Heritage Bank Targets Systemically Important Bank Status

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Eromosele Abiodun

Having grown its balance sheet size to over N600 billion in just three years, Heritage Bank Plc has said that it is working towards joining the league of systemically important banks (SIBs) in the country.

Currently, the SIBs in Nigeria today are FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank), Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Access Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Ecobank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Plc.

Executive Director, Services Bank, Heritage Bank, Mr. Niyi Adeseun, stated this yesterday when the bank emerged the fastest growing bank in the National Pilot Newspaper award.
Adeseun who received the award on behalf of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, said the objective of the bank is to get there without doing anything unethical.

“We have given ourselves a five year target and we have achieving a massive part of it in three years, if not for this economic slowdown we would have been close if not there now, “he said.
The bank, he added, plans to be in the capital market soon, adding that it also plans to take some of the SMEs it has been working with to the stock market.

“It’s been our plan since the day we started this business. We are not planning to be there alone; we are bringing SMEs that we have helped to grow over the years. Our objective is to produce more Dangotes in the nearest future. We feel happy that some people appreciated what we have done, since we started this institution a few years ago we had a plan and we are gradually working towards achieving our objectives. We thank you for voting us the fastest growing bank. Before we had the business combination with Enterprise Bank, we had about 15 branches; the business combination has helped us spread quickly to the level we are now. Since 2015, we have made effort to be everywhere that we want to be and we are happy that it is been recognised.

“The economic situation in the country is an opportunity for us because where there is a challenge, there is an opportunity. What is happening in Nigeria today is actually happening all over the world. Africa, Europe, and America it is the same problem we are facing, it is economics, it is cyclical. The last time we had economic downturn was in 2008 and this is 2016. This whole this started in 2015 and we did not do anything about it but trading blames. Where we are now requires patience and we need to produce to get out of it. The much talked about economic diversification has not been taken serious, if it has been so the situation would have been different, “he said.

Speaking on how banks can navigate the current economic crisis, he said, “as a bank, we need to begin to do things differently. We need to protect capital, liquidity and ensure that even if you cannot predict where revenue will come from we need to manage cost. This is not the time to have bad loans, some are bad already but the fact is everything is about economics. The main stay of the Nigerian economy is crude oil and it has gun down the way it is. We don’t know how long this will take but if we do the right thing and support the government, we will be out of it. Notwithstanding, we are doing the right thing as a bank by ensuring that we keep our cost low.”