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First City Monument Bank [FCMB] sustained new strengths in operations despite the challenges of the Covid-19 economic lockdown

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First City Monument Bank [FCMB] sustained new strengths in operations in the second quarter despite the challenges of the Covid-19 economic lockdown. The bank kept all the growth levers up from the closing levels in 2019.

The addition of new strengths and retention of some key capabilities of the preceding year constitutes the operating advantage for the bank this year. It is maintaining the elevated revenue outlook seen in the first quarter, which is happening for the first time since 2017.

Both interest and non-interest incomes are contributing to revenue improvement but non-interest earnings keep leading the way. Against a drop of 11 percent in 2019, non-interest income grew by 13 percent year-on-year at half-year ended June 2020.

Interest income is still accelerating from 4 percent at the end of last year to 8 percent at half-year though slowing down from 15 percent growth in the first quarter. This remains the highest growth rate in interest income for the bank at any time since 2014.

The good behavior of interest expenses seen in the first quarter improved to better in the second quarter. From a moderated growth of 4 percent in the first quarter, interest expenses proceeded to a 3 percent decline year-on-year at half-year. Accelerating interest income and a decline in interest expenses enabled an increase of 17 percent in net interest income from less than 5 percent improvement at the end of 2019.

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This marks the first reasonable improvement in revenue the bank is seeing since 2017. Last year ended with only a 2 percent increase in gross income to a little over N181 billion. Revenue growth at half-year represents the highest in four years.

The retained strength in revenue is keeping the bottom line on the upbeat at which the bank began the year in the first quarter. Profit improvement remains quite good at 29 percent year-on-year for FCMB at half-year – still one of the best growth records in the banking sector. This is an accelerating growth from the 16 percent profit improvement at the end of 2019.

The ability to convert revenue into profit improved both on a year-on-year basis and from the 2019 closing mark. At the end of half-year, the net profit margin stretched out from 8.4 percent in the same period last year and from 9.5 percent at the end of 2019 to 10 percent. This is a step back however from 11 percent in the first quarter but yet remains the highest net profit margin for the bank since 2015.

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The bank’s operating strength for the 2020 financial year is anchored on growing revenue and improving profit margin. The strength to grow profit more than two and a half times as fast as revenue at half-year points to a reasonable cost saving achieved by management. This came from a decline in interest expenses and a moderated operating cost during the period.

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The loss in the first quarter of a key strength of last year – which is a drop in net loan impairment expenses for the third straight year, remained in place at half-year. Loan loss expenses rose by close to 41 percent to N7.8 billion at the end of June 2020. The increase follows an increase of 13 percent in the loan portfolio last year and by another 10 percent over the first half of the current financial year to N795 billion.

Half-year operations ended with gross earnings of slightly over N98 billion for FCMB, an accelerated growth from 2.3 percent at the end of 2019 to 9 percent year-on-year. This marks the first reasonable improvement in revenue since 2017.

An improvement of 8 percent in interest income to over N76 billion is one of the new strengths for FCMB in 2020. This reflects the expansion of earning assets with loans and advances growing by N80 billion over the 2019 closing figure of N715 billion and investments rising by N60 billion to N300 billion over the same period. The second is a rebound in non-interest earnings that were a drag for the bank last year to N22 billion at the end of half-year.

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At slightly N30.8 billion, interest expenses improved further its disciplined behavior – declining by 3 percent against an increase of 4 percent in the first quarter. The share of interest income devoted to interest expenses went down from 45 percent to 40 percent over the review period. The result is an increase of 17 percent in net interest income to over N45 billion at half-year.

FCMB closed the half-year operations in June 2020 with an after-tax profit of N9.7 billion, an increase of 29 percent year-on-year. The bank is maintaining the path of growing profit for the third consecutive year since it lost 40 percent of profit in 2017.

Earnings per share amounted to 49 kobo at the end of half-year operations, improving from 38 kobo per share in the same period last year.

The ability to maintain an elevated performance in earnings through the economic lockdown in the second quarter is a bullish point for FCMB going forward to the second half. The bank is expected to retain the key strengths of growing revenue, moderating interest expenses, and improving profit margin to stay the course of rebuilding profit for the third straight year in 2020.

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COVID19

E!’s Giuliana Rancic announces she and her family have tested positive for coronavirus

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Giuliana Rancic has announced that she and her family have tested positive for coronavirus.

 

The veteran E! host released a statement during Sunday’s Live From the Red Carpet: The 2020 Emmy Awards special explaining why she wasn’t present to host the red carpet coverage.

 

In the statement, the American-Italian reporter, 46, revealed that her husband, Bill Rancic, and their son, Duke also tested positive for COVID-19.

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“Hey, everyone. As I go into my 20th year on the E! red carpet I have to say I do not take missing an award show lightly, but unfortunately this year is just so different,” Rancic shared with fans. “As part of E! and NBCUniversal’s very strict testing guidelines, especially before an event like this, I did find out that I tested positive for COVID-19. Now as much as I didn’t want to hear that, I’m very thankful I heard it before I traveled and possibly could have exposed other people. So for that, I’m thankful.”

 

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Rancic continued, “As far as my health, I’m doing well. My husband Bill and our son [Duke] also did test positive, but we’re all doing well and taking care each other so I’m going to get back to doing that. But I just want to say I’m wishing you all the best and please protect yourselves and protect those around you. Take good care and I’ll see you on the next red carpet.” 

 

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Brad Goreski and Nightly Pop’s Nina Parker took over G’s hosting duties during Sunday’s Live From the Red Carpet show ahead of the 2020 Emmy Awards.

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79 new cases of Coronavirus recorded in Nigeria

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79 new cases of Coronavirus were recorded in Nigeria on Sunday September 13, as confirmed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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The agency gave a breakdown of the new cases across states in the country as follows; Lagos-30, Kaduna-17, Ogun-7, Anambra-5, Kano-4, Katsina-3, FCT-3, Akwa Ibom-3, Oyo-2, Rivers-2, Delta-1, Plateau-1, Ondo-1.

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There are now 56,256 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country and 1, 082 deaths has been recorded.  44,152 patients who recovered from the disease have also been discharged.

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79 new cases of Coronavirus recorded in Nigeria

79 new cases of Coronavirus recorded in Nigeria

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‘Trump committed second-degree murder with handling of Coronavirus and must be held accountable for deaths’ – Lawyer Glenn Kirschner says

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Top American lawyer and MSNBC legal analyst, Glenn Kirschner, says US President Trump committed second-degree murder with his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Kirschner feels audio excerpts from interviews that journalist Bob Woodward conducted with Trump in February and March that were published by The Washington Post on Wednesday prove his guilt.

 

The interviews written in Woodward’s forthcoming book, “Rage” detail how Trump talked about the deadly nature of the Coronavirus pandemic but explained he wanted to downplay it to avoid widespread panic.

 

While Trump says he did not lie to the American people, Kirschner (pictured below) disagrees.

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“What Donald Trump has just done by virtue of the tapes that Bob Woodward released, is he has upped his own criminal ante to second-degree murder,” Kirschner said Friday on SiriusXM’s “The Dean Obeidallah Show.”

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“He was lying to the American people about the danger this virus posed,” Kirschner continued.

“He was saying to Bob Woodward, in very dramatic tones, you know, ‘This thing is airborne only you need to do is breathe near somebody who is infected and you are going to get it,’ he didn’t tell the American people that. But what did he do? He refused to order the production of the personal protective equipment.”

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“This man has upped the criminal ante to second-degree murder, and there are only two elements for second-degree murder. The first is you caused the death of another. The second element is the intent element,” Kirschner said. “And here’s where it would otherwise get tricky if we didn’t have Trump’s incriminating admissions.”

 

Kirschner explained that Trump didn’t intend to kill people but that doesn’t matter at all because he feels the president committed “conscious disregard, which fits the criteria of second-degree murder.”

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“That’s defined as, your conduct was in conscious disregard of the extreme risk you were creating to other human beings that they would suffer death or serious bodily injury,” he said.

“Trump has admitted, in my opinion as a career prosecutor and, frankly, I was the most experienced homicide prosecutor in the Department of Justice because of our unique jurisdictional mandate in D.C., that is second-degree murder and Donald Trump must be held accountable.”

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