Daily Champion (Lagos)

3 September 2003

Nigeria: First Bank of Nigeria Executive Okoye Tasks Bankers On Integrity

Lagos — EXECUTIVE director of First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Christy Okoye, has urged corporate entities and bankers to imbibe the culture of integrity as it reduces the cost of doing business in the long run.

Mrs Okoye gave this advice in Lagos at the weekend during the induction of Associates of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB) and price award day by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

The banker who spoke on, "Corporate integrity and professionalism in a globalised banking environment, underlined some of the inherent gains which an organization that subscribes to an integrity code stands to reap.

According to her, "integrity codes guide management in its decision making process when built into formal corporate policy. It ensures that customers and other corporate clientele are treated fairly and equitably."

She noted that the company with high and clear commitment to integrity issues tend to generate greater drive and effectiveness because its managers and operators know they can do the correct thing decisively and confidently.

Mrs Okoye stated that integrity is the one value required in every leader, adding it means telling the whole truth, as painful as it may be.

"Without complete integrity in your interactions, no one can trust you. If they can not trust you, why would they follow you?" she asked.

The banker said that an organisation with integrity will function with fewer policies, procedures and notebooks and with more examples, "legends" or anecdotes from within the organisation supporting actions with integrity.

"An organisation with integrity will foster and promote personal power among its employees including decision-making responsibility and accountability," Okoye further noted.

According to her, the senior executives in the organisation should have personal integrity in order to effectively and efficiently build an entity with integrity.

She stated that it is impossible to find a bank in Nigeria that does not consider core ethical values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, and responsible corporate citizenship in the design of its core practices.

According to her, "the challenge for the industry, is to draw the line between integrity issues and the brazen pursuit of profit."

The second vice president of CIBN, Mrs Juliet Madubueze, during the welcome address, stated that consultations are on-going with the office of the Head of Service in the Presidency for the appropriate placement of the ACIB qualification in the government scheme of service.

She said that the CIBN's current alliance with other African Institutes of Bankers (AAIOB) will easily afford ACIB holders the opportunity to seek employment in any member state.

Mrs Madubueze, who also is chairperson of Corporate and Public Affair committee, CIBN urged the inductees to discharge their duties in line with high ethical standards.

Business Champion notes that the ceremony, 441 newly qualified associates and 20 graduates members were inducted.

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