FCMB and Sustainability
Our vision at FCMB Group Plc (the Group) is ‘to be the premier financial services group of African origin’. Achieving this vision is dependent on the long-term success of our stakeholders and the environment in which we do business. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring effective corporate governance, sustainable value creation and application of effective risk management principles in our operations.
Today, we have over 2500 employees and daily operations in 220 branches, cash and six Flexx Hubs, Micro finance and agency banking centres across Nigeria. This makes FCMB one of the country’s foremost financial institutions and a major contributor to Nigeria’s economic development. For us, building a successful and sustainable business goes beyond financial performance, which is why our emphasis is not just on what we achieve as an organization but how we achieve it.
Our business activities and operations are designed to ensure that we lend responsibly, promote financial inclusion, encourage diversity, adhere to health and safety standards, and reduce (or totally avoid where possible) negative impact on the environment, while continuing to grow a profitable and sustainable business.
The Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBPs)
At FCMB, our sustainability agenda is underpinned by the nine pillars of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBPs) developed and adopted by the Bankers’ Committee in 2012. The NSBPs encourage banks to promote economic growth and business opportunities, and enhance innovation and competitiveness, whilst protecting communities and the environment in the normal course of duty.
Our business decisions take into cognizance, factors that could negatively impact the environment, society and hinder long-term growth prospects.
Social and environmental due diligence remains a crucial part of our credit screening and has been embedded in our risk management framework and transaction cycle.
As a responsible lender, we actively manage environmental and social risks. In addition, we support business opportunities that align with sustainability principles.
Principle 1 – Our Business Activities: Environmental and Social Risk Management
As a responsible lender, we actively manage environmental and social risks, support business opportunities and reduce the impact of our operations. This goal is enforced through the development of robust policies and procedures aimed at integrating Social and Environmental Management System (SEMS) initiatives into our lending process.
Our SEMS policy is to ensure that environmental and social commitment forms an integral part of our operations and processes. We manage processes to identify risks associated with borrower’s activities and projects by:
Providing guidelines to conduct business in a manner that will promote and protect the health and safety of employees, customers and the public.
Devising action plans to avoid, minimize or mitigate social and environmental challenges
Post disbursement monitoring, reporting and compliance with the Nigerian Sustainability Banking Principles and other applicable environmental legislations as well as internal policies and guidelines.
Principle 2 – Our Business Operations: Environmental and Social Footprint
FCMB has identified the key areas where our business impacts the environment as follows: energy consumption and efficiency, waste production and management, paper usage and transportation and water consumption. We are committed to reducing our overall environmental footprint and are actively taking steps to achieve this. The steps are:
- Evening shut-down policy (7pm for branches, 8pm for head office) to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions
- Annual participation in the World Environment Day
- Tracking of printing costs and paper usage
- E-products that help to reduce paper usage
- Use of online documents for meetings to reduce print requirements
- Investment in teleconferencing to reduce travel to meetings
- Usage of Microsoft Teams to hold meetings and reduce Carbon emission via road transport
- Deployment of E-learning Platform to achieve seamless access to online trainings, bridging knowledge gaps.
- Introduction of buses used for mass commuting of staff
- Dual-flush of toilets at Head Office to help save water, with potential installation across our offices if successful.
- Corporate recycling to cultivate the habit of collection and re-use of recyclable items.
- Fifty branches currently run on solar energy alongside six Flexx Hubs
- In addition, Knowledge improvement programs (KIP) are held continually to sensitize the bank staff on the importance of SEMS; thereby promoting a culture of personal adherence to SEMS principles. An E-learning course on SEMS has also been employed.
We are committed to improving the livelihood of our employees through effective engagements, health programmes, training and adequate compensation. As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to providing a safe and conducive work environment for all our employees, including the physically challenged, to enable them carry out their duties in line with the Group’s strategic objectives whilst developing their careers. The Group currently has a few individuals with disabilities in its workforce. These include visually impaired staff and employees with prosthetic limbs, all of whom carry out their duties professionally.
FCMB is committed to a work-life balance for its employees. The Group accommodates flexible working hours and employees could be deployed or redeployed to branches and offices close to their homes. The Group pays attention to promoting and preserving quality time for its employees to spend with family and loved ones. A few initiatives include:
- Our shutdown policy, which mandates branches to shut down at 7pm. It is to ensure that employees do not stay late in the office.
- Weekend assignments are not encouraged and where unavoidable, an employee is not supposed to work more than one Saturday per month. While we place great value on training our employees, weekend training sessions have been drastically reduced. We have invested in the use of technology, with our employees having the flexibility of continuous learning via online platforms.
- Yearly Health week and Family Fitness Day.
Training and Development
Giving preference to Training and Development reflects how we value our staff and their personal growth within and outside the industry. While the fear of investing in people and losing them to competitors has significantly reduced organizations’ investments in training, we still invest heavily in staff training, preparing them for all-round customers' best experience. Convinced with the idea that staff training has a direct bearing on overall performance and service quality, the Bank has pushed Training and Development to the center of her businesses and can at all time boast of a talented workforce, well equipped to deliver her comprehensive bouquet of financial services.
In line with the commitment to harnessing our employees’ potential through continuous learning and development, we have created a dedicated Training Academy, which designs and delivers a range of programmes to address our employees’ learning and development needs. Each employee is encouraged to undergo 60 hours of training and development annually, through a combination of classroom and online programmes. To show how well we have fared in training and investment in our staff, the academy has received a number of industry awards attesting to this fact, such as the Best Contributing Employer in Human Resource Development by Industrial Training Funds in 2017, and the Great Place to Work Award by the Great Place to Work Institute in 2018.
We can confidently say that our improved rating in the industry, particularly on excellence service delivery could be linked with the huge investment in staff training. In 2016 for instance, the Group invested over N800 million in staff training and development and this has rightly positioned the staff for the anticipated disruptions in the world of financial services.
As part of the learning and career development plan for overall organizational Effectiveness, we have mentoring programs in place. The mentoring Program is targeted at employees who were recruited into the Bank through our six months Management Development Program as well as women in middle management level in the Bank. We also register members of our top management (Operational and Strategic leaders) for a structured, one-on-one executive coaching program, which spans for a period of 3–6 months. The Coaching and Mentoring Programs are being deployed by external consultants (Certified Coaches) and selected senior employees of the Bank respectively, in addition to other enhanced learning programs conducted during the year.
Career Development Opportunities
FCMB has the following initiatives in place to provide employees with improved career development opportunities:
- A dedicated career management desk to address all employee career management and development activities within the organisation
- A career management portal where employees can identify potential career opportunities and chart a career path trajectory within the organisation
We are committed to making FCMB a Great Place to Work and our talent attrition target is less than 2% of total talent pool. Through the annual Employee Survey, an exercise initiated over three years ago, we have been able to measure employee engagement and loyalty. More importantly, it gives us bottom-up feedback to foster understanding of the issues that need to be addressed in order to make FCMB a Great Place to Work. For each employee category, results reveal what the Group is doing right and areas for improvement. Each employee’s evolution from one year to another is monitored and key performance indicators, within our core values of Execution, Professionalism, Innovation and Customer Focus, are attached to them.
Providing Access for our Customers with Disabilities
FCMB is committed to ensuring that possessing a disability is not a hindrance to accessing our services. Consequently, 25 of the Bank’s branches have wheelchair ramps and there is a plan in place to install these at more branches. This aligns with our promise to be a helpful institution. We also have friendly, courteous and professional staff who go the extra mile to create a convenient environment and experience for customers, including those with special requirements.
Principle 3 – Human Rights
FCMB has fair recruitment practices that are non-discriminatory. We also practice fair remuneration across similar skills and responsibility sets. The Group has embedded human rights principles into its governance policies across the board. The stand-alone Human Rights policy, which expresses FCMB’s commitment towards respecting and promoting human rights, is also being revised. In addition, as part of our Social and Environmental Management System, the Group’s site visitation team note human rights issues as part of the system’s checklist to ensure our clients are not violating human rights.
Principle 4 – Women’s Economic Empowerment
The Group has a non-discriminatory hiring policy. About 41.5 % of our employees are women, and we currently have nine women in upper management holding key roles in the Group, including the Executive Director for Finance, Executive Director for Business Development, Company Secretary and Group Legal Counsel, Human Resources, Transaction Banking, Corporate Banking, Investment banking and the Chief Risk Officer – posts which could collectively be referred to as the bedrock of banking itself. FCMB has a Women’s Network, which serves as a mentorship platform for young female employees within the Group. FCMB created the Women in Business Unit to support women entrepreneurs and growing their businesses through various platforms. FCMB Women also unite to support less privileged communities and children through donations and active voluntary services. The Group supports women-owned businesses, automates the tracking of “women owned/managed business” and makes provisions that enable women to harness available business opportunities.
Principle 5 – Financial Inclusion
FCMB’s operating companies have innovative products and services designed to cater for the under-banked, unbanked and disadvantaged individuals in society. We have also simplified our services with technology driven processes to enable more people have access to financial services which encourages a positive and rewarding savings culture. Such products include Nairawise accounts, Wallets accounts and the Agent Banking, which are all in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion agenda.
- EASY ACCOUNT: FCMB launched its innovative Easy Account where your phone number is your account number. To open this new account which requires no documentation, BVN, paperwork or opening balance, all you need to do is dial the Bank’s USSD *329# on any phone. This initiative is to make everyone financially included irrespective of their location.
- FCMB Agent banking started three years ago with a revamped solution introduced in May 2017 with a total of 486 agents as at November 2018 nationwide
Agent Banking is a simple user friendly and cost effective way of providing secured light banking services such as Cash deposit, Cash withdrawal, Fund transfer, Bills payment, Airtime Recharge etc. to groups of people in a community, employing known and trusted existing retail business outlets in the same community. It is a cost-effective solution designed to provide financial access to the unbanked and underbanked population. Which is aimed at reducing financial exclusion to 20% by the year 2020.
Agency banking ‘outlets’ act as the locations where the un-banked or under-served persons transact. These outlets are owned by individuals or entity who will offer payment services to the customer and by doing so earn transactional income for the services they offer.
- E-Savings: An electronic savings account through which a customer completes the account opening process without filling out physical form(s) or visiting the bank. This process was introduced in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s “Know Your Customer” requirements.
- FCMB Flexx is a uniquely designed savings account that allows students, corpers and young professionals between the ages 18-30 years carry out banking transactions using our convenient, fast and efficient alternate channels primarily, (ATMs, Mobile/Online banking, *329# USSD Platform and POS terminals). The aim of the account is to inculcate savings habit into the lifestyle of young people while empowering them for the future.
- The Group Lending Micro Credit Business of the Bank was set up in 2015 to facilitate financial empowerment to clients within the informal segment who are predominantly unbanked and underbanked active poor women within the society, thereby ameliorating pursuing the dual social and financial goals. The Group lending unit has been established in 62 FCMB branches across 13 States of the Federation. It is noteworthy to state that over 142,000 clients have been financially included through this scheme with the disbursement of about N15 billion loans. The bank has instituted a micro-finance model in which small-scale loans of N 100,000 each or less are made available to many micro enterprises to support and grow their businesses.
Principle 6 – Environmental and Social Governance.
FCMB’s Sustainability Team was created in 2012 to co-ordinate the overall implementation of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles across business activities and operations. To further support the activities of the team, we have appointed sustainability champions within operations, administration, human resources and credit risk management. A Social and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) officer ensures effective oversight of E&S risk management, especially as it relates to the Group’s business activities. The corporate social responsibility and sustainability teams ensure that the Group’s sustainability agenda is promoted through the business operations. Also, the bank has instituted a Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC) for effective implementation of the bank’s commitments towards sustainability. The SSC’s main purpose is to foster a culture of sustainability at FCMB through planning and managing the integration of the bank’s sustainability strategy as approved by Executive Management.
Principle 7 – Capacity Building
Social and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) principles have been institutionalized to promote ownership. This includes regular training of staff via e-learning, the in-house Knowledge Improvement Program-“KIP” and train-the-trainer initiatives. This is now a requirement for all staff and has significant weighting in the appraisal system
We have spent time and resources in providing training for relevant stakeholders including our business team, forming collaborations with multilateral agencies including FMO and IFC to ensuring advisory and best practices are delivered to our customers and staff. Finally, we beginning to see results, with improved E&S practices and adoption from our customers. Also, the awareness of our business team has become sharpened following this
About 2000 employees (including senior management) completed the Managing Environmental and Social Performance and the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) sustainability training on FCMB’s e-learning programme (STEP), comprising 13 modules.
Our engagement with other players in the industry and major multilateral agencies, like the IFC and FMO (the Dutch development bank), also provides crucial support and knowledge transfer. The Group also supports capacity building for the media to enhance their reporting skills – In October 2018, FCMB organised a capacity building programme/media parley for 50 journalists. This is hinged on sustainability since its inception in September 2014.
In addition, FCMB signed up for training on Financial Analyses for Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency and related matters through the Winrock International/USAID Nigeria Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project Capacity Building Programme. Some staff have also undergone training on Sustainable Energy Finance anchored by IFC staff.
We believe as a bank we have been very open in adopting principles that would support E&S Risk in dealing with various transactions and have been thorough in setting policies and procedures to driving their implementations across board.
Principle 8 – Collaborative Partnership.
FCMB recently formed partnerships and participated in several trainings with the aim of improving its sustainability focus and as a responsible and forward-looking organisation which has Sustainability in its core values. The partnerships which includes: the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, a foremost environmental NGO that is dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable development in Nigeria. On this, we have participated in supporting the annual’’ World Environment Day’’. The 2018 edition came with the theme - Beat the Plastic Pollution, on the need to recycle and upcycle plastics amongst several of their initiatives while the 2019 theme spoke on “Beat Air Pollution” in a way to combat environmental degradation
Other partnerships include those with IFC, FMO, AGF and GIZ. Our partnerships with these multilateral organisations have put FCMB in the fore front of driving Sustainable /Climate Finance related investment in the country. We are proud to say we are signatories to the United Nation Global Compact (UNGC) with the sole focus of implementing its universally accepted sustainable principles.
We have also worked with indigenous companies and NGOs to pursue various financially and socially inclusive programmes including Agency Banking initiatives with local businesses, fashion and renewables with Kinabuti Fashion Initiative, MITMETH, Tulsi Chanrai Foundation, Nigeria Conservation Foundation , WeForGood , Youth Empowerment Foundation, House of Tara, Doreo Partners, SOCASEMP, Jakin NGO are but a few on the list. Here our intent includes empowering businesses, young person and individuals at the BoP level.
FCMB had several trainings from multilateral agencies/development banks include Climate Eligibility Training from the IFC and Green Lending from the Dutch FMO. Also, worthy of mention is sector specific trainings we’ve had with the African Development Bank (AfDB), Risk Managers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principle (NSBP) Steering Committee. Our end goal is to drive more sustainable business initiative and empower or customers to becoming more energy efficient and responsible to the environment.
Finally, we were host to our SME’s customer with the aim of providing targeted investments and technical support to energy access companies in various sectors of the Nigerian economy. This was in partnership with the IFC and World Bank. In order that we act responsible during our operations, we also partnered with Recycle Points, to drive Corporate Recycling to help with proper sorting/segmentation of work place wastes and disposal.
Principle 9- Reporting
To ensure real integration of sustainability into its strategy and processes, FCMB has instituted internal quarterly reporting on sustainability which enables the Group to monitor its progress and address issues in an independent manner. FCMB complies with the CBN’s one-off and semi-annual reports in line with the NSBPs (Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles). FCMB submits periodic reports to the International Finance Corporation on Social and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS). Also, SEMS has been included as a reportable event under the Bank’s whistle blowing policy. Additionally, Report is made to NDIC ( Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission)