43 year old Nonso Okpala, is proving through sheer dint of hardwork that youths can legitimately succeed in whatever endeavour they are in
43 year old Nonso Okpala, is proving through sheer dint of hardwork that youths can legitimately succeed in whatever endeavour they are into rather than resorting to fraud in its various forms. A former staff member of accounting giant KPMG and later HEIRS Holdings, Nonso alongside his friends, floated VFD Bank while still an employee in 2009.
The bank was meant to be a side hustle at first and the dream was for it to scale from being a micro lender into a microfinance bank and then a a full scale bank. After raising the initial N2.5 million in seed investment, Nonso acquired 20% of the company.
In 2015, he and his friends floated Everdon Bureau de Change, a retail foreign exchange business and in the same year, Central Bank of Nigeria issued him a license to transform VFD into a Microfinance bank. Later that same year, he resigned his job at HEIRS Holdings to focus full time as the Chief Finance Officer of the Microfinance bank. From those humble beginnings in 2009, the two businesses started by Nonso and his friends have turned into a full-grown indigenous conglomerate known as the VFD group.
From a seed capital of N2.5 million about 13 years ago and shares priced at N2 per share during the company’s initial capital raise, VFD Group Plc has grown and is currently priced at N368 per share in the Nigerian capital market. It reportedly has a market worth of N32 billion and investments in over 40 companies across many sectors of the economy. The company is listed on NASD. The company further moved it a notch higher to become what has been described as an industry-agnostic proprietary investment company, that is, a business that continues to seek profitable investment across different investment options and businesses, regardless of the industry.
The most prominent of the company under the group is popularly known as Vbank, a digital banking application. The group’s tentacles spreads across real estate, a mortgage bank, Piggyvest, hospitality etc. across Lagos and Abuja. With total assets hitting N81.68 billion and an approved dividend of N1.37 billion to shareholders, representing 10.79 per share, the group decided it was about time to transform their digital bank to an actual bank. It has since applied to the CBN for a national banking licence.
Nonso’s story is one of resilience, pushing the envelope, believing that anything you put your mind to is possible, and refusing to settle for less, despite transacting in a dysfunctional environment like Nigeria where the odds are against one in most cases and most people prefer to take the short and often devastating cut.