Leading financial services provider, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has once again demonstrated its commitment towards the empowerment of youths in entrepreneurship by sponsoring a capacity building programme for almost 1,000 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Abuja on July 30th, 2018. Tagged ‘’Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme’’, it was in partnership with Activate Success Foundation. The highly engaging, interactive and exciting session provided a platform for the youth corpers to look inward, develop and deploy their business skills through practical trainings facilitated by experts and successful business owners.
According to the Bank, the development will go a long way to empower them with the requisite resources to start and grow successful businesses during and after their service year in order to become financially independent and contribute significantly to national development. Commenting on the initiative, the Executive Director, Retail Banking of FCMB, Mr. Olu Akanmu, said it is in line with the commitment of the Bank to provide multiple opportunities that would inspire and enable youths to be actively engaged and eventually become successful business owners. According to him, ‘’FCMB Flexx account empowers Nigerian youths with the entrepreneurial and employability skills they need. Many youths set up their own businesses from their campuses. FCMB will be there with them to provide the necessary entrepreneurial and business skills they need to make great successes out of their businesses. FCMB will also provide great support for the youth businesses and work with them to nurture and grow the youth entrepreneurial ventures’’. Also speaking, the Founder of Activate Success Founder, Love Idoko, said, ‘’I have a penchant for motivating people. There are business-minded youths out there that are just looking for mentorship or business ideas as well as funds to start their businesses. The purpose is not just to give grants, it is to also empower and motivate as many youths as possible”.
Among the facilitators at the programme were a Member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Desmond Elliot; Chief Executive Officer, Vodi Tailors, Mr. Seyi Adekunle and Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Mr. Samson Itodo, of the #NotTooYoungToRun fame. At the end of the programme the sum of N2.7million was given as grant to some of the youth corpers with excellent business ideas to enable them start-up. FCMB has over the years developed various engagement programmes focused on empowering young Nigerians such as #FlexxYourCreativity, #FCMBFlexxtern and the Flexx Youth Entrepreneurship Masterclass. Through these initiatives, FCMB has given young entrepreneurs and students access to training, funding, mentorship, networking opportunities and jobs. The Bank’s Flexxzone (http://flexxzone.fcmb.com/) also provides useful resources to help young Nigerians build their business and career, while keeping up with latest trends in fashion, lifestyle and entertainment. The Bank’s youth product, Flexx, is one of its innovations to simplify and make banking services exciting. The Flexx proposition has continued to meet the overall financial and other socio-economic needs of young people from the age range of 16 to 30years. This is summarised in the description of Flexx as, “An app, a card, an account”. These features give account holders the freedom to bank on the go, using the Flexx Mobile App and also the Bank’s USSD code, *329#.
With a clear understanding of its market and environment, FCMB is well positioned to continue to create value by delivering exceptional services, while enhancing the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of its customers.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has rewarded another set of 644 lucky customers in its ongoing reward scheme, tagged ‘’FCMB Millionaire Promo Season 5”. The second set of winners emerged at the second draws of the promo held across Nigeria on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. This brings to a total 1,288 customers of the Bank who have so far won cash and other gifts since the promotions commenced in March this year. The FCMB Millionaire Promo Season 5, which runs till November this year, is an extension of the Bank’s previous promotions. It is designed to give extra value and reward to our customers, while encouraging financial inclusion and savings culture in the country. The promo 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.
While four lucky customers won N1million each, a total of 640 other account holders smiled home with LED television sets, generating sets, decoders, tablets, smart phones and other consolation prizes, at the end of the electronic selection exercise. At the Lagos Regional draw held at Gbagada, a suburb in the State, Mercy Ailekhue was the lucky winner of N1million, while Hulera Zubairu won the same amount at the Abuja & North Regional draw which took place in Kano. The third N1million winner, Ukwuaba Aliu, came from the South-East/South-South Regional draw held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, just as Williams Rotimi was also rewarded with N1million at the South-west Regional draw in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state speaking on the promo draws, FCMB’s Executive Director, Retail Banking, Mr. Olu Akanmu, said, ‘’We are excited that more of our customers have continued to be rewarded and empowered through this exciting reward scheme. We are committed to impacting the lives of individuals and businesses by delivering valued-added products and quality service that translate to exceptional customer experience. Our existing and potential customers are encouraged to partake in the FCMB Millionaire Promo, because it is an avenue to turn dreams to reality’’.
On how to participate, Mr. Akanmu, explained that all an existing or a new customer of the Bank has to 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 the probability of winning. To qualify for the grand finale draws in November 2018, where four customers will each win N2million, existing and new customers are to increase their balances up to N50,000.00 and maintain them for 30 days. Multiple savings of N50,000.00 will also increase the chances of winning. The third draws of the promo will hold in September and the grand finale is in November.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited 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.
If you are a manager, your creativity responsibility is twofold. Not only should you be more creative yourself, but you should also be motivating your direct reports to be more creative. It is that combined creativity that leads to innovation, improved problem solving and, I believe, a more fun workplace. To make your job easier, here are a dozen ways to motivate your team to be more creative.
1. Compliment and Criticise Meaningfully
Compliment people regularly and in a meaningful way, not only to their faces, but behind their backs so that people know you are sincere in your compliments and that you have faith in your direct reports. This builds trust which, in turn, ensures people feel confident about sharing crazy ideas with you. It also means they are more accepting of your criticism. Managers who continually criticise their direct reports, destroy trust. Why share a novel idea with a boss you know will criticise it and possibly criticise you as well? It is safer to keep your head down and follow the status quo in order to minimise criticism.
When you need to criticise people, start with a compliment, ensure the criticism focuses on their actions rather than them and be meaningful in your criticism. If possible, add a challenge to the end of the criticism
“That’s an idiotic idea, you moron!” is a terrible criticism!
“I like your thinking about the new product, Lisa, but I feel that it adds unnecessary complexity at a time when we are trying to simplify the user experience. How could you achieve similar functionality with the complexity?”
2. Challenge people often.
Most intelligent people thrive on challenges. And creative challenges are particularly…. challenging. If you regularly challenge your subordinates to come up with new ideas, you will exercise their creative minds regularly and make their work environment more interesting. In particular, in situations where you might once have said, “it cannot be done”, ask instead: “How might we do it?” Where once you might have said: “We don’t have the budget to do that!”, ask instead: “What can we do to reduce the cost of that idea so that we can fit it in our budget?” or “What could we do to convince senior management to buy into this idea?”
When preparing a presentation to a client, don’t just open PowerPoint on your computer and call up your standard business presentation template. Instead, start by asking your team: “Let’s make this presentation truly original and awesome, so much so that the client begs us for our business by the end. Now, how shall we do this?” When performing routine tasks, ask, “Can you think of any shortcuts that will make this faster and easier?”
And so on. Constant challenges keep everyone’s minds sharp and lead to lots and lots of great ideas on a regular basis.
Don’t forget to challenge yourself regularly. It will do wonders for your creative output.
3. Remind people that You want ideas
This may seem obvious, but it needs to be said. Always remind people that you are keen to hear their ideas. Challenges are one way to do this. You should also remind your direct reports in meetings and informal chats that you value their ideas.
Needless-to-say, when people come to you with their ideas. Listen attentively, provide positive feedback and, if there are problems with the idea, challenge the idea owner to solve those problems.
4. Ask open questions, especially about assumptions
Open questions make people think and thinking is good for creativity. If something goes wrong, do not immediately explain why it went wrong. Ask the team why they think it went wrong and what they can do to prevent it from happening again.
In particular, get in the habit of questioning assumptions. Big business tends to collect a lot of big assumptions. Over time, some of those assumptions become invalid. If you do not question them, you may not notice the change. Kodak assumed people most wanted quality printed photographs from cameras and neglected to go digital until it was too late.
Question little assumptions as well. Perhaps you never contact prospective clients on Friday afternoons, because you assume they will be busy finishing tasks off just before the weekend. But is that true? Maybe they will have a more open mind knowing the weekend is coming.
5. Provide Time and Opportunities to Think.
In his paper “Organisational creativity – the top ten enablers” (PDF), Wayne Morris noted that the number one enabler for organisational creativity is providing time to think. And this is an issue I have seen in many companies. Management wants employees to be more creative. Management has invested in idea management tools, innovation training and more for staff. But, employees are so overworked handling day to day tasks, that they do not have time to stop and think. Worse, in open plan office, the employee who is seen staring off into space is likely to be seen as one slacking off rather than one who is hard at work thinking up innovative ideas for the company.
Make it clear that thinking is good. Encourage your team to think. Let yourself be seen thinking and share your thoughts. Provide comfortable spaces for thinking (see below). Better still, encourage people to go for walks during the day, which is not only good exercise, but great for creative thinking.
6. Provide Space to Think and Talk and Create.
A couple of years ago, the East of England Development Agency undertook a survey of about 1000 people and found that only 10% had ideas at their desks. Moreover, only 6% of woman and 17% of men had ideas anywhere in the workplace. Thus you need to provide your subordinates with places where they can think and collaborate on ideas. Niches with tables and chairs are simple, yet effective. People can find a niche, sit and talk. More elaborately, you can provide innovation rooms with beanbag chairs and toys in them for people to really relax and think.
Hold creative meetings off-site. Go to a comfy café and, if it is culturally acceptable where you are, allow people to have a glass of wine or a beer. A drink or two has been shown to enhance creative thinking. Many of the co-working spaces, that are popping up in cities around the world, have interesting meeting rooms for rent.
7. Go on Creative Thinking Field Trips.
At least one of my client’s employees regularly visit spaces where their products are used. There they are challenged to think of new uses for their products, new way ways to apply their products and new products that would appeal to their existing clients. This is a great way to generate ideas. Escaping the office brings everyone a breath of fresh air. Visiting environments where your product is used puts you in the mind of your client. And that helps you think in new ways. You can also visit places not directly related to your business and find inspiration. Art galleries, museums of all kinds and unrelated businesses can inspire ideas. Look at how a friendly, family owned restaurant in a small town serves its customers and ask how you might offer the same level of service to your big business customers. Think about taking a walking meeting in a nearby park or nature trail.
When my first company was very young, I took both of my employees to see the film Jurassic Park and dinner. During the meal, we shared some crazy ideas inspired by the film.
8. Push Ideas.
When we are looking for ideas, we have a tendency to stop when we get our first good idea. You should not do that and you should encourage your direct reports not to do so either. Instead, push thinking further. What are the weaknesses of your good idea? How could you overcome them. Is your idea rather conventional? Then push it. Encourage people to go wild. That’s where great ideas come from.
When a direct report comes to you with an idea, ask her to push the idea further or ask “That’s a good idea, but I believe you can do better. Play with it and see what you can come up with!”
9. Implement Ideas
This may seem obvious. But many innovation initiatives focus on idea generation without allowing for idea development and implementation. An expensive facilitator might lead a dozen of your most creative people in a brainstorm that results in 150 ideas which are neatly categorised. However, if the organisation fails to implement any of those ideas, the exercise is an expensive and demotivating waste of time. Likewise, idea management software that captures ideas that never seem to be implemented is soon recognised as a waste of time.
And, if proposing ideas is perceived as a waste of time, people will stop proposing ideas.
On the other hand, if ideas are regularly developed and implemented; if stories about those implementations are shared, then people will feel that time spent thinking creatively is time well spent.
Tools can help employees develop and collaborate on ideas as well as help you capture and manage ideas. Tools can include basic things like whiteboards in meeting rooms for sharing ideas; and pens, markers and paper for working on ideas.
Tools could include toys for building and modelling things, such as building blocks, Lego, dolls, craft materials and anything else people could use to model ideas or build rough prototymes
You might consider software based tools, such as mindmapping software, note taking apps for the telephone and my absolutely free Anticonventional Thinking Questions tool.
11. Encourage Humour
Creativity and humour go hand in hand. Laughter relaxes you and frees you. Crazy ideas are welcome when everyone is laughing already. Laughing frees up our inhibitions and makes us feel good. Jokes, like creative ideas, are usually about bringing together dissimilar concepts in new ways. When a group is laughing, participants often try and outdo each other with funny ideas. And those funny ideas are often very creative ideas.
In my creativity workshops, the groups that laugh the most tend to have the most creative ideas.
12. Be Creative Yourself – and Demonstrate it!
A good manager leads, of course, by example. If you tell your subordinates to be creative, but never share a creative idea yourself – you are not setting a very good example.
You are certainly a creative thinker − after all, you are reading up on creativity! But are you also demonstrating creativity? Do you share your ideas? Do you seek unusual solutions to problems? Do you use creativity tools? Do you participate in creative thinking activities?
If not, do so. Be creative and do not be shy about it! It will only encourage creativity among those around you.
London, United Kingdom – 26th June, 2018 Individuals and Business Enterprises who seek to transact their banking services between Nigeria or other African countries and who desire to maintain a banking relationship in the City of London now have the opportunity to do so. FCMB Bank (UK) Limited recently obtained a variation of its banking permission to include retail (investments) services. The permission was granted by the Prudential Regulation Authority and became effective on the 8th of June 2018. Based on this approval, FCMB Bank (UK) Limited is now able to extend the level of excellent banking services its Corporate and Institutional Customers currently receive to High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) and Small and Medium Business Enterprises.
Mr James Benoit, Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, said,
“This approval and extension of services is a major achievement which will enable the Bank deliver its promise of being the Corporate and Private Bank for African-oriented entrepreneurs, investors and professionals across all their banking needs. The Bank will be expanding its premises and entering into partnerships with Fintech providers to open up service options to our clients and enhance their overall banking experience.”
Mr. BC Achary, Chief Risk Officer of the Bank advises,
“With the extension of its services, the Bank is able to receive deposits from both customer segments as well as provide them bank loans to enable them meet their financing needs. The deposit products on offer include current, notice savings and fixed deposit accounts at competive rates; while its lending products include Buy-to-Let Mortgage Loans enabling target customers to acquire a piece of London and purchase property to include in their investment portfolios.”
Mr. Ladi Balogun, CEO of FCMB Group Plc added,
“Our successful UK platform has proven to be of great importance to the Nigeria stockbroking and international trade finance activities of FCMB Group. Leveraging our deep networks in Africa’s biggest economy, the importance of a London presence to many of our Personal and Business banking customers, and technological innovation, we welcome this opportunity to meaningfully serve more of our customers and grow the value of our UK franchise.” The Bank has completed arrangements to formally launch its Personal and Business Banking proposition on the 19th July, 2018 in London and subsequently on 31st July, 2018 in Lagos.
Mrs Stella Okuzu, Head, Personal and Business Banking explained,
“As a customer-centric business, both events will enable the Bank to meet with prospective customers, share the Bank’s Personal and Business Banking proposition and obtain first-hand feedback on their banking needs and requirements”. Operating in the City of London, FCMB Bank (UK) Limited is a UK incorporated bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of First City Monument Bank Ltd (FCMB), a member of the FCMB Group PLC (Nigeria). FCMB Bank (UK) Limited began its operations as a BIPRU €50k investment firm in September 2009 with its CSL Stockbrokers division providing the services of “receiving and transmitting” institutional client orders for Nigerian listed securities. Subsequent to the variation of its permission on the 27th September 2013, the bank commenced wholesale deposit taking activities, offering a wide range of products including foreign exchange, treasury, corporate banking and trade finance services to corporate and institutional customers. With the bank’s Retail permission approval, the bank’s customers now include individuals and business enterprises.
Leading financial services provider, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), has unveiled a scheme tagged, ‘’FCMB Education Advisory Service’’, that would ensure convenient and affordable education support for its customers who or their children desire to study abroad and obtain undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. The support includes overseas admission information services, school fees remittance, school living allowances and travel fares, loans to support school fees payments, visa process, travels and examination preparation. Access to customers and other aspiring candidates is said to be available on FCMB website with branches where operational desks are currently located, listed. It is part of the Bank’s contributions towards developing a new generation of brilliant minds that would take Nigeria to the next level. The scheme is in partnership with MOD Group, a foremost international education promotion and marketing company with operations deeply rooted in Nigeria and covering the West Africa sub-region. Under the initiative which was launched at a ceremony on May 30, 2018 in Lagos, FCMB is offering a full range of core financial services, tailored to meet the needs of its customers in the area of acquiring education abroad. This is in addition to a wide range of benefits that the Bank is providing for potential and existing students under the Education Advisory Service initiative.
Among these are, up to N5million school fees support to customers from the Bank and Credit Direct Limited, one of the subsidiaries of FCMB Group Plc (the holding company), Flexx account (in foreign exchange) for students going abroad to study, prompt and secure international funds transfer through internet banking platforms for the payment of school fees and other educational expenses abroad. There is also the issuance of FCMB debit cards, including the pocket money card (pre-loaded) that can be used to withdraw cash from overseas ATMs and make payments at stores and supermarkets. On the other hand, MOD Group will provide advisory services, such as, school admission processing, visa processing and examination preparation for beneficiaries of the FCMB Education Advisory Service. Speaking at the launch of the initiative, the Executive Director, Retail Banking of FCMB, Mr. Olu Akanmu, stated the commitment of the Bank to champion and execute initiatives that would promote education and knowledge acquisition among Nigerians. According to him, ‘’at FCMB, we walk and work with our customers to fulfil their life aspirations for themselves, their families and their businesses, including the provision of the best education. The FCMB Education Advisory Services in partnership with MOD Services and international partners also covers school admission process, Visa processing, travel and examination Preparation. We recognise that knowledge of what to do and how to do it matters in securing good overseas education. FCMB will also be providing prompt school fees and living allowances remittance, loans to support school fees payment and international cards to support living overseas for Nigerian students
Mr. Akanmu also added, ‘’we have Lufthansa Airline, beside other partner airlines on board to offer students, discounted fares under this scheme. This also covers their guardians accompanying them. In addition, we have AXA Mansard coming on board to provide medical cover for the students to the tune of $60,000 a year’’. Also speaking at the ceremony, the Managing Director of MOD Group, Mr. Michael Dosunmu, expressed gratitude to FCMB for the partnership. According to him, ‘’one of the major challenges faced by Nigerians who desire to study abroad is funding and the necessary information to achieve this. We believe that with our partnership with FCMB, through the platform of the Education Advisory Service, this challenge will be addressed. By providing a platform for Nigerians, especially young ones to study abroad, we will be helping to develop a new set of manpower equipped with the required international exposure, knowledge and skills to champion the development of the country. We therefore urge all those who have big dreams for their children and families to take advantage of this opportunity’’. The Permanent Secretary/Tutor General, Ministry of Education in Lagos State, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Onadipe, described the Educational Advisory Service scheme as a step in the right direction. She stated that, ‘’education is the bedrock of any society. For FCMB and MOD Group to come up with this package is an indication that they are committed to providing the necessary support to assist families and our young ones develop academically. I will appeal to FCMB to also accommodate wards from public schools, as they also desire the same foreign education’’.
On his part, Head of Communications, British Council, Mrs. Edemekong Uyoh, said, ‘’we consider the FCMB Education Advisory Service as an initiative that would give opportunities for young Nigerians and enhance capacity. The more educated we are, the more we can add value to our lives, economy and the society. At the British Council, we are particular about providing young people with pathways for the future. This is one of the initiatives that also align with our objectives and we are happy to associate with it’’. Also commenting on the scheme, a Representative of the High Commission of Ireland, Tessa Bagu harped on the importance of education. She stated that, ‘’education is the key to the future and development of a country. It is knowledge that drives development. Ireland is one of the leading economies in Europe today because of the high level of education of the people. We are optimistic that through the partnership between FCMB and MOD Group, Nigeria will grow further’’.
FCMB Capital Markets Limited, the investment banking subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc, has again demonstrated its advisory and capital raising capability by acting as financial adviser and Lead Issuing House on the successful fundraising and listing of LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited’s N3.15 billion bond on the FMDQ OTC platform. The bond, the first ever by a microfinance bank to raise money in Nigeria’s debt capital market, was priced at 17.75% and has a tenor of 5 years. The Issue was rated A- by Agusto& Co and BBB+ by GCR, which are investment grade ratings.
LAPO is a leading Microfinance Bank in Nigeria which commenced operations in 2010. Its banking activities are targeted at micro, small and medium enterprises, particularly women and micro enterprise owners who it provides loans to build their businesses. FCMB Capital Markets acted as the Lead Issuing House on the transaction. As a financial adviser, FCMB Capital Markets was responsible for, amongst others, developing a robust transaction structure that ensures flexibility for the issuer and comfort for the investors, and assisting to obtain regulatory approvals. FCMB Capital Markets is one of the few financial institutions in the country to consistently demonstrate the ability to structure transactions of this nature, having successfully executed similar complex deals previously.
LAPO Microfinance Bank stated that the proceeds will be used to deepen its business in the country, strengthen its capital base, expand its branchless banking solutions and enter new market segments, including the launch of its agency banking model and the deployment of e-business solutions, among others. Speaking during the bond listing ceremony on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 in Lagos, the Executive Director of FCMB Capital Markets Limited, Mr. Tolu Osinibi, said, ‘’we are excited and grateful at having been given the opportunity by LAPO Microfinance Bank to have played a leading role on this landmark transaction, where FCMB Capital Markets acted as financial adviser and the Lead Issuing House on the first ever bond issuance by a microfinance Institution in Nigeria’s capital markets. The success of this transaction speaks to the institutional strength of LAPO and an affirmation of this strength by institutional investors that have trusted LAPO with the funds they manage. Following from the success of its capital markets debut, we at FCMB Capital Markets expect to see LAPO become a repeat issuer, and we also anticipate that this landmark transaction will open up the capital markets to other microfinance institutions that meet the criteria”.
Also speaking, the CEO of LAPO Microfinance Bank, Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said, ‘’the gap between the demand by micro, small and medium businesses and the little supply is still huge. LAPO Microfinance Bank was only able to deliver loans valued at N135.7 billion in 2017. The capital market remains one of the most viable and affordable options for medium and long term financing for on-lending. We have therefore made a very sound decision. With excellent corporate governance, experienced management, committed staff and extensive footprints across Nigeria, LAPO Microfinance Bank is poised to deliver its core mandate of enhancing financial inclusion. We will continue to enable the under-banked and economically active poor to become active participants in the national economy.’’ FCMB Capital Markets Limited has been involved in several landmark transactions in Nigeria over the past three decades. The firm provides comprehensive advisory services, combining innovative advice and proven execution skills to domestic and multinational clients. Its services include but are not limited to financial advisory, debt and equity capital raising including initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, project and structured finance. It has acted as an adviser and arranger of choice to Nigeria’s leading companies and public institutions.
Also, the decision to list the bond on FMDQ is based on the fact that, as a debt-focused securities exchange, FMDQ has shown strong commitment to facilitate growth and development in the financial market through its platform for the registration, listing, quotation and valuation of bonds. The leadership of the exchange continues to run an efficient, transparent and well-regulated market, which attracts and retains both domestic and foreign investors.