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Union Bank and BFREE Forge Strategic Partnership to Revitalize Loan Portfolios

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Union Bank promotes environmental restoration and commemorates World Environment Day

Union Bank and BFREE Forge Strategic Partnership to Revitalize Loan Portfolios

Lagos, Nigeria Union Bank of Nigeria and BFREE, a cutting-edge German-Nigerian FinTech firm, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This agreement signifies a joint commitment to addressing economic challenges and revitalising distressed loan portfolios in Nigeria. This MOU was formalised during the German-Nigerian Business Forum in Berlin on November 21, 2023.
Under the terms of the MOU, BFREE, in conjunction with its international financing partners, will explore the acquisition of distressed loan portfolios from Union Bank, with a potential investment cap of $40 million. The key focus will be refinancing non-performing loan portfolios, particularly those delayed in repayment or already written off.
Union Bank, a leading provider of loans to Retail customers and Small & Medium Enterprises in Nigeria, has proactively adapted to the challenging economic environment. The ongoing economic pressures have necessitated increased flexibility for loan repayment plans, and BFREE, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), presents an innovative solution.
BFREE’s AI-driven automated interaction with loan customers facilitates discussions and agreements on revised loan terms. This streamlined approach enables the rapid review of many loan agreements within short periods, resulting in higher repayment rates and reduced instances of loan write-offs for Union Bank. It also demonstrates the Bank’s confidence in BFREE’s robust recovery process. This strategic partnership not only positions Union Bank for enhanced financial resilience but also relieves the institution of the burden of managing low-performing loan portfolios.
President Tinubu’s active participation in promoting Nigeria as a prime destination for business and investment underscores the collaborative efforts to attract international businesses. The anticipated increase in foreign currency inflow, particularly USD and EUR, is expected to alleviate pressure on the exchange rate of the Naira, contributing to economic stability.
Speaking about the partnership, Joe Mbulu, Executive Director of Union Bank, said:
“We are excited about the strategic partnership with BFREE as it aligns with Union Bank’s commitment to innovation and adaptability. This collaboration signifies our dedication to finding innovative solutions to the economic challenges faced by our customers. By leveraging BFREE’s advanced AI capabilities, we aim to enhance the efficiency of our loan portfolio management, ensuring flexibility for our customers in these challenging times. This partnership reflects Union Bank’s proactive approach to navigating the evolving financial landscape and reinforces our commitment to providing sustainable financial solutions to individuals and businesses in Nigeria.”
Also commenting on the partnership, Julian Flosbach, Chief Executive Officer of BFREE, expressed:
“BFREE is thrilled to announce our strategic partnership with Union Bank, a collaboration that underscores our joint commitment to innovation and resilience in the face of economic challenges. With a track record of successfully managing over 4 million distressed customers across Africa, BFREE brings extensive experience to the table. Our proprietary AI capabilities will play a crucial role in streamlining Union Bank’s loan portfolio management, offering unparalleled flexibility to customers during these challenging times. The commitment of our financing partners is instrumental in driving this initiative, highlighting their dedication to supporting Union Bank’s revitalisation efforts.”
Union Bank is optimistic that this strategic partnership with BFREE will not only bolster the bank’s financial health but also contribute significantly to the broader economic recovery of Nigeria.

Note to editors:
About Union Bank Plc:
Established in 1917 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. is a household name and one of Nigeria’s long-standing and most respected financial institutions. The Bank is a trusted and recognisable brand with an extensive network of over 300 branches across Nigeria. The Bank currently offers a variety of banking services to both individual and corporate clients, including current, savings and deposit account services, funds transfer, foreign currency domiciliation, loans, overdrafts, equipment leasing and trade finance. The Bank also offers customers convenient electronic banking channels and products, including Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Debit Cards, ATMs, and POS Systems.
More information can be found at: www.unionbankng.com
Media Enquiries: Email acomolayole@unionbankng.com

About BFREE:
BFREE is a FinTech start-up founded in 2020 that has developed a proprietary AI-first ethical credit collection process. BFREE has worked with more than 35 financial institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya and has managed collection processes of over four million distressed retail customers with a cumulative distressed loan value of over USD 400 million.
More information can be found at: www.bfree.io
Media Enquiries: Email Mr. Julian Flosbach (julian@bfree.io)
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Union Bank Advocates for Environmental Restoration; Commemorates World Environment Day

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Union Bank promotes environmental restoration and commemorates World Environment Day

Union Bank promotes environmental restoration and commemorates World Environment Day

Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, has emphasised the importance of preserving and restoring the global habitat through sustainable environmental practices. This clarion call was made during an event organised in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day.

The program, held on June 5th, 2024, at the Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos State, brought together various stakeholders, including environmental rights activists, international partner agencies, corporate institutions, government agencies, and students of select secondary schools, to deliberate and engage in activities marking World Environment Day.

One of the main events on the day was a tree-planting exercise involving various participants and stakeholder representatives. The tree-planting activity was in keeping with this year’s celebration theme, “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,” advocating for the rejuvenation and revitalisation of land devastated by deforestation, erosion, and desertification globally and in Nigeria in particular.
Speaking during the program, Patricia Iwhewhe, Head of Citizenship and Sustainability at Union Bank, echoed the importance of preserving our environment. According to her:

“Land degradation and erosion are not things stakeholders and policymakers can afford to ignore or gloss over. We all must get involved in helping restore and reclaim parts of our environment badly impacted by deforestation and desertification. Union Bank, as a sustainability champion committed to the preservation of our dear planet, appreciates and recognises the responsibility we have as humanity to look after our environment. We will continue to support and participate in programs dedicated to protecting and enriching our precious habitat”.

Stakeholders like the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) have also been invaluable partners in progress and are at the forefront of helping to preserve and protect nature and its resources. This has served to not only improve the quality of human life but also to sustain present and future generations. NCF’s advocacy over the decades has positively impacted and influenced Nigeria’s environmental policy. Union Bank will continue to be a dependable ally in supporting this noble cause of environmental preservation.

Union Bank, through its diverse range of projects and interventions, has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to bequeathing a safer, healthier, and more sustainable environment. The bank’s tangible contributions serve as a beacon of hope, inspiring a brighter and more sustainable future for all.

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FiBOP Partners with Fidelity Bank and CRC Credit Bureau to Educate Students on Financial Literacy

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FiBOP Partners with Fidelity Bank and CRC Credit Bureau to Educate Students on Financial Literacy

FiBOP Partners with Fidelity Bank and CRC Credit Bureau to Educate Students on Financial Literacy

In a bid to instill financial management skills in young minds, the Financial and Business Online Publishers (FiBOP) collaborated with Fidelity Bank and CRC Credit Bureau to organize a financial literacy class for over 100 students from various Lagos schools.

Despite the heavy rain and mid-term break, the students converged on the Muson Centre in Lagos, eager to learn about early-age financial management.

The interactive session, themed “Financial Literacy in a Digital Era: Catching Them Young,” was led by Osasikemwen Ighilen, representing Dr. Tunde Ahmed Popoola, Group MD/CEO of CRC Credit Bureau.

Ighilen emphasized the importance of developing a savings habit from an early age, encouraging the students to set aside a portion of their pocket money or earnings from part-time jobs.

She stressed that this habit would enable them to achieve their future ambitions, whether it be starting their own businesses or securing well-paying jobs.

FiBOP Partners with Fidelity Bank and CRC Credit Bureau to Educate Students on Financial Literacy

L-R: Representing, CRC, Credit Bureau Limited, Brand and Communications Manager, Osasikemwen Ighile; President, Finance and Business Online Publishers (FIBOP), Charles Onwuatogwu and Dan Preston Nwaokorie, Corporate Communications Dept., Fidelity Bank Plc, during the Maiden edition of FIBOP, Mid-Year Summit 2024 on Financial Literacy themed “Financial Literacy in a Digital Era: Catching them Young” at Muson Centre in Lagos on Friday June 14, 2024.

The CRC spokesperson also highlighted the significance of self-discipline, noting that every amount, no matter how small, counts when it comes to saving.

Dan-Preston Nwaokorie, representing Fidelity Bank, echoed this sentiment, urging the students to cultivate financial discipline by regularly setting aside a portion of their income.

By imparting these valuable lessons, the organizers aimed to equip the students with the skills necessary to make informed financial decisions and live fulfilling lives.

FiBOP Partners with Fidelity Bank and CRC Credit Bureau to Educate Students on Financial Literacy

L – R: Representative of the Guest Speaker, Branding and Communication Manager, CRC, Credit Bureau Limited, Osasikemwen Ighile; President, Finance and Business Online Publishers (FIBOP), Charles Onwuatogwu and Representing Fidelity Bank, Corporate Communication Manager, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Dan Preston Nwaokorie, students from various schools and other participants at the Maiden edition of FIBOP, Mid-Year Summit 2024 on Financial Literacy themed “Financial Literacy in a Digital Era: Catching them Young” at Muson Centre in Lagos on Friday June 14, 2024.

 

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Ecobank Reiterates Commitment To Help Adire Industry Leverage AfCFTA…

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Ecobank Reiterates Commitment To Help Adire Industry Leverage AfCFTA…

Ecobank Reiterates Commitment To Help Adire Industry Leverage AfCFTA…

 

… Gets Commendation from Ogun State Government

Ecobank Nigeria has restated its commitment to ensure that Nigeria’s Adire industry leverages the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Speaking at the third edition of the annual Ecobank ‘Adire Lagos Experience’ in Lagos, the Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Kola Adeleke, said the bank is committed to helping businesses exhibiting at the fair explore opportunities available through the Africa trade pact.

The event which is holding at the ultra-modern Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC), has seen over 100 exhibitors showcase locally processed adire attires made by indigenous designers.

“After the program, these 100 merchants, we are going to continue partnering with them. We are going to support them to build capacity. We are going to even use the opportunity for them to improve the quality of whatever they are producing for export purposes. Because ultimately, our goal is to ensure that Adire becomes like an African brand with global acclaim.
“This is very unique for us as an organization because it will help to grow our nation’s economy as we see the export potential there. We are going to profile all these merchants on the Ecobank single market trade hub and then position them so that they will be able to export their products to other countries in Africa and beyond, “he said.

Mr. Kola noted that Adire Lagos’ exhibition is part of the efforts of the bank to support and project the creative industry in the country, adding that as part of a Pan African bank which operates in 33 countries of Africa, Ecobank Nigeria will always look out to support various productive initiatives and the Adire exhibition fits into this goal.

Ecobank Reiterates Commitment To Help Adire Industry Leverage AfCFTA…

(L-R) Kola Adeleke, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria; Bimbola Wright, Director, Ecobank Nigeria; Emmanuel Ikazoboh, Former Chairman, Ecobank Transnational Inc.; Carol Oyedeji, Deputy Managing Director; Dr. Adesegun Akin-Olugbade, OON, Chairman, Luwaji Advisory & Former General Counsel, AFC & ADB.; Titi Olujobi, Director, Ecobank Nigeria; and Kenneth Okere, Company Secretary, Ecobank Nigeria at the Ecobank Adire Exhibition in Lagos.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Ogun State, Dr. Fagbayi Oluwasesan, has commended Ecobank for promoting Adire culture to help improve the sector.

 

Speaking during his visit to the fair, Fagbayi, said: “The fabric is synonymous to Ogun state. We are the custodians of Adire. It is an indigenous textile from Ogun State and we have to protect it. That’s why we are happy with Ecobank for what they’re doing today, assisting us to showcase what God has given to us, protecting it, and also telling the world that this is what is good for us to be using as fabric.”

He also said that the Ogun State government has commenced measures to address the challenge of imported adulterated Adire fabric, which poses a major threat to the local Adire industry.

“The State House of Assembly have commenced steps, through our ministry, to curb the excesses or inflow of Chinese adulterated fabric.

“First and foremost, we don’t need to address it as ‘Adire Chinese’. It is never Adire because it is a print on its own that doesn’t pass through the process of how the fabric is made. The original fabric is made manually, and it passes through nine stages before it is made.
“We are working on that and a committee has been set up with the approval of the Governor that they should go to the market, you know, look at what we can do and come up with a law, probably, though we may not have the capacity to ban it outrightly.
“We’re also taking it up with the National Assembly; the Representative Abeokuta South Federal Constituency has also raised a Bill at the National Assembly that has passed its second reading now. By the time that is done probably we will have the backing of the federal government in banning this adulterated fabric out rightly.”

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