At a glamorous event last week Friday inside the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos State, prominent financial institutions in the country, including UBA, FCMB, Access Bank, Skye Bank and Fidelity Bank, were the cynosure of all eyes as they won different awards for excellence. Other institutions that were toasts of dignitaries in attendance were Stanbic IBTC, Diamond and Unity Bank Plc and Jaiz Bank. Zenith Bank won the bank of the year award while Bisi Onasanya, Group Managing Director of First Bank won the Bank CEO of the year award.
The occasion was the maiden BusinessDay Banking Awards 2013 that was meant to reward financial institutions and their officers who were outstanding throughout 2012 financial year. Eminent personalities at the occasion were the governors of Kano, Osun and Anambra States; Lagos State commissioner for tourism and intergovernmental relations, who represented the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola and some chief executive officers of banks.
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) won the award for the Best Bank in Support of Agriculture. The bank tops the Central Bank of Nigeria?s (CBN) league table in lending to agriculture. By 2012 financial year end, UBA Plc had seven per cent of its N687 billion loan book to the agricultural sector. This is the highest exposure of any bank in Nigeria and it places the bank as one of the strongest supporters of the biggest sector in Nigeria, which is agriculture.
FCMB and Access Bank jointly won the Deal of the Year Award. For FCMB, the panellists were impressed by the flawless manner the FCMB-FinBank merger deal was consummated. The merger, which is regarded as the most successful merger deal in the Nigerian market till date, created a natural synergy between FCMB?s corporate banking heritage and FinBank?s retail and electronic banking capabilities. In the case of Access Bank Plc, it was the lead co-coordinating Mandated Lead Arranger for Neconde Energy $470 million facility. The loan raised the stakes in the capacity of indigenous banks to support Nigerian firms challenging the majors in the upstream segment of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Skye Bank Plc clinched the award for the Best Bank in Support of Manufacturing. Its strong commitment to the sector earned the bank the award. The award was in recognition of the fact that in spite of the delicate nature of most of the firms in the manufacturing sector which are often regarded as high risk, Skye Bank remained committed to their financial needs throughout 2012.
Fidelity Bank won the award for the Best Bank in Support of SMEs in the country. The bank has consistently come tops in the disbursement of SMIEIS funds. And just recently, Fidelity Bank established an SME academy to help support promising entrepreneurs in the country. It is among the top ten banks that have presence in important towns and cities across the country.
Stanbic IBTC Plc was the winner of the Most Innovative Banking Product Award, in recognition of its personal loans which have helped many Nigerians who ordinarily would not have had access to finance.
Diamond Bank Plc won the Most Customer Friendly Bank in Nigeria. The bank was unanimously chosen by retail customers in the BusinessDay Banking Customer satisfaction survey, the full result of which will be made available in the forthcoming BusinessDay Banking Performance Report. The bank was picked by retail customers as having the friendliest banking staff who are very eager to attend to the needs of customers.
Unity Bank Plc was recognised for exceptional support to the northern economy while Jaiz Bank was recognised for the pioneering role it is playing in non interest banking.