In the club of bank bosses Ladi- Balogun stands out as a brilliant banker. Youthful and debonair, the group managing director and chief executive of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has won plaudits with his hardwork, knack for innovation as well as inspiring roles in the transformation of First City enterprise into a financial behemoth.
But even in his apparent exultant position, the chief executive’s accomplishments could only be said to be modest compared to the achievements of his father, Subomi Balogun, the acclaimed doyen and titan of Nigeria’s financial sector and founder of the First City group whose shoes are still considered too big for today’s industry leaders.
But it would be wrong to assume that as a scion of a banking dynasty, Ladi’s respect would only come from the industry for the younger Balogun has been digging new grounds outside the family profession. More than any other chief executive in the country Balogun is romancing the environment in a manner that is already touching lives in a refreshing manner.
In the last couple of years, the chief executive has been steering the bank in the direction that is stimulating to the global cause for the preservation and protection of the environment to the extent that environmental and climate change concerns now constitute an important plank of FCMB’s corporate social responsibility.
Balogun and the bank have been in the forefront of promoting environmental conservation in the country along the line of developing partnerships that encourage economic independence and opportunities for human development. “Our ongoing CSR journey enables us to ensure our actions transcend cultural barriers, and address both social and economic challenges,” he says.
“This can be seen in the promotion of environmental conservation around our branches and our homes, and the development of partnerships that encourage economic independence and opportunities for human development.” Through its environmental sustainability initiative tagged ‘Committed to Green’ (C2G), the bank has deployed enormous resources and energy, promoting nationwide awareness campaign via a social engagement arrangement to sensitise and educate the people on the benefit of cultivating an environmentally friendly behaviour across the country.
Last week, its effort in this regard was commended by the Bauchi State Government during the launch of C2G initiative in the state capital which coincided with the commemoration of 2010 World Environment Day. In making the commendation, an apparently elated governor of the state, Isa Yuguda , also used the opportunity to challenged other corporate bodies in the state to emulate FCMB and take up a role in the management of the environment within the framework of their corporate social responsibility.
The event came shortly after the Lagos State Government had honoured Balogun, with the award of Environment Ambassador Emeritus as part of activities marking the 2010 World Environment Day celebrations in the nation’s economic capital.
So far the bank has been maintaining strategic collaboration with such organisations as the British Council, Lagos State Government, and Nigerian media practitioners to bring widespread attention to the consequences of climate change and support projects which address its effects and environmental degradation. As a means of practising what it preaches in the area of environmental sustainability, the bank uses only recycled paper for its usual operations. Along this line, it has also embraced a “paperless office” policy which has led to the automation of most of its operations and drastically reduced paper consumption.
“Currently we have well over 100 of our corporate customers signed on to this platform which not only reduced the use of paper but reduced carbon emissions from transaction related travel.” Recently the bank was one of the few businesses in Africa that joined global landmarks and cities to cut power to mark this year’s Earth Hour; in a gesture to highlight environmental concerns and to call for a binding pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions. States like Benue, Imo, Lagos, Edo, Kano, Enugu, Delta, and many others have all gone GREEN.
The bank is also actively supporting the Lagos State Government to develop the Eko Atlantic City; a land reclamation programme which aims to recover from the Atlantic land which had been lost as a result of rising sea levels over the last century.
Balogun who holds a B.Sc Economics from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom and an MBA from Harvard Business School, had worked as an investment banker at Morgan Grenfell in London and Citibank in New York before returning to join the First City Group in 1995.
If Subomi Balogun has acquitted himself as an entrepreneur and philanthropist with a large heart, Ladi has also succeeded in carving a niche by passionately committing himself to environmental restoration and issues that address the effects of climate change.