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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Coronavirus poses no real threat, says Stanbic IBTC

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Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc has assured the investing public that the fundamentals of its businesses remain strong despite the envisaged impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a regulatory filing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the board of directors of the holding company stated that stress tests conducted on the company to measure the impact of COVID-19 pandemic showed no real threat to the stability of the group.

“We also wish to emphasise that stress tests were conducted to measure the impact of the pandemic as well as foreign currency volatility on the group; and our results show that our capital and liquidity positions remain well above regulatory limits. This is being reviewed on an ongoing basis,” Stanbic IBTC Holdings stated.

According to the group, there is a sustainable business continuity management plan during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic that will ensure the company continues to maximise the potential of the operating environment, in spite of the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The group reassured all stakeholders of its long-term stability, notwithstanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

“Indeed, Fitch, a globally-renowned credit rating agency, recently retained the National Long-term Ratings of ‘AAA(nga)’ and ‘F1+(nga)’ of Stanbic IBTC and its banking subsidiary, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc. Additionally, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc is excluded from Fitch’s Rating Watch Negative (RWN) list of Nigerian banks, even in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic’s impact on businesses,” Stanbic IBTC Holdings stated.

The group pointed out that the Fitch ‘AAA(nga)’ rating, signifies the highest score in its national rating scale for Nigeria and it is given to issuers with the lowest expectations of default risk, compared to other issuers. Furthermore, issuers or obligations that have the strongest capacity for timely payment of financial commitments relative to other issuers in the same country are rated F1+(nga).

“We remain hopeful that our country is on the path to recovery; and encourage you to please stay safe by avoiding unnecessary social contacts, ensuring continuous washing of hands and adhering to other basic rules of personal hygiene,” Stanbic IBTC Holdings stated.

In the statement signed by company secretary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Chidi Okezie, the group outlined that it has implemented a number of measures in order to ensure that its business operations remain stable.

“We will continue to review the trends and share insights on the impact of COVID-19 on micro and macro-economic indices via tailored webinars and Instagram Live sessions delivered by subject matter experts, to enable our clients and other stakeholders make good business and personal decisions that may help them during and after the COVID-19 pandemic situation,” the group stated.

According to the group, from a business continuity perspective, it has continued to leverage technology to enhance how its customers carry out their daily transactions with it uninhibited while as a responsible corporate citizen and in keeping with global health protocols on social distancing, Stanbic IBTC Holdings had proactively activated remote working for the majority of its workforce, ahead of the current restriction of movement.

“We shall continue to monitor developments closely as they unfold, guided by our commitment to ensure the continued sustainability of the Stanbic IBTC Group, as well as delivering long term value to our shareholders,” the group stated.

It added that it has implemented safety protocols across all its locations, which entail the use of hand sanitisers and infra-red thermometers for screening staff, clients, contractors and visitors; before they are granted access to its locations while additional security measures have also been taken for the protection of staff members who are on essential duty this period; and for the protection of its assets.

To help manage mental health and wellbeing, it has also been engaging staff members and online community through online sessions while it has also been adhering to physical distancing requirements in its branches providing skeletal services, to reduce the risk of infections when one comes in contact with droplets from speech, sneezes and coughs.

As part of business continuity management procedures, teams providing essential services have been allocated to operate between their normal office locations and alternate work locations, adhering to the prescribed social distancing requirements. This is to ensure that the needs of its stakeholders – clients, shareholders, staff and others, are met regardless of the lockdown and restricted movement.

Other non-essential staff members have since been empowered with modern collaboration tools to work from their respective residences, in a bid to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. We are pleased to inform you that this move has greatly enabled business continuity and we are reaping the gains of investment in such office tools.

The group has also reviewed third-party dependencies and confirmed their readiness to continue to provide services to its organisation remotely, which gives the assurance that the financial services solutions that it offers will not be materially impacted.

“We have implemented a coordinated approach for the dissemination of information to employees, customers and contractors on precautionary hygiene measures and standards. These communications are being deployed via traditional media, emails, social media, posters, ATMs and other electronic channels,” Stanbic IBTC Holdings stated.

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