First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is set to further empower, reward and enhance the experience of its customers through another bumper reward scheme tagged ‘’FCMB Millionaire Promo Season 5’’. This follows the tremendous impact the previous editions of the promo made in the lives of about twenty thousand customers of the Bank who won various gifts, including cars, cash (ranging from N1 million to N5million), refrigerators, phones, decoders, television and power generating sets. In a statement, FCMB explained that the Millionaire Promo Season 5, which runs from March to October 2018,is targeted at all segments of the society, especially existing and potential savings account customers of the Bank. This however, excludes salary and domiciliary account holders. The promo has been designed to provide extra empowerment value to customers of the Bank, reward them for their loyalty over the years, while also encouraging financial inclusion, the establishment of small scale businesses as well as the development of a savings culture.
During the promo, various exciting prizes will be won by qualified customers. While four lucky customers of the Bank will each win the star prize of N2million at the grand finale of the promo scheduled for November this year, 12 others will be rewarded with N1million each at the regional draws that will respectively hold in May, July and September. Other fantastic prizes to be won include 160 units of LED television sets, 160 power generating sets, 640 smart phones, 320 tablets and 800 decoders among other consolatory takeaways. On how to participate in the FCMB Millionaire Promo Season 4, all an existing or a new customer of the Bank needs do is to increase his or her balance by N10,000.00 in any of the eligible savings account and maintain it for 30 days to qualify for the Zonal and Regional electronic selection of winners where the star prize of N1million and other fantastic prizes will be won. Multiple savings of N10,000.00 will increase chances of winning.
To qualify for the grand finale draws, existing and new customers are to increase their balances up to N50,000.00 and maintain it for 30 days. Multiple savings of N50,000.00 will also increase the chances of winning. Speaking about the Millionaire Promo Season 5, FCMB’s Executive Director, Retail Banking, Mr. Olu Akanmu, said, ‘’FCMB promo is very credible. The draws in the coming season will still take place in all the zones of the Bank across Nigeria. Winners will be emerging from every region, spread across cities, towns and neigbourhoods all over the country. The strength of the FCMB franchise is very remarkable across Nigeria. This accounts for the millions of customers who are doing their savings and banking transactions with us, daily using all our channels. We will continue to reward our customers for their patronage. They are the reason why we are in business and we are poised to continue to serve them with excellent customer experience’’.
He urged existing and potential customers of the Bank to take advantage of the huge opportunities the promo offers. The FCMB reward scheme has continued to generate wide appeal across the country since it commenced in 2013. Winners, customers, regulatory bodies and other segments of the society have all commended the Bank for sustaining its empowerment support to the populace. In his testimony, Musa Ele, one of the winners of N2million at the grand finale of the Millionaire Promo Season 4, which ran from March to October 2017, expressed gratitude to the financial institution for being a true partner in progress. He stated, ‘’I am very grateful to FCMB for coming-up with this promo, because without it, I would not have the opportunity to win the N2million. I am very grateful to FCMB and I believe the Bank will continue to help many people’’.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial service institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail and commercial banking-led group, the Bank has continued to distinguish itself by delivering exceptional services, while enhancing the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of its customers.
Nigerian media industry by empowering its practitioners with the requisite tools and knowledge that promotes the values of professionalism and ethics in the discharge of their duties. This, according to the Bank, is as a result of the critical role the media plays in national development. FCMB gave the assurance at an interactive and capacity building forum it organized for media executives and correspondents based in Abuja and the Northern Region on February 9, 2018. The forum had a foremost financial and media expert who is also the Chief Executive Officer of RTC Advisory Services Limited and lecturer at the Lagos Business School, Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje, as guest speaker.
In his address at the event, the Group Head, Corporate Affairs of FCMB, Mr. Diran Olojo, explained that it is part of the Bank’s initiatives to further promote excellence, build capacity of media practitioners, spur ideas, deepen relationships and appreciate their contributions over the years to the success of the Bank since its establishment 34 years ago. According to him, ‘’at FCMB we recognize the strategic importance and role of the media not just in promoting our business, but in the areas of agenda setting, providing solutions and dissemination of quality and balanced communication that drives national unity and development in a sustainable manner. As an institution anchored on the culture of excellence and professionalism, we will continue to champion and execute initiatives that would assist the Nigerian media industry and journalists perform optimally as the fourth estate of the realm and key influencers. We therefore urge our media practitioners to reinvent themselves and expand the frontiers of their knowledge by adopting innovative skills that would help them meet the dynamics of the profession while upholding due diligence and ethics that conform with global best practices’’.
Mr. Olojo told the gathering that as an inclusive lender, FCMB will continue to offer and deliver cutting edge solutions that provide the best customer experience. He added that the Bank is resilient and focused on sustaining the momentum of its position as a top financial institution by supporting initiatives that would enhance the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of its customers as well as the overall prosperity of Nigeria. In his paper titled, ‘’The Nigerian Economy and Financial Sector in 2018’’, the guest speaker at the media parley, Mr. Agbaje, observed that having overcome the recession in some critical areas, things were looking up for the nation’s economy going by the positive signals shown by several macroeconomic indicators, such as stable exchange rates, growing foreign reserves and inflation. The former Senior Banker however noted that, “there are a couple of areas of the economy – the non-oil economic sectors that require more passionate attention. They include the manufacturing, employment and the domestic food sectors. In addition, there are also a few fuel subsidy concerns. A lot of cleaning up is going on in the financial sector while portfolios and profitability are improving. From a number of indications, the economy should record incremental improvements in 2018, over 2017. However, the recovery is mainly powered by the oil sector. It is also imperative for our economic system to be skewed towards an investment-led growth strategy to facilitate sustainable development across all sectors’’.
Mr. Agbaje, a one-time Chairman of Convention on Business Integrity, also urged the media to brace up to the challenges of the profession by playing more active roles in not just reporting activities, but serving as a compass to society. He added that it is the responsibility of media practitioners to ensure diligence, ethics, fairness and professionalism in the discharge of their duties in order to promote peace, understanding and progress. Over the years, FCMB has organised series of initiatives to empower and build the capacity of the media industry. For instance, the Bank in 2016 hosted financial journalists to a parley under the theme ‘’Raising the Bar’’, which had the Chief Executive of Corporate Shepherds Limited, Mr. Idorenyen Enang, as guest speaker. In 2015, it organised a similar capacity building programme for journalists in the new media. Among the guest speakers was an international journalist, Mr. Inigo Gilimore, who spoke on the topic, ‘’Stimulating Responsible New Media Journalism: A Pathway to International Recognition’’.
In addition, FCMB in 2014 brought together media executives to a training programme on, “Sustainable Banking in Nigeria: The Role of the Media”. The session had theManaging Director of UK-based Sustainable Finance Advisory Limited, Carey Bohjanen, as guest speaker. First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is set to motivate about 100 customers among its youth segment with cash rewards, other exciting prizes and engagements to commemorate this year’s Valentine’s celebration. In its annual campaign tagged, “Banking on Love”, the lender said many young and even some older people view the February 14th Valentine Day celebration as solely defined by the day’s activities with their chosen partners and loved ones.
Today, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited thinks differently. The Bank, speaking through its Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Diran Olojo, enjoined the youth to see love as a virtue that is all encompassing. FCMB said love is more about care, giving, commitment, passion, trust and responsibility for the comfort, protection, security and happiness of the next person with an open mind and genuiness of purpose. He stated that the position further goes to define some of the activities engaged in by the Bank which pays close attention to many segments of the Nigerian society. According to Mr. Olojo, “at FCMB, it is not all about business at all times. There is a strong propelling philosophy which also drives us to be concerned about the best way to positively affect our immediate environment. How best to reach and impact the less-privileged. We always think about the best strategies to adopt to help the needy people in our society. We care about the orphans, the widows, the aged people, our youths and the internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have been affected by insurgency, man-made and other natural disasters. We believe one of the positive outcomes of sound corporate governance, is impacting positively on lives and communities in Nigeria. Indeed, as businesses act responsively and boost their performance indices, they should also devote a part of their income to giving back to the society by engaging in various life-changing activities. At FCMB, we have been guided’’. This year’s Banking on Love campaign will include cash awards and some giveaways to many youth customers during and after Valentine celebration, a global event that climaxes on February 14th. N10,000 each is being given to 25 young people every week, throughout February, the month of Love. To be eligible to win, customers are required to carry out transactions with their cards that add-up to at least N5,000 in a week. Winners will be announced weekly.
The Flexx account is FCMB’s youth-centric banking product targeted at young people who are actively seeking platforms that allow them express their uniqueness, while building skills for financial success. This is summarized in the description of Flexx as, “An app, a card, an account”, which gives account holders the freedom to bank on the go, using the Flexx Mobile App. FCMB’s Executive Director, Retail Banking, Mr. Olu Akanmu while responding to an inquiry said, “Flexx is more than an account. It is a lifestyle platform that offers the customer experience centred around Fun, Future and Banking. FCMB serves this platform through digital channels that fit into the lifestyle of the Flexx target market which include the Mobile App, a Microsite and an Online Account Opening platform, all of which enable a potential Flexx customer open an account with FCMB without having to visit a branch″.
In a bid to define love beyond the euphoria of the moment, FCMB said the Bank is aware of the challenges faced by people and the society. It was for this reason that it consciously chose to bring hope and smiles to the people and communities. The Bank extended its hand of benevolence to internally displaced women in Maiduguri, Bornu State by providing training and financial support to 100 of them to start any small-scale businesses of their choice. The financial institution also organised skill acquisition and other capacity building programmes for the beneficiaries. FCMB’s intervention in economic empowerment is seen in its partnership with Wecyclers, an award winning company involved in recycling, on a waste-to-wealth franchise scheme. Through this collaboration, the Bank is helping to tackle the challenge of waste management by deploying an innovative recycling project aimed at job and wealth creation, while promoting health and sanitation. To further deepen the project, FCMB has put in place a monthly reward scheme for top recyclers. The first batch of winners emerged in May, 2017 and have been presented with their prizes. FCMB’s economic empowerment CSR activities have also impacted on youths. The Bank has instituted a capacity building programme for youths, tagged “Empowered for the Future”. The initiative focuses on peer-to-peer economic empowerment, sexual and reproductive health promotion for in- and out-of-school adolescents. It commenced with 50 youths who were trained on various aspects of human development. The beneficiaries are expected to reach out to 750 peers over a one-year period, with focus on financial literacy, skill acquisition, sexual and reproductive health, while undergoing vocational training, job shadowing and knowledge building programmes. Another of FCMB’s expression of real love is its Priceless Gift of Sight programme. The Bank has been sponsoring this project since 2009 in partnership with the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (TCF), a Nigerian-Indian Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). The programme involves eye screening tests, full ophthalmic medical examination, eye surgeries, provision of free medication, eye glasses and counselling for those suffering from cataract, an eye defect that could lead to blindness if not promptly treated. Over 100,000 people across Nigeria have so far benefited from it since the Bank took up the sponsorship 9 years ago. In 2017, FCMB also sponsored 500 eye surgeries in Kebbi, Cross Rivers and Imo states, while more than a thousand people underwent the screening for cataract during the programme. The 2018 programme nationwide is currently being planned. The Bank has previously carried out the programme in Katsina, Adamawa and Ogun states. To FCMB, this is love in action and not just words.
To commemorate Liverpool Football Club’s 125th anniversary, Principal Club Sponsor Standard Chartered is today launching a season-long digital campaign which celebrates the power of numbers. The bank will take Liverpool FC fans on a journey to understand the meaning of significant numbers in LFC’s history. This will be told through a series of films as well as a unique 360° audio match-day experience. It will also feature interviews with Reds Manager Jürgen Klopp as well as LFC Legends, current First Team players and fans from around the globe.
Beginning with Number 8, ‘The Captains’, this video will look at the significance of captaincy and how leadership makes a lasting impact, with a specific focus on Steven Gerrard and the impact he had as LFC Captain. Karen Fawcett, CEO, Retail Banking and Group Head of Brand & Marketing at Standard Chartered, said, “Liverpool FC have had some phenomenal players and moments during their 125 year history that have contributed to them becoming one of the most successful English football clubs of all time. This special anniversary is a great opportunity for us to celebrate that success with them.
With the launch of our #8 video, we want to highlight the power of leadership, showcasing how one person can make a positive impact on the people around them, and then go on to achieve success together as a team.”
Billy Hogan, Chief Commercial Officer and Managing Director at Liverpool Football Club, added, “This is a fantastic campaign that uses some really great content. Standard Chartered have really created something our fans will love and won’t have seen before, and we thank the bank for helping us celebrate our 125th birthday in such an exciting and innovative way.”
- #8 The Captains video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URpbQJ4W8bA
- 125 Numbers Campaign trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjwGyu0AtMY
- 125 Numbers Campaign website: sc.com/lfc125
As First City Monument Bank (FCMB) pushes its Agency Banking and Agribusiness agenda, our reporter, peeps into the Bank’s retail template to expound some of the directions currently being implemented in the examined subject areas………
The main task of governance all over the world is to provide social and economic infrastructure, protect life and property, and also create employment for the unemployed. The government is still expected to manage the economy by strategically formulating and implementing specific policies that can create opportunities for sustainable economic activities for the citizenry. The need for economic development, particularly in areas such as poverty reduction, employment generation and wealth creation focused on improving welfare and raising the general standard of living, has become a challenge that must be squarely guaranteed by government. But to what extent can this responsibility be left to government alone?
The 34-year old financial institution, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) says no, the responsibility, should not be left to government alone to shoulder. For the fact that Nigeria is a country blessed with favorable climatic conditions, ample arable land and fertile soils, some expert solution has been proffered. FCMB has taken a bold step towards empowering small holder farmers as well as micro, small and medium scale enterprises which industry watchers now define as the nucleus of developed economies’ action points. The same aspiration has been found in the heart of the present administration’s economic agenda. The Federal Government is said to have concluded plans to align its fiscal, monetary and trade policies to stimulate economic growth. Meanwhile, the Managing Director, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mr Adam Nuru has said that it is a conscious business objective of the Bank to partner with government in various clearly defined economic activities that directly impact positively on the people, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprise segment whose daily activities supply cohesion in the basic energy chain of the nation’s economy. In one of the economic outreaches championed by FCMB, he said,“the Bank has designed a group lending programme which aims at creating financial awareness and empowerment for financially active women through microcredits, procurement and deployment of POS and free mobile phones among these women. These women have been identified in self-organised and homogenous groups that provide support and peer pressure to reimburse loans. It is quite innovative in Nigeria. Our focus on this aspect with the accruing benefits, are the unbanked, under-banked and low income customer segments who are also being acquainted with financial inclusion”. The key objectives of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), it is reiterated, include to bring financial services closer to both urban and rural small income earners. This is to enable them access loans in groups to be able to drive inclusion. The scheme also offers more flexible financial services to small income earners in the market especially women to increase their work capital. It is another opportunity that enables small income earners expand their asset base to finance their household needs.
FCMB’s commitment in the partnership was responsible for the choice to make its operation simple when it comes to reaching out and giving access to the fund-deserving population. For the upcoming, small and medium sized businesses to benefit, prospective participants must be 18 – 60 years of age and also belong to a group. The group’s size must be 5-25 members who enjoy mutual trust, confidence and respect, and live or work in close proximity to one another. The customer must have an income generating activity or business which has been in existence for at least 6 months. The borrower must exhibit the potential to save. And Group members are expected to be residing within a radius of 1km. FCMB is also offering free four weeks of training organised for borrowers before loans’ disbursement Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, gave some hints. According to him, “government’s effort to restore growth depends very much on improved macroeconomic conditions. Accordingly, ﬁscal, monetary and trade policies are being aligned to stimulate the economy and support growth while preventing overheating”.He confirmed that sectoral policies were being implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria to diversify the economy by boosting investments in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, construction and the digital economy. The Deposit Money Banks, Osinbajo noted, were vital to the implementation of the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. At the donation of a robust Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme web portal developed by FCMB for deployment nationwide to the Federal Government, its Managing Director,Mr. Nuru informed the Vice President that the Bank, as one of the top lenders in Nigeria, is already providing financial and technical advisory support to several operators in various sectors. He listed these to include power sector projects, export trade, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), among others. ‘’We will continue to intervene and offer support as well as solutions in developmental areas that would fast-track the growth of the aspirations of individuals, businesses and the country in general’’, he added. FCMB’s Microfinance project from inception, set the pace for rural and semi-urban economic prosperity and the resultant effect, has been profound. The Microfinance Bank also developed a robust software application for online real time transaction and reporting. Establishing a centralized system of operations and loan review process, it has also commenced BVN registration for MFB clients with credit check on customers for improved loan assessment process. The Microfinance’s operation is already berthed in 53 branches covering 11 states in 5 geopolitical regions. The FCMB Group Lending and Agency Banking projects are a digitized credit and savings solution which facilitates instant account opening with debit card issuance for online real time transactions driven by point of sale (POS) and mobile devices.
Mr. Ladi Balogun, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc is quoted to have said, “the bank’s project is driving financial inclusion in Nigeria through the deployment of agents in communities without financial service providers. The project is highly driven by technology to create a distinct offering from other existing micro lending businesses. The automation of loan processing, disbursement, and repayment via POS and/ or mobile solutions ensures an efficient and swift loan disbursement and collection process’’. In the area of agriculture, it is a concern however that as desirable as agriculture is to economic well-being, Nigeria is yet to maximize its potential. This is as a result of a combination of various factors, some of which include the relegation of agriculture to subsistence farming; non-prioritisation of agribusiness at different levels of governance; the state of infrastructure such as research and storage facilities, extension and disjointed value chains and of course, the distraction occasioned by oil fully conscious of the important role of key stakeholders in the agribusiness chain and as a strong believer in the potential of agribusiness in Nigeria, FCMB’s intervention in the sector has left a far-reaching impact on this crucial part of the economy. This has been attested to by the Chairman of Tractor Owners and Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria (TOHFAN), Alhaji Danladi Garba, when he commended FCMB for its support to the agric sector and farmers in Lagos. FCMB had provided funding worth N300 million to TOHFAN for the acquisition of tractors that were distributed to operators and benefiting farmers throughout Nigeria.
The Bank also collaborated with Doreo Partners, an impact investing firm with a proven track record of exclusively investing in profitable, high growth, early stage businesses that improve the livelihoods of Nigerian smallholder farmers,to launch a support programme for farmers, known as BabbanGona (or ‘’great farm’’). This is an agricultural franchise model, where farmers are trained, provided end-to-end support, and offered specially packaged loans to carry out their farming activities. In line with its commitment to financial inclusion which entails bringing the underbanked and unbanked population into the financial system, a drive which the CBN has been pursuing actively, FCMB selected a region with a high degree of financial exclusion, bringing on board farmers in the Gimba, Soba and Maigana communities. The franchise has about 18000 farmers, developed by Doreo Partners and has a vision of reaching in excess of a million farmers in the near future another testimony associated with FCMB is the success of Psaltry International Farm in Ado-Awaye, Iseyin in Oyo State, whose achievements in cassava business and agric value chain management have assumed international dimension. Managed by Mrs. Yemisi Iranloye, a biochemist and agric entrepreneur, the business has a farming base of over 10,000 hectares of land with about 2,000 out-growers. It also has a factory that processes cassava to food grade starch for supplies to large corporates in the food and beverage industries.
FCMB’s facilitation of nearly N1billion for Psaltry Farm under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s funding schemes for the sector has given the Iseyinagriccommunity the much-needed economic boost. Apart from FCMB’s relationship with Psaltry, the Bank partnered with the farm to provide basic agricultural training for its farmers to understand the technical details of growing their produce for higher yield and improved income FCMB distinguishes itself by its extraordinary people and culture, a customer-focused and performance-driven environment. Its unique retail lending capabilities enables it to offer valued services to millions of underserved Nigerians directly and indirectly, whilst supporting its portfolio diversification objectives to deliver sustainable growth. Its investment and transaction banking services further distinguish it as a bank for companies, doing business within and outside Nigeria, with customers in need of value-added solutions. The Bank’s distinctive capabilities and culture provide it with the critical elements for sustained growth and the competitiveness to fulfil its mission. With these, among other economic activities, the Federal Government of Nigeria, has called other financial institutions as well as other patriotic individuals to join FCMB to add value for national empowerment and economic development.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited has reiterated its commitment to support activities that promote and add value to Nigeria’s culture and heritage which are alsocapable of boosting tourism and other non-oil sectorsin line with the Federal government’s ongoing drive to diversify the country’s economy. According to the Bank, this is the rationale behind its decade long support for the annual Ojude Oba Festival, a carnival-like celebration of the traditional, cultural, spiritual, economic and other accomplishments of the people of Ijebuland in Ogun state. Consequently, FCMB has assured its stakeholders that its participation in this year’s Festival, which holds in Ijebu-Ode on September 3, 2017 will be grand, exciting and rewarding for the thousands of people within and outside the country that would grace the fiesta. The Group Head, Corporate Affairs of FCMB, Mr. Diran Olojo, gave the assurance at a press conference held on August 22, 2017 at Ijebu Ode, to kick-off activities for the Festival. FCMB has over the years been a major sponsor of the Ojude Oba Festival and has continued to play a significant role in ensuring its success.
The Ojude Oba (which in Ijebu dialect means, the king’s fore-court or frontage) is a major festival in Nigeria that began over 100 years ago. It brings together all sons and daughters of Ijebuland in Nigeria and diaspora. During the Festival, various age groups (popularly known as the Regberegbes), indigenes, their friends and associates from far and near – all in their colourful costumes and riding on horses – throng the palace of the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland to pay homage to him amidst prayers, songs, tributes and other fun-filled activities. Apart from serving as a distinctive platform to reconnect with the values that sustain the town’s rich history, heritage and industrious uniqueness, the festival also goes a long way to boost business activities, tourism and the general hospitality sector in the area.
In a goodwill message to the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Adetona, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, congratulated the monarch, sons and daughters of Ijebuland for promoting the values of the ancient city through the festival and other socio-economic activities. He stated that FCMB is committed to the longevity of the Ojude Oba Festival and the economic prosperity of Ijebuland, just as he urged the people to see the Festival as a fulcrum to inspire individuals and businesses for heightened creativity and increased productivity. According to him, ‘’over the years, the Ojude Oba Festival has grown to become the most popular gathering of the people of Ijebuland and a significant tourist attraction. With her large diaspora population, talented artists and rich cultural diversity, Nigeria is well positioned to reap the opportunities that globalisation presents to showcase her artistry and festivals, whilst bringing increased economic activity to communities that host such, such as Ijebu Ode. As we seek to diversify our economy, tourism and culture represent a low hanging fruit that must not go untapped’’.
In the same vein, the Founder of FCMB Group who is also the the Olori Omo-Oba Akile Ijebu, Otunba (Dr.) Michael Olasubomi Balogun, CON, in a goodwill message to the paramount ruler of Ijebuland expressed his gratitude to the Awujale, especially the paramount ruler’s selflessness in attending to the different requests and yearnings of the people of Ijebuland. In a message delivered on his behalf by Mr. Diran Olojo, the Bank’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Otunba Balogun commended Oba Adetona for his distinguished and exemplary leadership over the years. ‘’I for one continue to be proud as your Olori Omo-Oba to lead the way in showing our appreciation by being very close to you and showing unflinching loyalty. Let me thank you and the good Lord, our Maker that you have been unrelenting in showing that you appreciate my regular homage and tribute to you. I can say without fear of anybody gainsaying it that from year to year, on a daily basis, the appreciation of all Ijebus for the way you extend yourself to their different requests and yearnings, is such that the annual paying of homage, is not just the only occasion we would want to be showing our appreciation because you continuously earn our affection and our adulation’’, Otunba Balogun emphasised. while congratulating the entire indigenes of Ijebuland, the FCMB Founder also prayed that the monarch’s reign would continue to bring joy and prosperity in abundance to the entire Ijebu race, at home and in the diaspora.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail and commercial banking-led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself by delivering exceptional services, while enhancing the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of its customers.
Ever since it was first invented by Alex Osborn in the 1950s or so, the fundamental rule of brainstorming, and just about every creative thinking method, has been, “Though shalt not criticise ideas.”
Mr Osborn never made it entirely clear why it is so bad to criticise ideas, though it is implied that you might hurt people’s feelings, inhibit creativity and possibly emotionally scar someone for life. Clearly then it is best to welcome all ideas with compliments, even if they are stupid, and never, ever criticise an idea. At least, that was the assumption
No one dared question this assumption for more than half a century − until 2008 when a couple of bright sparks at Berkeley University, Matthew Feinberg and Charlan Nemeth*, decided it was time to ask some questions. They conducted a study in which they put volunteers into teams and divided those teams into three three groups. One group followed traditional brainstorming rules. The second group were also told to follow brainstorming protocol with the exception that they were actively encouraged to criticise ideas. The third group was the control group. They were just told to come up with ideas any way they wanted to do.
So, what happened?
The control group’s outcome was the least creative. Only moderately better were the traditional brainstormers. By far the most creative group was the group that had been encouraged to criticise ideas.
This surprised a lot of people, especially people involved in creative facilitation. Their fundamental rule had been proven to be, well, completely wrong. Many professional brainstorming facilitators simply denied the results rather than accept their method might be flawed.
Others tried brainstorming and other ideation methods in which we actively encourage criticism during the ideation. I certainly did. And, I found it was surprisingly effective. In my experience, results are far better than when criticism is forbidden.
I believe there are several reasons why this is so.
- Blindly praising every idea encourages mediocrity. Why be bold when your boring ideas get praise?
- Criticising an idea starts a conversation about the idea as well as your needs, restrictions, assumptions and more. When ideas cannot be criticised, you cannot delve into them. You cannot really discuss them. You certainly cannot build upon them until you’ve discovered the weaknesses that need improving.
- Criticising an idea gives it importance. When all ideas are “great” the compliment becomes meaningless. When someone stops to listen to an idea, thinks about it and addresses its weaknesses, she is saying, “this idea has meaning to me. I want to talk about it.”
- Criticising ideas gives guidance. If an idea is criticised, debated and rightly found not to be viable, this tells people to think in a new direction.
No Downward Spiral
Brainstorm fans often worry that allowing criticism of ideas will lead to a downward spiral where everyone is negative and no new ideas are developed. In my experience, this does not happen. I believe it is because when a group of people in an organisation are trying to build ideas, they have a common goal in building a relevant idea that achieves their needs. Bring relentlessly critical will not get them to their goal. Being productively critical will.
In anticonventional thinking (ACT), an alternative to brainstorming that encourages criticism, there are three rules.
- Always criticise boring, conventional ideas. You do not want them.
- Criticises the idea is OK; criticising the person is not OK.
- Once you have criticised and idea, shut up and let the originator of the idea, or anyone else, defend it.
I have found these rules, together with encouragement to criticise ideas, ensures that critical discussions are meaningful and feelings are not hurt. Ironically, several people have told me after ACT sessions that criticism of ideas makes them feel freer and less constricted than when they cannot criticise ideas.
Go On, Give It a Try
If you run brainstorms and have always adhered to Mr Osborn’s rule that you must withhold criticism, I suggest you experiment with ideation that welcomes crticism and see what happens. Mr Osborn surely would not mind. After all, he was a fan of creativity and trying out new ideas. Moreover, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
The official recognition of the renminbi as a global reserve currency is more than just an important milestone for the Chinese currency; it has significant, game-changing effects on the rest of the world’s markets, Standard Chartered said.
Within slightly over a decade, China’s extensive reforms have propelled the renminbi from being non-existent on the world stage to becoming a currency in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket.
Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered, said: “The inclusion of renminbi into the SDR speaks volumes about how much China has accomplished since it embarked on its reforms in 2004. The speed of development has been striking and today marks the beginning of another new chapter.”
Benjamin Hung, Standard Chartered’s Greater China and North Asia Chief Executive Officer, also noted: “We are expecting further steps to include flexible cross-border investments and remittance, expansion of free trade zones and greater opening up of capital account. We are confident that China will remain committed in promoting its currency in a steadfast and well-paced manner, on track to meet our forecast of becoming a G3 currency by 2020.
Benjamin Hung added: “In the interim, there will inevitably be uncertainties and volatilities across financial markets, be it greater two-way USD-CNY variability or financial flows as international investors and reserve managers adjust their portfolio over time. It is important to brace ourselves for these developments as it takes time for market participants to rebalance against a new reserve currency, which will eventually bring positive changes to global financial markets across FX, rates, fixed-income and other asset classes.”
After the SDR review, Standard Chartered expects a gradual pick-up of diversification inflows into renminbi assets from international investors and reserves managers, of which the latter would be a critical underlying support for the CNY in the coming years. Global central banks may reallocate 1 per cent of their reserve investments into Renminbi assets annually. Standard Chartered expects inflows of US$85 billion-US$125 billion from global central banks in 2016, with at least 5 per cent of global reserves being denominated in renminbi by end-2020.
Central banks are likely to favour products such as renminbi bonds issued by the Chinese government, Policy Banks, high quality corporate bonds and Supranationals; and at the shorter-end of the curves, T-bills and bank deposits. Standard Chartered expects rising usage of the renminbi by corporates, financial institutions, and investors alike. From trade to investment to now becoming a global reserve currency, the renminbi has embarked on an irreversible journey.