Banker of all season –

Banker of all season – The Sun Nigeria

By Amaechi Ogbonna

At a time of economic globalisation, no one needs be told that only corporate institutions with product and service footprints on the global space can be reckoned with in the emerging world order. To achieve this, such institutions need personnel with foresight and requisite global reach.

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So it is for First Bank of Nigeria, with Dr Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan as Managing Director/CEO, with almost three decades of robust practice and a legacy of excellence.

Adeduntan has expertise in diverse areas, including financial and risk management, treasury and performance management, strategy design and execution, Information Technology and Compliance, all of which prepared him for his current role as head of Nigeria’s premier financial institution.

Under his leadership, First Bank has grown locally and internationally, consolidating its excellent performance as a systemically important bank (SIB). He has ensured that the bank extended its business network across Africa, the United Kingdom, France and China, with a strategic objective of creating value for stakeholders across strong retail banking franchise.

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It is to Adeduntan’s credit that First Bank became a pioneer of the Sustainable Banking Principles set out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), focusing on value creation, cost reduction, increasing revenues and enhancing brand reputation.

He articulated and implemented an agent banking proposition as a part of its retail strategy to support the financial inclusion initiative of the CBN, with the view to driving market penetration and reducing the unbanked population in Nigeria. Through this, First Bank has built the most expansive network, covering 772 of the 774 Local Government areas in Nigeria, with more than 157,000 active agents.

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As First Bank MD, Adeduntan has rapidly reduced the bank’s non-performing-loan portfolio, amid high-interest rate, low GDP, poor credit appraisal, inflation, unemployment and improper lending currently facing the nation. He has also driven the bank’s NPL ratio significantly down from double-digit in 2016 to single digit in 2021 (vintage NPL is <1%).

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A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Adeduntan stands out as an achiever with an enduring legacy. He is a worthy recipient of The Sun Banker of the Year award for 2021.

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