Ecobank Nigeria was the recipient of two awards at the Banks and Other Financial Institutions’ (BAFI) Awards 2021 ceremony held in Lagos during the weekend.
The bank emerged winner of the “Market Confidence and Capital Structure Transaction of the Year” for its Unsecured $300 Million Bond, a fixed-rate 5-year US dollar- denominated bond launched early in the year. The second award is for “Female Economic Advancement Bank of the Year” for the bank’s sustained support for female entrepreneurs and the development of savings and loans products specifically aimed at women through its Ellevate programme.
The BAFI Awards, is organised by the BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU) and Ecobank was commended for the impressive strength and depth of the book on the Ecobank $300 Million Bond transaction, which signaled solid global investor confidence in the financial institution at a time when Nigeria was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession in the 4th quarter, and falling oil prices.
The organizers said that a further proof of market confidence and demand was seen when the bonds were listed on the London Stock Exchange. “The success also stamped market faith in Ecobank Nigeria’s prospects, as it was the second major bond sale by Ecobank Nigeria in the space of two years; the first being an oversubscribed N50 billion Tier-2 issuance in December 2020”, they stated.
On the Ecobank Ellevate proposition, BRIU, said that the programme, which is designed for businesses owned by women, managed by women, have a high percentage of female board members or employees and companies manufacturing products for women, received special attention of the BAFI Awards Review Panel for its comprehensiveness. It described Ellevate as a fully 360º solution, that cuts across Cash Management & Collections, Liability & Loans, and Support & Development, explaining further that, “Being an ‘inside-outside’ award that adheres to the ‘charity begins at home principle’, Ecobank as winner of the Female Economic Advancement Bank of the Year Award has demonstrated a commitment to creating a work environment that allows its female employees to thrive to their full potential within the bank. Ecobank was chosen based on the diversity and scope of Ellevate which is specifically developed for women; being a strong SME banking proposition since many women-owned and women-led businesses fall into this category; a clear, articulated vision to become a ‘Bank of Choice’ for women through training of product development specialists, marketers, and customer service agents on the needs of women; and the service to female customers beyond providing loans, as advice and support are critical to business success anywhere in the world”.
In his comment on the awards, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan said that the strong demand for the bond showed the international appetite for the Ecobank franchise in Nigeria, its unique positioning for facilitating pan-Africa trade and the attractive opportunity for the many investors seeking to back world-class Nigerian corporates.
He also noted that with the Ellevate programme, Ecobank aims to empower 40 million women, being a gender-based proposition designed to empower women-owned and managed businesses in Nigeria, as well as in the 33 African countries and beyond where Ecobank has presence.
The Publisher of BusinessDay, Mr. Frank Aigbogun, said the BAFI Awards is backed by the BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU), noting that nominations for the BAFI Awards are the culmination of a rigorous review process.
He said BRIU and an independent panel of judges evaluated more than two hundred and fifty institutions and benchmark them against their global peers, using several indices in a thorough evaluation process and nominees are assessed for their vision, execution, and market leading propositions. The Publisher added that they also considered factors like corporate values, integrity, workplace culture, gender balance, and other human issues.
Categories in the BAFI Awards cut across banking, insurance, capital markets, investment, pension funds, trustees, registrars, stock broking, and private equity.