In Nigeria, it is a trend that individuals do not make proper investigations on important issues before making utterances or assertions capable of causing damage or tarnishing images. Ideally, hearsays and baseless rumors are meant to be penalized or possibly banned, if you ask me. I have heard so many things about Heritage Bank (good and bad) and decided to do this post after my concrete research. And why Heritage Bank, you may ask? I, for one, am a proud supporter of entrepreneurship to the core. Since this is a huge success story, why not tell it? Besides, it could be any other brand. People must know the truth! This will help us make wise financial decisions.
Now, let me take you down memory lane – through the whole factual story.
Heritage Bank was rebirthed from the former Societe Generale Bank, Nigeria (SGBN), whose operational license running right from the 1980s, was revoked in 2006. Afterwards a group of young investors put money together and approached the owners of Societe Generale Bank (SGBN). A meeting between SGBN, the new investors and the CBN ensued and after deliberations, a decision was made: 80% of the bank was to be bought by the new investors, 11% to depositors who had indicated interest to convert their deposits to shares and the remaining 9% to the old shareholders. SBGN was dead for 10 years, but the good news is that the new investors believing in “Resilience”, turned SGBN around and people got their monies and were able to transact their businesses – rare and commendable effort indeed!
Remarkably also, in 2014, Heritage bank led by Mr. Ifie Sekibo as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, acquired Enterprise Bank, which was on the verge of death. This merger was one of the fastest and seamless, but people were the problem, as every other bank has a challenge more often than not. As expected, there was a culture clash amongst people with different orientations from 2 different institutions, Enterprise and Heritage Banks. But, with conversations and engagements, the bank management is taking time to educate staff that everybody must be equal on one platform, running unitedly with one new dream. This is being currently managed and almost becoming achievable as we witness Heritage Bank’s excellent service culture in creating a name and heritage for today’s customers and future generations.
Not to mention some of the numerous laudable feats of Heritage Bank, its foremost plan to set out to be a retail bank is still being upheld, hence, the mix of retail to core business banking is 85:15. According to This Day Newspaper 9th December 2016 interview with the bank’s MD/CEO, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, he made it known that 85% of their customers are retail customers, Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). They have a youth scheme where they have about 1,500 customers on the NYSC scheme and over 50,000 customers on the National Youth Council Joint Programmer. Also, they have a school feeding programme in Kaduna state and a position in every local government in Kaduna state as their pilot for the school feeding programme. Furthermore, they have a farming youth programme in Rivers State that caters for close to 50,000 youths. Quite innovative and breathtaking! Interestingly, the bank just bagged an award from Oyo State for consistent women empowerment.
Little wonder, their slogan goes thus: “Heritage Bank – Your timeless Wealth Partner”.
Below shows the Central Bank of Nigeria’s press release of 15th November, 2016, reiterating that Heritage Bank is not in distress and that all depositors’ funds are safe, whilst the bank remains resilient enough to withstand the present economic storm. Also see link: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/11/no-bank-distress-nigeria-cbn/
Truth be told, this singular bank deserves our commendation and patronage and not the reverse. Don’t you agree with me?