The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Limited, Dr. Ifie Sekibo, has said that the bank will continue to support the Nigerian economy by extending credit to small and medium enterprises (SME).
Sekibo who was delivering the 2016 Institute of Credit Administration (ICA) Awards lecture in Lagos recently said: “At Heritage Bank, we look forward to a future of possibilities with a firm belief in the economy of Nigeria. One of the corporate goals of the bank is to ensure that at least one (if not more) of the start-ups it has financed is listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange within 10 years of inception.”
At the awards ceremony, Sekibo was conferred with Corporate Credit Provider of the Year while Mrs. Adaeze Udensi, an Executive Director of the Bank, was awarded with Credit Management Director of the Year.
Other officials of the bank that were recognised at the 2016 awards ceremony of the ICA are Prince Akamadu, a Chief Internal Audit Executive of the Bank and Damian Orizu, Head, Special Recovery Tax Force, Heritage Bank, while, Ms. Olatomi Oyesola and Ms. Uwalaka Nneka were inducted into ICA as New Fellow and Associates, respectively.
Delivering the lecture entitled: Corporate Credit in Nigeria, the Heritage Bank boss observed that the Nigerian economy had experienced major contractions within the last 15 months due to various internal and external factors.
The MD/CEO of the Bank who was represented by the Executive Director of the Bank, Mr. Jude Monye said the internal factors ranged from the scarcity of foreign exchange, Niger Delta bombings of crude oil installations and low fiscal activities by various tiers of government, adding that the external factors were the drop in the price of crude oil which has affected the country’s foreign exchange earnings and reduced foreign investment.
The Heritage Boss said these factors had culminated in the contraction of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product over the last three quarters with the most recent being a 2.24 percent drop in the third quarter of 2016.
According to him, empirical studies have shown that efficient provisioning of credit has a positive effect on output and employment opportunities while a low level of financial development and its attendant inefficient private sector credit system distorts economic growth, remarking that a strong and inclusive financial system plays vital roles in financing economic projects and activities that would promote economic growth and development.
“The role of credit in economic development has been recognised as credits are obtained by various economic agents to enable them meet various needs, adding that the banking sector, of which Heritage Bank is a part helps to make these credits available by mobilising surplus funds and channeling such funds in form of credit to investors who have brilliant ideas on how to create additional wealth in the economy but lack necessary capital to execute those ideas.
For instance, Heritage Bank loan portfolio showed remarkable growth from N25 billion in 2013, N41 billion in 2014 to N175 billion in 2015 because of the recently concluded business combination with the former Enterprise Bank Limited which has further expanded its franchise and provided it an opportunity to reach more customers with the Heritage Brand.