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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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Mark Angel Gets His Own Mouka Flora Mattress

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Mark Angel best known for the Mark Angel Comedy series, often featuring his child comedian niece, Emmanuella, just received the new Mouka Flora mattress.

In the viral comedy skit called MANCHELOR Part 2, Mark Angel falls in love with the new Mouka Flora mattress while Emmaneulla and his neighbours urge him to get married “Now that Emmanuella has bought you mattress, Oya go and marry. Have you not old? You have passed menopause, very soon you will reach menostop”.

The new Mouka Flora mattress is redesigned to offer exceptional comfort and provide consumers with quality sleep. According to Mouka’s Senior Brand and Innovation Manager, Jide Odelola says “Nigerians can now enjoy superior comfort and durability of the new Mouka Flora mattress to ensure they wake up feeling energized the next morning.”

Mouka is reputed in the industry for its world class manufacturing technology. Other brands within Mouka’s portfolio include: Mondeo Spring mattress, Dreamtime water resistant children mattress, Regal Orthopaedic mattress, Regina semi-orthopaedic mattress and Mouka Mozzi range of insect repellent products. 

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GTBank Releases 2019 Half Year Audited Results, Reports Profit before Tax of N115.8Billion

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has released its audited financial results for the half year ended June 30, 2019 to the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges. 

The half year result shows positive growth across key financial metrics and reflects GTBank’s leading position as one of the best managed financial institutions in Africa. The Bank reported a Profit before Tax of ?115.8billion, representing a growth of 5.6% over ?109.6billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2018. The Bank’s loan book grew by 1.0% from ?1.262trillion recorded as at December 2018 to ?1.274trillion in June 2019 and customer deposits increased by 6.3% to ?2.418trillion from ?2.274trillion in December 2018.

The Bank closed the half year ended June 2019 with Total Assets of ?3.598trillion and Shareholders’ Funds of ?603.0Billion. In terms of Asset quality, NPL ratio and Cost of Risk improved to 6.8% and 0.2% in June 2019 from 7.3% and 0.3% in December 2018 respectively. Overall, asset quality remains stable with adequate coverage of 84.7%, while Capital remains strong with CAR of 23.5%. On the backdrop of this result, Return on Equity (ROAE) and Return on Assets (ROAA) stood at 33.7% and 5.8% respectively. The Bank is proposing an interim dividend of 30kobo per ordinary share of 50 kobo each for period ended June 30, 2019.

Commenting on the financial results, the Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Segun Agbaje, said; “We have delivered a good result inspite of a challenging market, characterized by varying degrees of uncertainty and a rapidly changing competitive landscape. Our strong financial performance is underpinned by our unwavering focus on delivering value for our shareholders and reimagining the role we play in our customers’ lives.”

He further stated that “In a rapidly changing world and increasingly unpredictable environment, we are committed to building a long-term business that is both nimble and focused on flawless execution. The progress that we have made over the past six months demonstrates that we have the right strategy and the dedicated team to deliver for all our stakeholders, even in difficult conditions.”

The Bank has continued to report the best financial ratios for a Financial Institution in the industry with a return on equity (ROE) of 33.7% and a cost to income ratio of 37.6% evidencing the efficient management of the banks’ assets. These ratios are a testament to the competent and experienced management and work-force, efficient balance sheet structure and operational efficiency 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 these include Africa’s Best Bank and Best Bank in Nigeria from Euromoney Magazine, and Best Banking Group and Best Retail Bank by World Finance Magazine.

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In commitment to transparency, NNPC announces new DSDP bid winners

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In line with its avowed commitment to transparency and accountability in all its activities as committed by the new Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, the National Oil Company has announced winners of its 2019/2020 Direct Sale of Crude Oil and Direct Purchase of Petroleum Products (DSDP) arrangement.

A release on Sunday in Abuja by the Corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said following the completion of the 2019/2020 DSDP tender exercise, 15 consortia/companies made up of reputable and experienced international companies and Nigerian Downstream companies emerged successful to undertake the 2019/2020 DSDP arrangement.

The contract is for one year effective 1st October, 2019 to 30th September, 2020.

It listed the successful companies as follows:

1.  BP OIL INTERNATIONAL LTD./AYM SHAFA LTD.

2.  VITOL SA/CALSON-HYSON

3.  TOTSA TOTAL OIL TRADING SA/TOTAL NIG. PLC

4.  GUNVOR INTERNATIONAL B.V./AY MAIKIFI OIL & GAS CO. LTD.

5.  TRAFIGURA PTE LTD./A. A. RANO NIG. LTD

6.  CEPSA S.A.U./OANDO PLC

7.  MOCOH SA/MOCOH NIG. LTD.

8.  LITASCO SA/BRITTANIA-U NIG. LTD./FREEPOINT COMMODITIES

9.  MRS OIL & GAS COMPANY LTD

10. SAHARA ENERGY RESOURCE LTD

11. BONO ENERGY LTD./ETERNA PLC/ARKLEEN OIL & GAS LTD./AMAZON ENERGY

12. MATRIX ENERGY LTD./PETRATLANTIC ENERGY LTD./UTM OFFSHORE LTD./LEVENE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT LTD

13. MERCURIA ENERGY TRADING SA/ BARBEDOS OIL & GAS SERVICES LTD./RAINOIL LTD./PETROGAS ENERGY

14. ASIAN OIL & GAS PTE LTD./ EYRIE ENERGY LTD./ MASTERS ENERGY OIL & GAS LTD/CASIVA LTD

15. DUKE OIL COMPANY INCORPORATED.

The release stated that the tender process comprised technical and commercial bid submission respectively, evaluation and shortlisting, then commercial negotiations with prequalified companies and engagement of the successful consortia/companies by NNPC.

“Under the DSDP arrangement, the under listed fifteen (15) consortia/companies shall over the contract period, offtake crude oil and in return, deliver corresponding petroleum products of equivalent value to NNPC, subject to the terms of the agreement”, the release declared.

In his takeover note on 8 July, 2019, the newly appointed NNPC GMD, Mallam Kyari, had promised to open NNPC books to public scrutiny, saying as a publicly owned company Nigerians deserve to know about the operations of the Corporation. 

He reiterated his management’s team commitment to transparency and accountability when he had a maiden Town Hall engagement with the staff of the Corporation where he launched the team’s policy direction tagged: Transparency, Accountability, Performance and Excellence (TAPE).

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