INSPITE of conspiracies to embarrass award-winning Heritage Bank, the financial institution was yesterday approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to transact foreign exchange businesses, even as the apex bank reinstated some others to deal in the critical market. Announcing the reinstatement of
the banks, the CBN director, Banking Supervision Department, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins stated that the Body of bank CEOs, under the auspices of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, met with the Committee of Governors of the CBN and presented a payment plan for all outstanding United States Dollars deposits from the NNPC/NNLG in their possession to the Treasury Single Account, TSA. Speaking during the briefing, e president in Council of CIBN, Mr. Segun Ajibola stated that the Body of Bank CEOs in partnership with the CIBN decided to seek for the resolution of the situation in the interest of the Nigerian economy. It would be recalled that the apex bank had earlier banned some banks from dealing in the forex market for non-remittance of US Dollars deposits from the NNPC/NLNG in their possession to the TSA until concerned banks had complied with the directive. Also in attendance at the briefing was the managing director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, who revealed that the Body of Bank CEOs met with the CBN Committee of Governors in order to resolve the issue. Nigerian Pilot gathered that part of the reasons that led to the approval given to Heritage Bank was the bank’s unique services which centre on building and guiding youths in their entrepreneurial bids, as well as the bank’s major role in encouraging diverse investments across sectors of the nation’s economy. For instance, in tune with its averred belief in the youth of the country, Heritage Bank partnered with the CBN in the N3billion Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme, YIEDP, to empower young graduates with the most recent phase that was kicked off with the invitation of over 1500 applicants for a training workshop not too long ago. According to the bank’s head of Corporate Communications, Olusola Longe-
Okenimkpe, following the inauguration of the initiative by the CBN and the subsequent launch of a business application portal by Heritage Bank in March this year, no fewer than 4000 applications were received. Commenting on the development, managing director of the bank, Mr. Ife Sekibo noted that the aim of Heritage Bank being in the forefront of youth empowerment was to emancipate the latent entrepreneurial spirit in the teeming youths, by providing adequate and affordable loans to execute their business ideas and, hopefully, migrate them to successful Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, thereby providing the mechanism of stimulating growth, reducing unemployment as well as addressing youth restiveness in the country. Also at Heritage Bank, real partnerships with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are cultivated. The goal, according to the bank’s strategists, is to make beneficiaries practically becoming part of a family. It is thus designed to give the customer access to the CBN’s single digit loan, enjoy a direct link to easy funding through Heritage’s unique Paris Klub Scheme, even as the customer gets business advisory services via regular business clinic events. Yesterday, officials of Heritage Bank expressed their eagerness to resume enduring relationships with their foreign exchange customers, as they urged them to return to take advantage of the personal services for which the bank has been known over the years. Early this year, Heritage Bank won the prestigious Fastest Growing Bank award instituted by the Leadership Forum.