March 2019.

Balance sheet remained strong with the Bank closing the quarter ended March 31, 2019 with Total Assets of ?3.556trillion and Shareholders’ Funds of ?627.2Billion. In terms of Assets quality, NPL ratio and Cost of Risk closed 7.03% and 0.05% in March 2019 from 7.30% and 0.34% in December 2018 respectively. In addition, coverage for NPL stood at 90.12% while Full Impact Capital adequacy ratio remained very strong, closing at 22.25%. On the backdrop of this result, Post Tax Return on Equity (ROAE) and Return on Assets (ROAA) closed at 32.79% and 5.76% respectively. These indices are pointer to GTBank’s strategic positioning in Nigeria and other Countries where the Group operates.

Commenting on the first quarter results, the Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, said; “Going into 2019, we knew that it would be a challenging year, but our strategy and unwavering focus on delivering value for our customers and shareholders continues to underpin our ability to consistently deliver solid results despite changing market variables. We carried on the momentum of the previous year, posting strong growth in earnings, effectively managing costs and leveraging our digital-first customer-centric strategy to deliver world-class services that are simple, cheap and easily accessible.”

He further stated that; “Whilst ensuring the long-term growth of our business is the greatest value that we can create for our communities, we are also leveraging our resources, expertise and network to help people thrive. That’s why, from April 28 to May 1, 2019, we are organizing the biggest food and drink festival in Africa to give small businesses in the food industry the platform, network and access to the markets that they need to grow.”

GTBank has continued to be best in class in terms of Profitability, Efficiency and Capital among Peers and other Financial Institutions in Nigeria. This is evidenced by its Earnings per Share of ?1.74, Return on Equity (ROAE) of 32.79%, Cost to Income Ratio of 38.64% and Capital Adequacy of 22.25%. These metrics are a testament to the efficient management of the Bank. In recognition of the Bank’s bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service delivery and innovation, GTBank has been a recipient of numerous awards over the years. Some of the Bank’s recent awards include 2018 Bank of the Year – Nigeria from the Banker Magazine and 2018 Best Banking Group and Best Retail Bank Nigeria from World Finance Magazine. 

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More Culinary Experts Announced for the GTBank Food and Drink Festival Masterclass

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An A-list Food blogger and a Burger King from London, a Sushi Ace from Japan and a Food connoisseur from Ghana –The recently announced line-up for The GTBank Food and Drink Festival Masterclass, is not only culinary diverse, it also cuts across three continents!
 
More facilitators will be announced as the countdown to the Biggest food exhibition and sales event in Africa continues.

The fourth edition of the GTBank Food and Drink Festival is set to hold on Sunday, 28th April, to Wednesday 1st May 2019 at the GTCentre, Plot 1, Water Corporation Drive, Oniru, Lagos.


Chef Shota Nakajima
 
Chef Shota Nakajima is the owner and chef of Adana, a Japanese restaurant located in Seattle, Washington DC.

Popular for infusing specificity and nuance in his cooking, Chef Shota began his career as a teenager cooking in Seattle-based Japanese restaurants.  At age 18, he moved to Japan where he attended one of the country’s most prestigious schools, Tsuji Culinary Arts School. After his graduation, Chef Shota worked for the Michelin Star Chef, Yasuhiko Sakamoto.

In 2014, Chef Shota returned to Seattle and opened his first catering business, called Kappo Kitchen. The restaurant enjoyed success at its first year, winning the Seattle round of the World Washoku Challenge. In 2017, he was selected as a contestant on the Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet and emerged as a finalist for the James Beard Award.

Chef Shota will be at the GTBank Food and Drink Festival to demonstrate the Art of Sushi Making.
 

More Culinary Experts Announced for the GTBank Food and Drink Festival Masterclass

Kinorah Awini

Kinorah Awini, is a Ghanaian-based African food connoisseur, food blogger and founder of Telande World, a culinary company which means “Eat with Me”.

Kinorah’s belief in effective presentation of African cuisine and ingredients across borders led her to open Telande World, a culinary company and a community for food lovers. The recipes hosted on Telande, which perfectly mirrors this vision, are made with brevity in mind and are highly experimental for easy practice at home by food lovers.

Kinorah will be at the GTBank Food and Drink Festival on Tuesday, to speak on Creating Evergreen Content for Food.Chris Fynes and Tom Reaney.

More Culinary Experts Announced for the GTBank Food and Drink Festival Masterclass

Chri Fynes and Tom Reaney

Chri Fynes and Tom Reaney, beyond being close friends, are two of the fast-rising names in the United Kingdom’s culinary scene.
 
Chris, a food blogger, photographer and videographer has one of the most popular food blogs in London -We The Food Snobs, which has been named in the London Evening Standard’s Top 20 blogs. His love of food started in his hometown of West England and has led him on an international adventure of food discovery.  Through food, Chris has merged into the travel industry, working with major brands, such as CNN Travel, Samsung, Sony and BMW.
 
Tom, also known as Burger Bear, is one of London’s most popular street food chefs, and the Owner of Burger Bear, home to one of the city’s best tasting burgers. Since its opening in 2012, Burger Bear has enjoyed huge success, making it to the list of London’s Top 10 Best Burgers and solidifying its place as London’s favourite street food mainstays.  Tom is also the owner of three other London-based restaurants: Stokey Bears, The Magic Roundabout, and Burger Bear Bristol.
 
Chris Fynes and Tom Reaney will be at the GTBank Food and Drink Festival to discuss Blogging and Burgers: From Street Food to Global Cuisines


To register for their Masterclass, Click here

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Zenith Bank appoints Ebenezer Onyeagwu GMD/CEO

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Zenith Bank Plc. has announced the appointment of Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu as the Group Managing Director/CEO of the bank effective June 1, 2019, subject to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approval.

The appointment is consistent with the bank’s tradition and succession strategy of grooming leaders from within.

Onyeagwu replaces Mr. Peter Amangbo, whose tenure expires on May 31, 2019. Mr Amangbo leaves the bank at the end of a very successful career spanning over 27 years, with the last five years as GMD/CEO.

Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu is a vastly experienced banker and financial expert, trained in reputable institutions of learning in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and United States of America.

Mr. Onyeagwu is a graduate of Accounting from Auchi Polytechnic where he obtained the Ordinary National diploma in 1984 and Higher National Diploma in 1987. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1989 while he was still undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) post graduation and was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) in 2003.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious University of Oxford, England, from where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Strategy, and certificate in Macroeconomics. He also undertook extensive executive level business education in Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School of Columbia University, the Harvard Business School of Harvard University (all in the United States) and Lagos Business School of the Pan African University, Nigeria.

He has nearly 30 years’ experience in the banking industry in Nigeria. He joined Zenith Bank Plc in 2002 as a Senior Manager, in the Internal Control and Audit Group of the bank. His professionalism, competence, integrity and commitment to the set objectives of the bank saw him rise swiftly between 2003 and 2005, first, as Assistant General Manager, then Deputy General Manager, and eventually as General Manager of the bank. In these capacities, he handled strategies for new business and branch development, management of risk assets portfolios, treasury functions, strategic top level corporate, multinationals and public institutional relationships, among others.

As Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Onyeagwu has oversight over the bank’s Financial Control and Strategic Planning, Risk Management, Retail Banking, Institutional and Corporate banking business portfolios, IT Group, Credit Administration, Treasury and Foreign Exchange Trading, as well as general administration of the bank, among others.

He was named Executive Director of the bank in 2013, and put in charge of Lagos and South-South Zones as well as strategic groups/business units of the bank including Financial Control & Strategic Planning, Treasury and Correspondent Groups, Human Resources Group, Oil and Gas Group, and Credit Risk Management Group, etc. He was named Deputy Managing Director of the bank in 2016.

Mr. Onyeagwu has been on the board of Zenith Bank Ghana, Zenith Pensions Custodian Limited, Zenith Nominees Limited and African Finance Corporation (AFC) within the last six years. In AFC, he serves on the Board Risk & Investment Committee (BRIC) and Board Audit & Compliance Committee (BAAC). At Zenith Bank Ghana, he chairs the Board Credit and Governance Committees.

He brings to his job strategic thinking, inspirational leadership, energetic and entrepreneurial skills. He is married with children.

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