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Exclusives

GTB, Zenith, UBA lead banks with highest social media followers 

Here is a ranking of Nigerian banks with the highest social media followers.

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GTBank, Zenith Bank and UBA are the top 3 Nigerian banks with the most followers on social media.

In a bid to improve the digital experience of their users, banks have leveraged social media to keep customers updated and also handle feedback and complaints faster. 

Every day, more banks are making social media a priority and are producing digital content that allows them to engage as well as get instant feedback from their customers. 

Remarkably, 11 Nigerian banks made the global list of top 100 banks in English speaking countries that utilized social media for their business in the third quarter of 2019.

Even though social platforms have been around for almost forever, it was only recently that commercial banks decided to join the bandwagon and grow their social following. As a result, the top commercial banks, have rapidly expanded their social following, and in many cases, the number of followers has more than quadrupled. 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are some of the most popular social media platforms in Nigeria, but for our metrics, we will be focusing on the first three.

Here is a ranking of Nigerian banks with the highest social media followers; 

1. GTBank: Taking the top spot is Guaranty Trust Bank with the most social media engagement. Guaranty Trust Bank is the most social bank with the highest number of Youtube views and subscribers, Instagram followers, Twitter followers and Facebook page likes.

The Segun Agbaje-led bank has 1,676,773 followers on Twitter, 720,151 on Instagram, and over 6 million followers on Facebook. GTbank is a social media savvy bank and it constantly puts out relevant and relatable content on its social platforms.

2. Zenith Bank: The Jim Ovia-founded bank is the second on the list with 1,324,373 followers on Twitter, 494,838 followers on Instagram, and 6,087,385 followers on Facebook. Zenith Bank, now run by Ebenezer Onyeagwu recently emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2021. 

3. UBA Group: Third on the list is the United Bank for Africa (UBA) with 817,196 followers on Twitter, 318,686 followers on Instagram and 2.8 million followers on Facebook.

The bank is also known to make use of A-list celebrities like Wizkid to help endear its numerous services to target audiences. UBA currently operates in 20 African countries, the United Kingdom and France. It is also the only African bank with a commercial deposit-taking presence in the United States. 

4. First Bank: Coming in fourth place is First Bank with 579,996 followers on Twitter, 697,801 on Instagram, and over 2.8 million on Facebook. It would be recalled that Access Bank acquired Diamond Bank in early 2019, and this might have contributed to the rise in its number of social media followers. Tier-1 bank, First Bank recently launched virtual payment cards which is a suitable alternative to cash or cheques to foster financial inclusion. 

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5. Access Bank: Led by the charismatic Herbert Wigwe, Access is fifth on the list with 1,324,373 followers on Twitter, 494,838 followers on Instagram, and over 2.6 million followers on Facebook. Access Bank recently became the first full-service bank to acquire merchants who will accept American Express Card payments in the country after partnering with American Express. 

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6. Stanbic Bank:  The bank has 310,103 followers on Twitter, 122,909 on Instagram and over 1.1 million followers on Facebook.  By the end of 2020, Stanbic Bank recorded a profit after tax (PAT) of N83.211 billion with gross earnings of N234.446 billion. 

7. Union Bank is seventh on the list with 221,587 followers on Twitter, 106371 on Instagram and 1,058,653 on Facebook. Founded in 1917, Union bank remains one of Nigeria’s oldest banks. 

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8. Fidelity Bank: With 196,773 followers on Twitter, 134,040 on Instagram and 1,038,239 on Facebook, the bank ranks in the eighth position. Fidelity bank has become one of the top financially stabled banks in Nigeria with a strong presence in all the states and major cities in Nigeria. 

9. FCMB Bank: The Ladi Balogun-led bank ranks ninth on the list with 147,927 followers on Twitter, 152,119 on Instagram and 1,634,836 on Facebook. FCMB was the first bank to be established in Nigeria without government or foreign support.  

10. Sterling Bank: On the tenth position is Sterling Bank with 118,244 followers on Twitter, 106,773 followers on Instagram and 641,131 followers on Facebook. Formally established in 2006 through a merger of five banks and now led by Abubakar Suleiman, the bank has maintained a significant presence on social media. It refers to itself as Nigeria’s most DISRUPTIVE bank and brags about its speedy responses to enquiries & issues resolution. Of course, we can’t forget the Bank Wars which they initiated and got a lot of Twitter users amused.

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It is quite commendable that Nigerian banks have finally come to the realisation of how important the effective use of social media can help their brand and are seizing the opportunity to build on this.

Amazing that what used to be an afterthought for banks is now given special priority with experts being employed to manage these social media accounts. Also, the banks now set aside a huge portion of their marketing/communications budget to care for social media strategy.

Banks, today have had to drop their very official image and become more social, as well as conduct more social engagements on social media, so as to improve the popularity of their brands amongst the young people who form the group of the most active users on these platforms and also, the majority of their customers.

Even though these banks have fully embraced the usage of social media, clearly, some banks are better than others at utlizing social media.

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However, more banks need to observe trends and move towards building consumer-focused brands so that they can engage with their customers and provide information through social media.  

Janet John is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Uyo. She specializes in technical writing where she creates easy to read documentation, articles to clearly and efficiently explain highly complex processes. When she is not writing, she works as a freelance front-end developer

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How does a bank make N19 billion a month?

The strategy for banks globally is to attract deposits at a lower rate than it lends out to borrowers.

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How does a Financial Services Group make N19b a month, post a Profit After Tax figure of N230b in an environment where global commerce virtually ground to a halt in 2020?

The Zenith Bank Plc (Zenith) Year-end 2020 final results are a blockbuster, not just in the quantitative, but the qualitative as well. In all major headline numbers, Zenith posted growth on a Year-on-Year basis, specifically, Gross Earnings are up 5.2%, Net Interest Income up 12%, Customer deposits up 15.3%.

Somehow Zenith grew her loan book by 18% in a recession and reduced the volume of Non-Performing Loans in the same period. Zenith was also able to post a higher revenue number from non-interest income even as yields on fixed-income fell across Nigeria. I must stress, Zenith has posted these results by servicing her target segment of the high-end corporates in Nigeria.

So how did Zenith achieve this? I want to do a deep dive into how to make profits in a recession. However, it is important to start with a background on how banks make money which is basically in two ways;

  • Interest income: which is income generated from the bank gathering deposits from customers and investors and “renting” out these funds to individuals and corporates for a fee called interest. Interest Income is seen as the main business of banks. It is a measure of how well the bank has fine-tuned its people, process, and systems to generate returns from a commodity called cash.
  • Non-Interest Income: This is the income the bank generates from deploying its brands and people to juice revenues from activities that do not necessitate a transfer of cash. For Example, a bank asset management business leverages the bank’s skillsets to earn fees by providing investment advice to clients. Does a business want to expand? The bank can advise on the process to make that happen.

The strategy for banks globally is to attract deposits at a lower rate than it lends out to borrowers. This allows the bank generate a spread between cost and revenue. The bank’s interest spread can be magnified by the number of quality loans it creates as Interest Income rests also on the quality of the loan book. Positive spread drives the funding of other banking services and is supported by the banks internal competencies to manage risk

So a bank makes profits by

  1. Attracting cheap deposits
  2. Earning positive spread
  3. Providing value addition for a fee
  4. Effective Risk Management

All these have to happen simultaneously. A bank that sources expensive deposits by paying higher rates generates a lower spread. Lower spread exposes the bank to cost overruns and will prove fatal to long-term growth.

With this in mind, let’s review Zenith FY 2020 Performance

  • Attracting Cheap Deposits: In 2019, Zenith’s total interest expense, which represents how much it paid to get deposits was N148b, that figure dropped in 2020 to N121b. this means the bank was able to grow deposits by 25% but at a lower cost. How? Zenith changed her deposit mix, reducing borrowed funds/leases and time deposits by 41% and 38% respectfully and increasing the share of current accounts by 155%. By swapping the deposit mix, the bank’s cost of funds ratio fell by 18mn%.
  • Earning Higher Spread: Zenith grew Net Interest Income by 12.2% in 2020. This figure represents income earned from the deposits and investments of the banking group. Again, this was achieved by asset mix reorganization. In the face of falling rates especially on shorter-dated FGN instruments, Zenith shifted allocation from Treasury bills to longer-dated FGN bonds which paid a higher yield. Zenith’s Non-interest Income also grew to N275b a 5% jump from 2019. This is driven largely by extraordinary items including foreign currency revaluation gain, which is the gain realized from the revaluation of foreign currency-denominated assets. I must highlight this. Zenith was able to post a gain of about N43b which is a 256% gain from FY 2019 based on the Naira being devalued to the US Dollar.
  • Providing Value Addition: Value addition will include all non-core banking services Zenith Group provides to the public including subsidiaries like the Zenith Penson Custodians which has N4t in assets under custody. Commission on agency and collection was a big contributor to Zenith’s non-core banking revenue.
  • Risk Management: Zenith was efficient in deploying its internal competencies to minimize and avoid risk and impairments from the ordinary and extraordinary course of business. Zenith like other financial institutions saw a pullback in commercial activities from her clients. Take the Commerce subsector, the Non-Performing Loan share in that sector grew from 9% to 24%. Zenith, booked an increase in the number of NPLs by volume to N125m in FY 2020 but the bank was able to keep the NPL ratio down to 4.29%. An extraordinary feat.

Overall, the bank was able to navigate a difficult year and post a good return and a handsome dividend of N3 to investors. Zenith was able to achieve all this while increasing the staff strength by 4.6% to 7555 employees.

However, there are red flags as well:

  • Net Interest Margin was down in FY 2020 as yields declined. If yield continues to stay muted, can Zenith keep finding profitable avenues to invest that N5.34 deposit base?
  • Interest income positive in FY 2020 at 420b but when compared to 2017, interest income is falling.
  • If you ignore the revaluation gain, then Non-Interest income will be considerably muted, possibly negative in FY 2020
  • Fees on electronic products fell 36% in an environment where online banking has been not just sound business practice, but life-saving as well.

Overall, in an environment with months of local and international shutdowns, Zenith has posted good numbers and demonstrated it is possible to eke out gains from a hard environment. When one looks at the dividend yield, P.E. Ratio of the bank, for me, this is a Buy.

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Exclusives

Unemployment, underemployment needs to be addressed with urgency in Nigeria – Jobberman

Femi Balogun of Jobberman Nigeria has highlighted some of the challenges employers and job seekers are currently facing in Nigeria.

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Unemployment has been a bane of many countries, especially in Nigeria, as there are projections that the nation’s unemployment rate will reach an all-time high of 31.4% in 2021.

In this interview with Nairametrics, the Head, Research, Evaluation and learning efforts at Jobberman Nigeria, an online career portal, Femi Balogun, explained that not enough jobs are being created. In 2018, he said Nigeria only created about 450,000 new jobs while over 5 million people joined the labour force.

To him, limited interaction between employers and job seekers as well as policy and cultural constraints are at the core of the employment challenges the nation currently is facing. Excerpts: 

How would you assess unemployment in Nigeria, especially with the second wave of Covid-19?

Unemployment has been a critical issue for the country and this has deepened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), between Q3 2018 and Q2 2020, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 23.1% to 27.1%, while the underemployment rate rose from 20.1% to 28.6%. Recent projections also suggest that, in 2021, Nigeria’s unemployment rate will reach an all-time high of 31.4%.

A number of factors contribute to this. Firstly, is that not enough jobs are being created – in 2018 for instance, Nigeria only created about 450,000 new jobs while over 5 million people joined the labour force. Furthermore, gaps within our education system also contribute to this challenge as World Bank data suggests that 18 – 20% of tertiary graduates will require training interventions for about 1 – 4 years to become employable. At the same time, limited interaction between employers and job seekers as well as policy and cultural constraints are that core of the employment challenge we are currently faced with.

The issues that mitigate such high levels of unemployment and underemployment needs to be addressed with urgency.

If Nigeria is home to about half of West Africa’s young people, what size of the population are jobless?

With a population of 200 million, young people make up half of the country’s population. According to PWC unemployment is highest amongst youth between 15-34 years (41% amongst 15-24-year-olds and 31% amongst 25 – 34-year-olds), and this group constitutes 35% of the country’s population – one of the largest in the world.

Data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics has also shown that the number of unemployed 24-year-olds [40% of the youth labour force] in the country has almost tripled to 14 million since 2014.

How would you assess skill gaps in Nigeria and what sectors are most affected?

Our evaluation of the jobs market shows high competency in digital skills at entry-level positions but as the skills required advance, there is a dramatic fall in qualified candidates and applications made.  For instance, there is an overwhelming skills gap in three subsectors – Software Development, Digital Analysis and Network & Cybersecurity.

Within the Software Development cluster, our findings indicate that 73% of job seekers rate their proficiency at a beginners level across skills such as computer programming, cloud infrastructure, UI/UX, web design, mobile development and design thinking. Likewise for Digital Analysis and Network & Cybersecurity clusters.

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This creates a demand gap for positions such as Security Engineering, Data Science, Cyber Security and Security Architecture with a demand scale ranging between 10% and 45%.

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Within the Digital Marketing sub-sector, data suggests growing competencies in social media management and content development with proficiency ratings above 40% at advanced levels. Identifying a skills gap in Sales, Marketing Campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation with proficiency levels as low as 8.13% and no higher than 16.92%.

Based on your experience and available data, what are the factors responsible for this gap?

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Although young people are described as digital natives, there is a digital literacy gap which excludes young people from harnessing the opportunities that the digital economy presents. This can be attributed to challenges such as insufficient access to the internet, dated curriculum and lack of career development courses.

This challenge can, in part, be linked to gaps within the education system that prevents young people from developing skills (technical and soft skills) and gain the required confidence to be employable.

This gap in human capital optimisation is at the core of the inefficiency in Nigeria’s labour market as Nigeria captures only 49% of its full human capital potential, compared to a continental average of 55%, ranging from 67% in Mauritius to 44% in Chad

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What role do you think the government can play in addressing these issues?

The improved performance of the digital sector is, in part, derived from improvements in reforms and governance. In order to take advantage of emerging opportunities within the digital sector, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy launched the National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy (NDEPS). This has helped to forge partnerships towards advancing an inclusive digital economy.

To achieve the goal of lowering the access barrier to digital tools for the citizens, the government has set a benchmark of 95% digital literacy rates to be achieved in the next ten years (2030) through States and LGAs support.

It is expected that through the policy, young people will be equipped with the necessary skills to acquire decent jobs while transforming Nigeria into a leading digital economy.

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What precisely do you suggest government should do?

There are a number of things the government can do: One is to invest in Human Capital Development. The government can do well by strengthening education institutions and supporting reforms in education to develop industry-relevant curriculum for improved skills, while also galvanising support for digital skills and soft skills training especially for women and marginalised communities.

Another is to Create an Enabling Environment. A friendly regulatory environment is imperative for the digital economy to grow. Similarly, investing in infrastructure that enables ICT adoption (such as broadband internet and electricity) are crucial.

Support the Innovation Ecosystem: Courting public-private partnerships to stimulate and sustain the demand for the use of digital platforms as well as advancing policies that improve business climate will be useful in boosting investment opportunities.

What are the most sought after roles businesses are looking out for in the employment market based on the data from the Jobberman site?

We have seen an increase in roles in the technology sector since April 2020, when we ran our “Unity in Adversity” campaign. Technology had most of the new jobs with 18.79%, followed by banking, finance and insurance with 9.27% and education and training with 6.78%.

What can we do differently in our educational system to better prepare our graduates for the jobs out there?

A transparent jobs market which gathers live data about the various sectors, job demands and skills required will help to strengthen educational institutions and support reforms in education, as well as develop industry-relevant curriculum.  Jobberman is striving for a 100% transparent market which will only be achieved when all jobs are posted online.

We are on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, children in primary school need to be developing IT skills so they can make the transition from school to work.

What are the challenges you go through gathering data?

I think it’s mostly the availability of accurate information. Data capture and storage is becoming increasingly important on the continent but we are just starting to build. We had to go through extra effort to make sure that all the information we provided in the report was true and up to date.

COVID-19 has made it even more difficult to collect data both quantitative and qualitative. Now we have to conduct interviews and focus group discussions online. The pandemic has also helped us to realise that online data collection is a growing culture with a wide gap to cover.

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