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Press Release

At Polaris Bank IWD Webinar, Guest Speakers Advocates Empowering Opportunities for Women



…as CEO, Kayode Lawal highlights the indispensable contributions of women to societal progress, economic


Polaris Bank’s International Women’s Day (IWD) webinar themed: ‘Empowering Voices: Women Leading Change,’ offered a dynamic platform for insightful conversations. The 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) theme “Inspire Inclusion,” recognizes that despite progress made, women face significant obstacles to achieve equal participation in the economy.

Held on March 12, 2024, at the Bank’s Victoria Island, Lagos headquarters, the webinar featured a distinguished panel of experts who discussed various aspects of women’s empowerment and inclusivity. The event witnessed participation from customers and staff alike. The two guest speakers, who focused on inclusion in the workplace and inclusive health, did a phenomenal job.

The two panelists drawn from diverse fields, delved into crucial topics such as; self-esteem, mental wellness, workplace policies, and the importance of inclusive infrastructure. They emphasized the need for collaborative efforts from all segments of society to support women in realizing their aspirations.

Photo caption:
L-R: Guest Speaker, Solape Akinpelu; Polaris Bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Kayode Lawal; another Guest Speaker, Dr. Ifeyinwa Nwakwesi and Group Head, Customer Experience & Value Management; Mrs. Bukola Oluyadi, at the International Women’s Day (IWD) Webinar hosted by Polaris Bank in Lagos recently.

Ms. Solape Akinpelu, CEO and co-founder of HerVest, a fintech company, highlighted the significance of inclusivity and called for concerted action to dismantle societal narratives that undermine women’s capabilities.  She stressed that women are not helpless and advocated for proactive measures to counter sub-conscious biases.

On her part, Dr. Ifeyinwa Nwakwesi, CEO of Healthy Living Services Nigeria Ltd., provided valuable health tips for women to balance their professional and family lives; while prioritizing their well-being. Dr. Nwakwesi underscored the pivotal role of women in maintaining family health and urged them to shield themselves from undue pressures.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Polaris Bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Kayode Lawal emphasized the indispensable contributions of women to societal progress and economic development. He reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace culture that values diversity and empowers women to excel.

Reflecting on the global theme of IWD 2024, “Inspire Inclusion,” Lawal highlighted the importance of creating a culture where everyone feels valued and respected. He reiterated Polaris Bank’s dedication to providing a conducive work environment for its female workforce, free from biases and discrimination.

In her own contribution, Bukola Oluyadi who has oversight on Sustainability in Polaris Bank, emphasized the importance of connecting with women in the workplace. According to her, when women feel appreciated and encouraged to bring their best to the table, it enhances their sense of value and contribution.

The webinar concluded with a call to action for all stakeholders to prioritize inclusivity and collaborate towards creating equitable opportunities for women in all spheres of life.

Polaris Bank, was adjudged Nigeria’s Digital Bank of the Year in 2023, 2022 and 2021 in Business Day’s Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.


Press Release

Development Bank of Nigeria Announced as Partner for the Africa Social Impact Summit 2024




Sterling One Foundation, co-conveners of the Africa Social Impact Summit are pleased to announce the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) as one of its partners for the third edition of the Africa Social Impact Summit to be held from July 25 – 26, 2024 in Lagos, Nigeria.

With this partnership, DBN joins an impressive list of partners, including private-sector organizations, international development organizations, public-sector bodies, and diplomatic organizations.

Established in 2014, the Development Bank of Nigeria is a wholesale finance institution that focuses on addressing the financing challenges facing Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria through the provision of financing and partial credit guarantees to eligible financial intermediaries.

Now in its sixth year of operation, DBN has disbursed loans to millions of MSMEs and supported many others through initiatives such as the Entrepreneurship World Cup, Eco Innovation Challenge, DBN capacity building initiative and many more. By end of 2023, the institution lent ₦ N787.47 billion to over 494,819 MSMEs, 356,451 of which were women-owned.

Speaking on what necessitated this, Managing Director and CEO of DBN, Dr. Tony Okpanachi explained that the DBN has been a part of the Africa Social Impact Summit right from inception, with its Chief Economist as one of its panellists, because it sees value in the Summit’s drive for increased impact investments to scale sustainable solutions.

“We are constantly looking to reach more enterprises building impactful solutions that address Nigeria’s challenges and this Summit presents a good opportunity to engage them and offer them ways to scale and grow,” he said.

Dr. Tony Okpanachi, Managing Director and CEO of the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), and Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe, CEO of Sterling One Foundation

Providing further insight into the partnership, Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe, CEO, Sterling One Foundation expressed delight at having the Development Bank of Nigeria onboard, stating that the impact of their work and the insights they have from serving Nigeria’s vibrant MSME space is worth learning from. She also hinted at the opportunity this partnership offers to Summit attendees looking to access credit for the impact-focused solutions they are building.

The Africa Social Impact Summit now in its third year is expected to be held from July 25 to 26, 2024 at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos, Nigeria. Registration for in-person attendance is ongoing at

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Press Release

Sterling HoldCo Grows Assets To N2.5 Trillion




…Shareholders Unanimously Endorse Expansion Plans

Major shareholders of one of Nigeria’s leading financial conglomerates, Sterling Financial Holdings Company PLC., expressed their delight with the leadership and financial performance of the group at its recently held inaugural annual general meeting.

The comments came as a result of the group’s continued abilities to post impressive growth numbers in its first full year of operations, despite a challenging macro-economic environment.

The holding company delivered a 36% increase in its assets size, growing to N 2.5 trillion, and a 26.6% rise in its earnings to deliver N 221 billion. Both figures represent a significant increase in the group’s performance as contained in its annual report and financial statements for the 2023 financial year.

Dissecting the numbers further, the group earned N 156 billion and N 65.7 billion in interest and non-interest income respectively, representing a growth of 21.5% and 40.6% from the 2022 financial year’s numbers. It achieved this while attracting N 1.8 trillion in customers’ deposits into its two banking subsidiaries: Sterling Bank and The Alternative Bank.

These have helped the group post N 21.6 billion in profit, and an admirable 75 kobo in earnings per ordinary share for 2023. Numbers which signify continued growth of 11.8% an 11.9% for the respective performance metrics from the publicly traded company’s 2022 postings.

Commenting on the company’s immediate plans, Sterling HoldCo’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Yemi Odubiyi, said in his statement to the company’s shareholders, “In line with evolving regulatory standards and the recent introduction of minimum capital requirements by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), we will be seeking shareholders’ approval to raise up to N200 billion from the market. This capital infusion will strengthen and position us for sustained growth.”

Odubiyi also highlighted the performance of the holding company’s current subsidiaries; Sterling Bank, a conventional bank, and The Alternative Bank, an ethical banking business, and intimated shareholders on the group’s intentions to build non-banking revenue lines to progress the group’s rapid growth and capture even more value for shareholders by offering a wider range of services under the trusted Sterling brand.

The Group CEO stated that the group will continue its current trajectory by maintaining a customer-centric approach, while making strategic investments in sustainable ventures that align with the company’s core values.

The published results maintain the trajectory of growth Sterling has achieved against the backdrop of macroeconomic headwinds, which have severely impacted the profitability of large corporations and small businesses alike in Nigeria.

Industry observers will recall that Sterling HoldCo recently completed a significant milestone by transforming from a bank to a full-fledged financial holdings company by delisting, transferring, and relisting all shares to the Sterling Financial Holdings Company on the floor of the NGX.

The holding company affords Sterling the opportunity to leverage its successful HEART strategy, which has seen the group make consolidated investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Transportation sectors, growing the company’s year-on-year profits to record highs in recent years.

With the adoption of the Holdco structure now in full effect, Sterling now possesses the latitude to make inroads into other sectors within financial services, such as pensions, asset management, payment services, real estate, and different verticals, along with the current banking licenses held by the commercial and ethical banking subsidiaries, Sterling Bank and The Alternative Bank, which will operate as limited liability companies within the publicly traded holding company.

Sterling has maintained impressive momentum in recent years, featuring on the prestigious the 100 fastest-growing companies in Africa list for 2023, as published by the globally recognized Financial Times, its citation as Africa’s Most Valuable Commercial Bank Brand for 2023 in a poll conducted by GeoPoll and Kantar for African Brand Magazine, and was been named a top three employer in Nigeria by LinkedIn in the social network’s Top 25 List for 2023.

Renowned for its irreverent brand voice and enviable talent management practices, Sterling recently received three citations for Company Leadership Gender Diversity, Gender Diversity in Supply Chain, and Family-Friendly Workplace as bestowed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) at the Gender Leader Awards 2023.


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Press Release

Why Investors Will Buy Fidelity Banks Offers, By Capital Market Stakeholders




Fidelity Bank Plc started its N127.1 billion combined rights and public offers to a rousing support from the investing public as key capital market stakeholders recalled the symbolic importance of Fidelity Banks impressive growths and investor-friendly disposition over the years.

From the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) to stockbrokers, investors and customers; the N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer received unreserved recommendations, with industry thought leaders citing the performance of Fidelity Bank in its core banking operations and as a quoted company at the stock market.

They said Fidelity Banks N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer was the right way for the nations banking recapitalisation exercise to start as the bank, which has the highest corporate governance rating and an average annual capital gain of more than 100 per cent at the stock market, has strong appeal to the investing public.

Fidelity Bank is offering a rights issue of 3.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N9.25 per share. The bank is also simultaneously offering 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to the general investing public at N9.75 per share.

The acceptance and application lists for the rights issue and public offer, which opened on Thursday, June 20, 2024, are scheduled to close on Monday, July 29, 2024. The rights issue has been pre-allotted on the basis of one new ordinary share for every 10 existing ordinary shares held as at the close of business on Friday, January 05, 2024.

The Doyen of Stockbrokers, the oldest practicing stockbroker, Alhaji Rasheed Yussuff, said Fidelity Bank has good records going for it with its history of impressive growth and profitability and dividend payments.

According to him, the bank is known to the market as a good investment, with evident records of impressive returns and corporate responsibility.

Yussuff, who was already a leading stockbroker and managing director of Trust Yields Securities Limited in 2004-2005 when Fidelity Bank launched its initial public offering (IPO) and listed its shares at the stock market, said the bank has been hitting all positive records that should encourage investors to buy more into it.

Referencing the banks impressive returns, Yussuff, who has more than five decades in the capital market and was principal dealing clerk for ICON Limited/ICON Stockbrokers in 1976, particularly noted that Fidelity Bank has been paying good dividends.

Chairman, Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Mr Sam Onukwue, who recalled the founding days of Fidelity Bank in 1987, said he had watched Fidelity Bank sustained commendable growth trajectory over the years.

He said the bank has shown exceptional growth and resilience, rising from being a private merchant in 1987 to becoming one of the largest, publicly quoted commercial banks in Nigeria. Fidelity Bank is one of the seven Nigerian banks with international banking licences.

Onukwue, who is also managing director of Mega Equities Limited, said Fidelity Banks history of performance underlines the strength of its management, noting that the bank has proven to be able to keep investors trust.

Chairman, Nigerian Exchange (NGX), Mr. Ahonsi Unuigbe said the combined offer marked a pivotal moment for the bank and the financial services sector.

This is a testament to Fidelity Banks unwavering commitment to strengthening its own capital base and ensuring sustainable growth through amazing roles played by all of the professional parties to this transaction, Unuigbe, an investment banker and former director at Standard Bank, said.

He said the new banking recapitalisation is aimed at bolstering the resilience and stability of the nations financial institutions.

According to him, the ongoing recapitalisation has set robust minimum capital requirements that will ensure Nigerian banks are not only more solvent, but also capable of supporting the growth and development of the economy.

Acting Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Exchange (NGX), Mr. Jude Chiemeka, commended Fidelity Bank for its performance and willingness to avail the investing public of every relevant information.

He assured that the NGX remains committed to supporting companies like Fidelity Bank in its quests to deepen the capital markets and fostering an environment conducive to sustainable growth and innovation.

Founder, KAM Holding, Dr Kamoru Yusuf, said Fidelity Bank has shown to be an exceptional bank with focus on the development of Nigerian economy and companies.

He said investing in Fidelity Bank will be an investment in the growth of Nigerian economy and companies like KAM Holding, the nations largest wholly indigenous metal and steel production company.

Yusuf, whose group has metamorphosed into a global business conglomerate operating in three countries across two continents, confirmed that KAM Holding has benefited immensely from financial supports from Fidelity Bank.

Yusuf, who was physically present at a session at the NGX to present facts behind the offer to the investing public, underlined the relationship between increased capital for a business-focussed bank like Fidelity Bank and the overall development of the Nigerian economy.

Addressing the investing public at the NGX, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Dr Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, reiterated the commitment of the bank to delivering impressive returns to shareholders and supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy.

She explained that the new capital raising by Fidelity Bank was driven by its proactive business expansion plan having secured shareholders approval to raise new equity funds as early as August 2023. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)s directive on new minimum capital was released in March 2024.

The offer will increase our capacity to support our customers and their businesses. In summary, this capital raise will help our customers to grow, their businesses to thrive, and their economy to prosper, Onyeali-Ikpe said.

She assured that with its groundswell of supports from enthusiastic shareholders, customers and stakeholders, the bank is on course to achieving the N500 billion new minimum capital base, which will clearly confirm the bank, beyond any doubt, as one of the biggest banks in Nigeria.

Onyeali-Ikpe noted that being the first bank to launch offer out of the many banks in Nigeria after the CBN directive, Fidelity Bank has shown again to be a pace-setter.

According to her, Fidelity Bank seeks the CBN recapitalization directive as a significant opportunity for a stronger and more resilient banking industry.

We have embraced the challenge as a catalyst to propel us, towards a long-term vision of becoming a market leader across every product that we offer and segment that we sell, not just in Nigeria, but as an international bank, Onyeali-Ikpe said.

She said the proceeds from the N127.10 billion capital raising exercise would be instrumental in achieving its strategic growth plan.

She highlighted that the funds, firstly, would be deployed to drive, business growth and regional expansion.

We will strategically expand our footprints within and outside Nigeria to serve as a broader customer base and to unlock new market opportunities.

Secondly, we will have what we call technological transformation. We are committed to leveraging proprietary technology to improve operational efficiency and deliver exceptional customer service.

Thirdly, we intend to diversify and grow. By investing in information technology (IT) infrastructure and product distribution channels, we will aim to diversify our earnings base through digitalization and business expansion, Onyeali-Ikpe said.

She said the management recognised the importance of investors and are committed to delivering value to them as well.
Our track record of accelerated growth and consistent dividend payment is a testament to this, Onyeali-Ikpe said.

A recent review had shown that Fidelity Bank outperformed all major market indices for measuring returns at the Nigerian stock market, with the banks average annual return over the past five years twice the average return by the overall market and almost four times of average return in the banking sector.

A review of official trading reports at the Nigerian stock market showed that investors in Fidelity Bank have earned more than 507 per cent in capital gains over the past five years, between May 31, 2019 and May 31, 2024
Fidelity Banks share price rose by 507.14 per cent over the period, representing average annual capital gain of 101.43 per cent. This significantly exceeds all other major return benchmarks, including the banking sector.

With 507 per cent capital gain in five years and average annual gain of more than 100 per cent, the return analysis implies that investment in Fidelity Bank is more attractive than other class of assets, including fixed-income securities such as government and corporate bonds; real estate investment and mutual funds among others.

These returns underscore Fidelity Banks immense value as a stock for all times, helping investors to hedge against inflation while preserving significant long-term value.

The high divisible nature of shares investment and high free float of Fidelity Bank, which makes the banks shares easily available, underline the bank as a most attractive investment option for all cadres of investors- small, medium and high networth; retail and institutional investors.

The All Share Index (ASI) – the common, value-based index that tracks all share prices at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), which is widely regarded as Nigerias benchmark for equities market, recorded a five-year return of 219.61 per cent, an average annual return of 43.9 per cent.

Contrary to the significantly above average performance of Fidelity Bank, the NGX Banking Index-which tracks the banking sector, doubled by 120.53 per cent over the five-year period, representing average annual return of 24.11 per cent, more than 77 percentage points below Fidelity Banks average return.

Two other major price indices- the NGX 30 Index and NGX Main Board Index, recorded five-year cumulative return of 185.73 per cent and 265.6 per cent respectively, representing average annual gain of 37.15 per cent and 53.1 per cent respectively.

The NGX 30 Index tracks share prices of the 30 largest companies at the stock market while the NGX Main Board Index represents the largest and most diversified group of listed companies at the stock exchange. Fidelity Bank is quoted on the main board, like most other major banks and companies at the stock market.

The average annual return of 101.43 per cent underlines that Fidelity Bank provides substantial return for investors, even where such investors had borrowed money at the ruling interest rate and the invested fund was adjusted for impact of inflation rate.

Nigerias inflation rate peaked at a high of 33.69 per cent in April 2024 while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) recently increased the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), otherwise known as benchmark interest rate, to 26.25 per cent.
Fidelity Banks share price, which closed May 31, 2019 at N1.68 per share, rose successively to N10.20 per share by the end of May 2024.

The ASI had, during the period, rose from its opening index of 31,069.37 points to close weekend at 99,300.38 points. The NGX Banking Index rose from 361.57 points to 797.37 points. The NGX 30 Index, which opened the period at 1,286.68 points, closed the period at 3,676.44 points. The NGX Main Board Index appreciated from 1,267.54 points to close weekend at 4,634.31 points.

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