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The ASPIRE Account That Made My Aspiration A Reality —– Femi Badmus

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2 months ago, I graduated from Lagos State University with a Honours in Accounting; an achievement that was only possible through the overwhelming support of my mother. It still feels like a dream having my Bachelor’s degree and looking back I recall that pivotal moment when everything changed.

I lost my dad in SS 3 and my mum had to struggle to put me through school. She was an uneducated woman who sold pepper at Idumota and whose painstaking efforts had sustained us through those trying times after my dad’s death. The death came as a shock and left us barely surviving. The loss was especially hard for my mum and I feared it might have broken her mentally. Contrary, she became this superwoman whose resolve was to see me succeed at all cost. She worked long hours; in the sun, in the rain and her dedication to make and save money for my university education.

That year, while my SSCE results were very good, my JAMB result was seized and it seemed the university dream was beyond me. I was very depressed but my mum was there to encourage me with words I have never forgotten “You see, sometimes life go push you, push you so te you go wan give up but remember na your choice to either give up or rise up stronger”. I forgave all those bad people at JAMB, took up a job as a waiter and started preparing for the next JAMB exam sitting while also saving for my university tuition.

One year later, JAMB was good, I was accepted to study Accounting at the University of Lagos and needed to pay my acceptance and other fees. I quickly rushed to the bank filled a withdrawal slip and presented it to the teller. Lo and behold, the teller returned the slip and replied that my balance was insufficient for the requested amount. I was stunned. I knew I had saved enough money in my account to cover this withdrawal but the teller insisted I did not have up to N40k and printed a breakdown of my account history to buttress this point. Only then did I realize there were so many bank charges that had been depleting my savings. I was really infuriated as I tried to reconcile my realities: a struggling youth trying to get admission being saddled with ridiculous bank charges. I consoled myself and withdrew the N37,000 left in my account, augmented it with additional funds from my super mum and proceeded to Zenith Bank to make the required payments.

While there I noticed differences from my own bank; the security was very courteous, the banking hall was very well-lit and ventilated with customers being attended to promptly. The teller was very pleasant and I soon found myself telling him how my bank has been chaffing me. He told me the Bank had an account for undergraduates called Aspire and I won’t have that problem if I was using such to manage my funds.

Two weeks later armed with my Admission letter, School ID card and a passport photograph I opened the most beneficial account any undergraduate could have. Throughout my stay in school, I received interests in my savings and it was as though the account was pushing me to spend less and less. This made me a better manager of my funds. I am now a graduate with no indebtedness and looking back, I realize the Aspire account wasn’t just a regular savings account, it was built with me and other millions of students out there in mind.

Thank you Aspire for helping me achieve my dreams.

BUSINESS

Heritage Bank Gets CIBN Nod On Established Academy, Trains 300 New Intakes

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In line with its commitment to ensure greater efficiency and boost its workforce, Heritage Bank Plc has received a nod from the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) for its establishment of a full-fledged learning and development institute, with the training of 300 new employees.
The Institute dubbed “The Refinery” being supervised by the Bank’s Human Capital Management Group is currently training 300 new intakes who are fresh from universities across and outside the country with diverse academic backgrounds and impressive academic records, in an ongoing intensive 12-week rigorous and thorough academic programme at the school, in Port Harcourt. 
The Refinery is a tailored learning experience Institute with the perfect blend of technologies, techniques and methodologies to optimise training experiences, which will help employees succeed in ensuring that the bank’s business stays ahead of the curve with the banking sector along with Heritage Bank’s target goals.
Having visited The Refinery in Port Harcourt during the ushering in of the new intakes, the Group Head, Learning and Development of CIBN, Babatunde Apena in his commendation stressed that Heritage Bank’s training facility is the best in Nigerian banking industry and at par with international best standard.
According to him, despite the training facility still undergoing various upgrades for accreditation, it stands out as one of the best in the industry.   
The MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, has described Heritage Bank as a forward looking business whose strength lies in the ability to spot and mould talents into great professionals. 

He noted that the Refinery was established to train, nurture and arm young employees with the right skills needed to fast-track development and enable teams to flourish.

Sekibo further explained that at the Academy, “we hire young graduates who want to advance their skill levels, which will lead to a direct and indirect improvement of life for their families and communities that will culminate  toward more productive, resourceful persons.”

According to him, any business that hopes to survive the current economic challenges must devise a creative way of harnessing the full potentials of the talents that abound among the nation’s teeming youth population.
He urged the lucky intakes that after their graduation, they should see the opportunity as a privilege to contribute their quota towards the development of Nigeria by imbibing the bank’s mantra of commitment to spreading the culture of Wealth Creation, Preserve and Transfer.
“Just as the word Refinery connotes, the Heritage Bank Plc Refinery is a Facility where crude talents or abilities are converted or ‘refined’ into ‘finished’ jewels for optimal performance.
“The training program is designed to take each participant on an enriching, rigorous and intellectually engaging learning journey to equip them with the fundamental competencies required of a professional banker. The Curriculums are structured to accommodate both Core and Non-Core Banking competencies such as finance, credit and accounting, organizational and behavioral competencies to mention a few”, Sekibo stated.
The bank’s helmsman also pointed out that Heritage Bank was assimilating the large number of new hands at a time when gainful employment was becoming hard to come by; stressing that the bank had always remained optimistic and pragmatic in deploying its resources for developmental ends. 
According to him, “In recent times, operators in the banking sector have discovered that margins are shrinking, costs are rising and yet nothing is changing. You are coming into an industry that most people think it is impossible to survive but we at Heritage Bank see opportunities in place of despair. So, therefore, your employment comes with uniqueness and promise. Everything you are about to learn at the Training School is very important to our balance as an industry and as a company as well as your progress as individuals.
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Heritage Bank Empowers ‘HB Lab’ Tech Start-Ups’ Winners With $40,000 Grants

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As part of its efforts to support Nigeria’s aspiration and roadmap to become a leading Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub in Africa, Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider has doled out $40, 000 grants to winners of the maiden edition of HB Innovative Lab.

The maiden edition of Heritage Bank Innovation Lab Accelerator programme (HB-LAB) tagged, ‘Demo Day,’ is a 12-week programme, expected to provide technology start-ups seeking additional investments to progress and accelerate market introduction/adoption of their solutions with co-working and internet resources, guidance and mentorship with finch start-ups founder and seed funding. However, the bank’s commitment is to create enabling environment, resources and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions with the potential to radically improve financial Inclusion/Intermediation, health, automobile, agriculture, and other related problems affecting critical sectors of the economy.

At the grand finale of the programme, of the seven groups, Trep Labs-Real Drip emerged the winner with the most compelling solution won the N10million, whilst Ladipomarket.com.ng won the N5million prize, as the 1st runner-up, which is equivalent of $40, 000.

Speaking at the event, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, said the bank knew it was in the best interest of the country to pay attention to the development to the technology and industrial sector. According to him, “the future of the country lies in the hands of its youth. Our youths are talented, and Heritage Bank is committed to harnessing this talent to grow the economy.”

He noted that although in Nigeria, technology startups still account for a relatively small share of all businesses, but they have an outsized impact on economic growth, because they provide better-paying, longer-lasting jobs than other start-ups, and they contribute more to innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.

Sekibo explained further, “Newly starting up a business is part of the most difficult stage of the business, you would need to source for capital and manpower. Considering the fact that you are a new business those items are not so easy and cheap for you to acquire.

“However, the presentations we have seen today shows how gifted Nigeria is with human resources, our youths have demonstrated that the country still has a beautiful future.

“I am impressed with the start-ups, after six weeks of drilling and grooming they have been able to develop up to this point; everyone is a winner tonight as far as I am concerned.

“Based on the success of this maiden edition we are going to continue this initiative, we would go back to our laboratory and create something bigger for the upcoming editions.”

When asked what he felt about Artificial Intelligence being used in banks, he explained: “Technology has been playing a key role towards enhancing the banking sector. Thus, we saw the need to create an Artificial Intelligence product called Octopus, which has been piloted and its second edition is almost ready for launching.

On his part, the Co-founder TREP Labs, Alayande Abiola, said, “Emerging as first place and winning the ten million naira is going to help the growth of our clinical solutions.

“Now we would be able to complete our clinical trials, optimise our products development and also provide enough healthcare solutions that are battling with the country.”

Earlier, the bank’s Divisional Head Innovation and Partnership, Ikenna Imo, explained: “Twelve weeks ago we welcomed seven talented and diverse start-ups, at that time our intentions were clear that we were ready to create distinctive propositions that solves issues facing the country currently.

“Today, I have no doubts that the start-ups we have assembled after a selective and competitive process have what it takes to accomplish that.

Over the last 12 weeks, the HB Lab has hosted a number of business leaders and founders within in the tech ecosystem who shared the experiences and evolutions of their respective businesses with the aim to inspire and impart business knowledge in the young minds looking to start out their own tech-enabled businesses.

Some of the mentors at the program include; Gbenga Awe (Heritage Bank Plc), Tosin Eniolorunda (TeamApt), Abolore Salami (Riby), Deji Oduntan (Gokada), Muyiwa Faulkner (Mines.io), Shile Owoka (Smile Identity), Moses Sule (Oradian) to mention a few.

Heritage Bank Plc remains committed to championing sustainable value creation, leveraging technology to ensure a culture of innovation and mutually beneficial partnerships.

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UBA Mastercard Holders to Win All-expenses-paid Trip to June 1 Finals of 2019 UEFA Champions League

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Leading Pan-African Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc in partnership with leading global payments and technology company, Mastercard, will be giving away all-expenses-paid trip tickets to 12 lucky customers of the bank and their plus ones to watch the Finals of the 2019 UEFA Champions League.

Open to all existing and new UBA Platinum Mastercard holders, this amazing giveaway is an opportunity to pamper customers and give them a unique, unforgettable and priceless experience including flights, visas, 5-star accommodation, tickets to watch either the semi-finals or final matches of the UEFA Champions League and so much more with their MasterCard Platinum Access.

A total of 12 UBA Platinum Mastercard holders from Nigeria and 11 other African countries will share the enthralling experience of watching the finals live with a loved one as well as enjoy the great ambience of host city of the Semi-Finals or Finals (Madrid). The participating countries are Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.

“As we celebrate our 70 years of Banking and excellence, this is our way of rewarding customers for their continued patronage to the UBA brand. There will be many more this year as we want to continue to appreciate all our customers. Customers who qualify should get a UBA Platinum Mastercard and spend a minimum of $10,000 or its equivalent in his or her local currency to stand a chance to win the all-expense paid package. To get your UBA Platinum Mastercard at any UBA Branch, a customer simply needs to contact his or her relationship manager at any UBA branch office” the Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, Mrs. Dupe Olusola said.

She said, “The UEFA Champions League is the most sought-after trophy in club football competition, and one of the most followed sporting spectacles in the world. To this end, we decided to partner Mastercard and UEFA in bringing the most iconic and cherished moments in the history of football to our esteemed and loyal customers who are the reason we are so successful.

“We realize that, a lot of our customers love football and we feel giving them this treasured experience while they are pampered in far-away Spain is the way to go. These are the moments that make football such a passionate sport and we want to share these moments and experiences with our loyal customers across Nigeria and Africa,” Olusola said.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading pan-African financial services group, operating in 20 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and with presence in France.

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