FIRSTBank of Nigeria Limited has assured its stakeholders that it will maximise to their advantage, opportunities from the disruptions occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.
The bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Thursday, gave the assurance at the bank’s Virtual Corporate Customers forum webinar, themed, “Navigating the Financial Impact of COVID-19 – Business Leaders’ Role in Finding a ‘New Normal’. “
Adeduntan said that, “COVID-19 is giving business leaders an opportunity to rethink on an established wisdom. It is a major crisis that we need to deal with and we must change it from a bad to good crisis.
“It offers an opportunity to reinvent our business. We have to think without the box.”
In his presentation, “Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Nigeria Financial Sector,” Adeduntan said the pandemic had put significant pressure on revenue and profits of commercial banks.
Adeduntan explained how the banking industry was witnessing more stringent interest rates, higher foreign exchange funding cost and concerns on level of foreign reserves, among others.
He feared that the pandemic had led to an increase in the level of cyber attacks due to migration to digital channels, but assured customers that the bank would overcome the pandemic.
With bank already in existence during the 1918 pandemic, the CEO said the bank, “weathered it and would still shake off COVID-19 pandemic. Our customers are right in there at the centre of our business.”
As part of palliative measures to help its customers and Nigerians through the times of COVID-19 lockdown, he said the bank has introduced moratorium to give customers more time to repay their loans.
Group Executive, Treasury & Financial Institutions of Firstbank, Mr Ini Ebong, said that the foreign exchange market was under immense pressure due to exit of portfolio investors and that the demand for dollars was heightened due to collapse of oil price and coronavirus pandemic.
The FirstBank’s Group Head, Corporate Banking Group (Manufacturing) Ms Bunmi Bajomo, noted that fundamental change requires fundamental actions by corporates, governments, customers and consumers.
In a presentation, “Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Manufacturing Sector,” Bajomo, said, ”there is always an opportunity in any crisis,” and “corporates should be careful and smarter with operational expenses.”