Polaris Bank Disburses billions of naira under Its Health Sector Loan in 30 days…still counting

Polaris Bank in its undisputable support for SMEs in the health sector (Private hospitals, Pharmacies, Retailers, Diagnostic centres, etc…) launched a one stop-solution, in September 2019, and has disbursed billions to support the growth of the Nigerian health sector through tailor-made banking products for businesses in this space. This drive was further re-enforced by the CBN N100billion Health sector support fund set aside by the Apex Bank to help cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy and the health sector in particular.

This was made known by the Bank’s Group Head, Products and Market Development, Adebimpe Ihekuna, while commenting on the recently concluded webinar tagged “Managing Health Care Business During and Post-COVID-19".

Eligible participants under the scheme comprise healthcare product manufacturers – pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment; and healthcare service providers/medical facilities – hospitals/clinics, diagnostic centres/laboratories, fitness and wellness centres, rehabilitation centres, dialysis centres and blood banks. Others include pharmaceutical/medical products distribution and logistics services; and other human healthcare service providers as may be determined by the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) from time to time.

Adebimpe explained that the chunk of the disbursements are under the CBN intervention funds at 5% and up to 10 years loan tenor; as well as direct disbursement from Polaris Bank at a with highly competitive terms and conditions. 

She confirmed that healthcare firms/businesses in the value chain who wish to take advantage of the scheme to expand and grow their business, should submit their application at any branch of Polaris Bank or send a mail to: smebusiness@Polarisbanklimited.com to engage a Product Manager for guidance.
Applicants can also visit the Polaris Bank website: www.polarisbanklimited.com for additional details on the CBN N100 billion Health sector support fund and other lines of products.

Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, and services, across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.

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Polaris Bank Agency Banking, SurePadi impacts millions of households in 100 days of operation …processed over N10bn in transaction value

Within its first 100 days of introduction, Polaris Bank’s Agency Banking initiative, SurePadi, has serviced over half a million customers impacting directly an estimated two million households across the seven business regions of the Bank nationwide. 

Beyond the direct impact on customers and households in Nigeria, the sheer volume and value in financial numbers on the gross earnings of the Bank has been significant as the Agency recorded giant strides in the number of services and transaction volumes it processed which was valued N10 billion.

The Bank in a statement quoted its Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Mr. Dele Adeyinka, as explaining that, in the first 100 days of introducing SurePadi, it had carried out over 500,000 services, and transaction volume above N10billion directly servicing over two million households, giving them easy access to cash for businesses and family needs. 

According to Adeyinka: “As a result of this milestone, SurePadi was ranked 5th in Q1, 2020 by the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) report—an indication that it is bridging the gap and helping people to meet their needs of accessing funds; as well as sending money to their loved ones.” 

The CDO further stated that: “This is also part of Polaris Bank’s ongoing effort to drive financial inclusion among the underbanked and unbanked in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) regulatory mandate; intimating that 'from what we have seen so far, we are already making significant progress in this regard.” 

"With SurePadi’s spread across far-flung areas nationwide, this laudable initiative by the Bank has shown another way to bank—without physically visiting a bank’s branch—which allows the customer to make cash deposits, transfer money and enjoy other banking services like bills payment and purchase of airtime amongst others", he opined.

SurePadi Agents ensure individuals in the suburbs do not have to travel long hours to the city for their basic banking needs. This is because the gap between the tech-savvy and the low literacy clients has been bridged by the Agent who represents a convenient and comfortable alternative.

Aside from cash deposits and transfers, Polaris SurePadi is also intended to attract prospects to a host of other products and services that could better their lives as they enjoy the ease, convenience and cost-saving benefits from completing transactions in the comfort of their locality.

SurePadi offers financial benefits for stakeholders with the Bank’s introduction of viable partnerships with Supermarkets, Retail outlets, dealers in FMCG, Petrol Stations, etc. It is unique with comprehensive features to solve financial needs as users now have the opportunity to complete transactions to solve emergency needs without visiting the Bank. 

In this COVID-19 era, where movement is restricted in some major parts of the world—including Nigeria, this platform also serves as one of the many measures by Polaris Bank to support the need to promote social distancing and reduce drastically where physically possible, interactions of customers in bank branches in line with protocols of preventing the spread of the disease

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Polaris Bank Webinar: Expert identifies Telemedicine as a pathway to healthcare delivery in Nigeria

With the widespread incidence of COVID-19 in the country and its impact on healthcare delivery, the practice of telemedicine is being advocated as one of the quickest and effective means of accessing primary healthcare by the majority of Nigerians.
 
This position was canvassed by Mr. Adil Shaikh, the Chief Technology Officer of MeCure, at a recently held Webinar on “Managing Health care Business During and Post COVID-19 era” put together by Polaris Bank.
 
Mr. Shaikh believes that telemedicine offers a game-changing solution to our already overstretched medical services delivery in the country if properly explored and harnessed concertedly by stakeholders, including financial institutions.
 
With respect to expanding coverage, improved and timely access to primary health care services, it was explained that Telemedicine provides patients the opportunity to access online consultation, prescription and delivery of prescribed drugs from certified pharmacies across Nigeria.
 
Mr. Shaikh noted however that telemedicine comes with challenges especially for providers of medical services who wish to explore the initiative; ranging from technology infrastructure, user education & general awareness and connectivity issues on the part of the consumer.
 
He further identified three major areas financial institutions could assist to bridge the gaps. Financial institutions could leverage reach as a result of their large customer base to generate awareness; innovate on digital payments and partner with health institutions.
 
The objective of the webinar among other things was to deepen conversation on healthcare business in Nigeria and explore the huge potentials in the health sector.
 
The virtual engagement attracted participation from all over the world with about 5,000 participants across virtual platforms and social media handles comprising, individuals and business owners from different sectors of the economy but majorly from the healthcare value chain.
 
Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, and services, across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.
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COVID-19: Polaris Bank Mobilizes Healthcare Businesses on funding and Collaboration

Polaris Bank LogoPolaris Bank is positioned to lead and drive the conversation on the need to revolutionize Nigeria's health system and is organising a maiden Webinar with a rich faculty comprising subject matter experts, to brainstorm and aggregate thoughts on the theme: Managing Health Care Business During and Post COVID-19.

The Group Head, Products and Market Development, Mrs. Adebimpe Ihekuna explained that Polaris Bank’s intervention in the sector is informed by the glaring impact of COVID-19 outbreak on healthcare businesses, health and safety of Nigerians at large.

According to Adebimpe: “Government’s ability to effectively tackle the pandemic and other health-related issues during and post COVID-19 is hinged on resilient collaboration of stakeholders in both public and corporate Nigeria.”

The webinar which is scheduled to hold on Tuesday, 26th of May, 2020 from 2pm–3.30pm, will feature some of the leading authorities in the healthcare business, as panelists. They include: Dr. Abiodun Oyenuga of Medical Credit Fund, a Dutch non-Governmental organization, set up to provide support in bridging the gaps in healthcare sector in Africa ; Mr. Adil Shaikh of MeCure Limited , a pioneer provider of Telemedicine and Dr. Itunu Akinware of Medbury Medical Services.

The guest panelists will be speaking on relevant topics including: (1) Overview of the pandemic and its impact on Healthcare businesses with emphasis on how to manage the impact on businesses, Dos and Don’ts and Operational Management going forward; (2) Telemedicine: The possibilities, gaps, business challenges and the role of financial institutions; and (3) Testimonials from the viewpoint of a medical practitioner,” respectively.

The Managing Director/CEO of Polaris Bank, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru will be leading the panel alongside Mr. Segun Opeke, Directorate Head, Lagos Business, as they shed light on Polaris Bank’s contribution to the sector; as well as the Bank’s product offerings and how customers can access health loans from Polaris Bank.

The webinar will be moderated by Dr. Bongo Adi, an Economist and Senior Faculty Member, Lagos Business School.

Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, and services, across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.

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Polaris Bank has been transformed for growth says Abiru

Polaris Bank has been transformed for growth says Abiru

Polaris Bank Managing Director/CEO, Tokunbo Abiru has said the Bank would leverage on its investment in cutting-edge information technology to harness emerging opportunities and mitigate the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business.

Against the backdrop of the impressive financials of the Bank in 2019, the CEO noted in a special media interview held over the weekend that investment in technology infrastructure, comprehensive corporate transformation and a keen focus on customer experience would continue to give the Bank comparative advantage in the Nigerian financial services sector.

Mr. Abiru disclosed that the 2019 performance of the Bank was the result of a corporate transformation that started in September 2018 to help the Bank build a robust foundation for capital preservation and sustainable profitability.

According to him, while the Coronavirus pandemic would undoubtedly impact all economies and sectors, including Nigeria, Polaris Bank’s strong business focus, organizational efficiency, innovation and digitization will provide the winning edge against the emerging disruptions.

He also noted that Polaris Bank’s retail customer segments and commercial businesses will remain thriving and competitive, ensuring that the Bank continues to harness the value of its investments.

“The key drivers of the outcome as shown in the 2019 results were strong earnings from interest and non- interest income as well as through operational efficiency via cost containment, all resulting in a decent cost to income ratio. These measures are key initiatives of our on-going transformation programme,” Abiru said.

Speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, he noted that the COVID1-19 would adversely impact businesses both locally and globally, with credit quality being challenged, business market size already shrinking, and inflationary pressures mounting. He further explained that while no business can hardly outperform the environment where it operates, Polaris Bank will seek ways to maximize all available income sources; while also seeking ingenious means of containing the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

On the impact of technology on banking, Mr. Abiru outlined that the future of banking, like other sectors of the economy, will continue to be shaped by technology. “Just look around you, is there any area of our lives that technology is not reshaping? Why should banking be an exception? More so, if you look at the nature of our business, it lends itself to digital adaptations more than other areas of our lives. The world is a global village; just look at what is happening elsewhere, and you know it is only a matter of when will it catch up with you and not if. So, it is not so much of what I believe, it’s where the world is evidently heading,” Abiru said.

He reiterated that the vision of Polaris Bank remains to be a top, innovative and digital-led retail bank, a preferred partner that provides superior financial solutions to its customers and one that is not afraid to be different from the pack. “The Bank is currently on a corporate transformation journey, which focuses on five key pillars: process, technology, business strategy, brand, and culture alignment. With regards to technology, we have concluded the first phase of our I.T platform refresh to world-class servers and data centres, we are strengthening our cyber-security and network capacity, we have upgraded all our digital channels with robust offerings across mobile banking, internet banking, USSD, POS, ATMs, including agency banking etc. As we reposition our I.T infrastructure to world-class standards, we are implementing a robust digital transformation to actualise our vision of making Polaris a truly digital bank that makes banking more convenient with customised , value-adding product offerings,”

The CEO noted that with all the fundamentals competing well with its industry peers and above the regulatory minimum, Polaris Bank now stands on firmer ground with better margins, lower cost of operations for good returns to stakeholders. He noted that the successful turnaround of Polaris Bank has made it a classic testimony of the turnaround of a troubled bank through a regulator-induced intervention noting that from all indications, the future of the Bank is now very bright as evidenced by the improved prudential ratios.

Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, and services, across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.

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Polaris Bank Declares ₦27.8billion Profit

  • Capital Adequacy and Liquidity Ratios above regulatory requirements
  • To reap benefits of IT investment in 2020

It was cheering news over the weekend as Polaris Bank Limited released its first Audited IFRS 2019 compliant financial result posting a profit before tax of N27.8billion.  The result which posits a compelling narrative in the history of Nigeria’s banking industry followed from the turn-around initiatives undertaken by the leadership of the Bank led by the MD/CEO Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru.

According to the Bank’s first full year financial result released during the weekend, Polaris Bank Limited posted a gross earnings figure of ₦150.8bilion and a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N27.8billion within the first full year of operations. The remarkable achievements coming in the first year of operations of the institution is a clear validation of regulatory induced interventions in the nation’s history.

The Bank also closed the 2019 financial year with Total Assets of N1.1trillion and Shareholders Funds of N83billion. The result shows that Polaris Bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (14%) and liquidity ratio (81%) are well above regulatory requirements demonstrating strong prudential compliance and strong capital buffer, careful liquidity management and resilience.

This result is coming amidst the highly challenging business environment which forced many businesses to cut down on their operating expenses.

The Bank’s customer deposits stood at N857.9billion even as the Bank continues to focus on stable, low-cost deposits and well-diversified portfolio devoid of high concentration. Likewise, the loan book stood at N261billion providing the Bank with the desired headroom to accommodate required growth in risk assets to support the nation’s economic growth.

The Bank equally recorded a Return on Equity (ROE) and Return on Assets (ROA) of 33.0% and 2.4% respectively for the year ended December 31st 2019.

Commenting on the Bank’s performance, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Polaris Bank Limited, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru said that: “the emergence of Polaris Bank on September 21, 2018, has heralded a new dawn as it laid the foundation for institutional competitiveness and service innovation in the nation’s challenging banking space.”  

Expressing satisfaction with the Bank’s new corporate governance regime, the Chief Executive Officer noted that “We shall continue to run an ethically governed Bank, upholding sound risk management practices and proactively taking measures to mitigate the impact of the adverse business environment while the Board and Management continue to guide the Bank towards a path of sustainable growth.

Polaris Bank’s performance has assured a strong positive outlook for earnings, margins, and profitability improvement in its cautious pursuit of loan growth, a sustained strategy for operational efficiency, funding cost optimization, and efficient deposit mix. The headroom for loan creation no doubt presents an opportunity for improved margins.

Going into the year 2020 and despite the challenging macroeconomic environment, The Bank says it is poised to reap the benefits of its investment in both the capacity of its employees to improve service experience as well as in critical infrastructures that will support the digitization of its operations.

Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, services, and digital platforms across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy. The Bank is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which seeks to engage the private sector and the global financial sector to help create a financial sector that serves people and the planet while delivering positive impact.

Click here to view Polaris Bank Ltd's financial results for 2019

COVID-19: Your Safety Matters to Us

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread across the globe on a geometric scale; Tcontainment has become a global challenge as it continues to defy the relentless combined efforts of medical
andscientific experts. To date, about 350,000 cases have been recorded across 192 countries and the
numbers continue to grow. Nigeria has recorded 36 cases so far and, given the trends in other jurisdictions, it is safe to
assume that cases are under-detected/reported, calling for more vigilance.
Bearing in mind the need to reduce personal contact, cash handling and non-essential travel during these perilous
times, we have put the following measures in place in the overall interests of our valued staff and our esteemed
customers

Safety Measures:
We are being guided by the health and safety standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as those
stipulated by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Health and State Governments to
keep our business premises safe for our staff and customers. Consequently:

  • All staff and visitors are compulsorily required to undergo temperature screening and also use hand sanitizers
    provided before entering any of our business locations. Surfaces and areas with high human traffic are regularly
    disinfected.
  • With effect from Monday 23rd March, all non-essential visitors to our business premises are advised to contact us
    through digital, virtual and online channels including social media, telephone, e-mails, online meetings, call
    centers, etc to promote social distancing.
  • Entrance into all our branches will be regulated, limiting the number of persons allowed in at any time to reduce
    human contact to the barest minimum.
  • We have restructured our work-spaces in line with acceptable social distancing policies as laid down by the WHO.
  • We have prohibited international travels for the time being, and requested staff who have recently returned from
    abroad to compulsorily self-isolate for 14 days.

Business Continuity
Given the level of disruptions Covid-19 has brought to business operations and social life in other jurisdictions, as a
customer centric organisation, we have activated our Business Continuity Plan to keep our banking services
available to you through these challenging times. Consequently, we have:

  • Strengthened our digital banking platforms to cater for the expected significant increase in levels of transactions
    and to continue to offer you the unique Polaris experience.
  •  Upgraded our I.T infrastructure to keep our digital offerings even more efficient at this time.
  • Made all necessary arrangements to keep our services running and put recovery centres in place to enable us
    respond to potential business disruptions in the shortest possible time-frames.

Supporting You

  • Our Polaris Salary Advance remains available via *833*12# to support you through this time.
  •  We enjoin you to use our numerous digital channels i.e. Polaris Mobile, USSD (*833#), ATM, Polaris Experience
    (Internet Banking services), POS terminals, for your banking transactions; bills payments, fund transfers, airtime
    and data top-up etc.

Please do not hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager should you need any support at this time.
We remain committed to supporting our customers and contributing to the global efforts against COVID-19.
Yours in Service,
Polaris Bank Limited
Covid-19:
Your Safety Matters To Us

Polaris Bank Commences Agency Banking Solution

…Unveils “SurePadi

As part of its digital banking strategy, Polaris Bank recently introduced its Agency Banking Solution to serve as a vehicle to reach the unbanked and underbanked, as well as deepen financial inclusion across Nigeria.

 The Polaris Agency banking solution known as “SurePadi” is designed to provide convenient and easy access to funds and other banking services in far-flung neighbourhoods, through partnerships with existing and new retail outlets. Research shows that lack of accessible financial service points is a key factor responsible for Nigeria’s high financial exclusion rate.

 According to the Chief Digital Officer of Polaris Bank, Mr. Dele Adeyinka, “The introduction of SurePadi is in line with our plan to deepen financial inclusion by serving the huge unbanked and underbanked population especially in locations where basic banking services are far from reach.”

 Mr. Adeyinka further stated that: “With Nigeria's financial exclusion rate currently at 36.8 percent according to CBN, the goal of achieving 20 percent this year to close the exclusion gap of 16.8 percent is also a factor driving our SurePadi Banking Solution.”

 “The SurePadi banking solution is also one of the ways we are helping to reduce unemployment in the country because when you sign up an agent, one of the benefits is that it provides a means of earning additional disposable income,” he added.

 Agency banking service is a convenient way of providing limited banking services to customers through the use of Agents who usually are non-traditional bankers or banking businesses.

Services offered by SurePadi include; account opening, funds transfer, deposit funds; cash withdrawals, bills payment, airtime top up amongst other services. SurePadi Agents earn additional income in addition to improved status in the community through brand affiliation with Polaris Bank.

 Customers on the other hand will enjoy the convenience and ease that comes with the service, plus low cost of transacting as they are able to save the cost of transportation to banks; they are also able to  access funds  anytime of the day, beyond banking hours (weekends and public holidays).

 A SurePadi Agent can be a registered business such as Limited Liability Company, sole proprietorship, partnership, cooperative society, a large retail distribution network, petrol filling stations (Preferably one with a Supermarket or Store) and dealers in FMCG. In addition, unregistered businesses or individuals including supermarkets, retail outlets, and distributors of mobile network operators, business centers, boutiques, provision shops, and sport viewing centers also qualify to be a SurePadi Agents.

 Customers wishing to become Polaris SurePadi Agents, are advised to visit the nearest Polaris Bank branch with a passport photograph and a valid means of identification: driver’s license; national identity card, International passport or voters’ card and utility bill (Not less than three (3) months from time of presentation).

 Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, and services, across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.

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Polaris Bank commits to climate action and sustainability

…joins leading global banks to sign the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking

 

Lagos, 22 September 2019 – Polaris Bank has joined the United Nations, and other leading banks across the world, to become a Founding Signatory of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking as part of its commitment to climate action and sustainability. The launch and signing ceremony of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking took place on Monday at the United Nations headquarters in New York, United States where the Founding Signatories, comprising CEOs of the leading banks in the world, converged.

Polaris Bank Managing Director/CEO, Tokunbo Abiru, who is among the Bank CEOs in New York, disclosed why Polaris is a founding signatory: “This momentous action to become a Founding Signatory of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking, is borne out of the need to have and practice tenets, values and principles that enable us as a financial institution to exist and excel amidst constant market changes.” He added, “We believe that responsible business practices or principles is not just the right choice, but the only choice, knowing this will ensure long-term societal investments needed for sustainable development; contribute to financial stability and guarantee the success and continuity of the economy,” said the top banker. Additionally, Mr Abiru noted that, “Over the years, we have collaborated with both Government agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations to fight tropical diseases, continually provide financial education across all levels through financial literacy and we have also taken steps to ensuring that our direct and indirect actions as a responsible Bank does not impact the environment negatively. Hence the alignment is a journey we have begun and are fully committed to.”

 A total of 130 banks collectively holding USD 47 trillion in assets, or one third of the global banking sector have coalesced to sign the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking and by implication, promise to strategically align their businesses with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Principles are supported by a strong implementation framework that defines clear accountabilities and requires each bank to set, publish and work towards ambitious targets. By creating a common framework that guides banks in growing their business and reducing risks through supporting the economic and social transformation required for a sustainable future, the Principles pave the way for the transformation to a sustainable banking industry.

 The Principles for Responsible Banking were developed by a core group of 30 Founding Banks through an innovative global partnership between banks and the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). UNEP FI is the UN-private sector collaboration that includes membership of more than 240 finance institutions around the globe.

 Polaris Bank is a customer-centric bank positioned to deliver industry-defining products, services and platforms across all the key market segments.