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BAFI: Fidelity Bank Wins Commercial Bank of The Year as Nnamdi Okonkwo Bags CEO Of The Decade Award

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Fidelity Bank Plc at the weekend clinched the award for Commercial Bank of the Year at the 2020 edition of BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards held in Lagos. The bank won the award in recognition of its support for economic activities in the real sectors of the Nigerian economy, particularly for its consistency in enhancing the development and competitiveness of Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Receiving the award on behalf of the bank at the presentation ceremony which took place at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Fidelity Banks’s Executive Director, Corporate Bank, Mr. Obaro Odeghe dedicated it to the bank’s teeming customers, whom he said are central to the bank’s overall strategic intent.

 “The reward for hard work they say is more work. We are encouraged to continue to do more for the benefits of our customers and the overall economy” he stated.

Also, on the night, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo was honored as the banking sector CEO of the Decade for “transforming Fidelity Bank into one of the fastest-growing and most trusted financial services brands in Nigeria”.

The organizers specifically noted some of his key achievements to include the rebranding project which drove an increased youth appeal; revamping of the bank’s performance management culture to instill a culture of performance; technology refresh and digital transformation in furtherance of the digital retail strategy he implemented.

Leveraging on the realigned and repositioned operating structures, re-energized workforce, and a more appealing brand, the bank recorded consistent growth in financial performance under his leadership. Specifically, PBT growth of 236% from N9.0bn to N30.4bn in 2019; RoE rose from 5.5% to 13.3%; Customer Deposits grew by 68% from N806.3bn to N1,352.3bn and Savings Deposit rose by 275% from N83.3bn to N312.1bn.

Other notable achievements of the Fidelity CEO include Net Loans and Advances growth of 174% from N426.1bn to N1,165.8bn; Customer Base increase by 121% from 2.4 million to 5.3 million and Digital Banking penetration improvement from 1.0% to 50.1%, accounting for 28.4% of total fee income.

The award was received on behalf of Mr. Okonkwo by the bank’s Executive Director, Operations and Technology, Mr. Gbolahan Joshua who dedicated it to all stakeholders including, customers, shareholders, Board of Directors, Executive Management, and staff.

“This comes as a crowning glory to the contributions of Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo to Fidelity Bank, the banking industry, and the entire Nigerian economy. As you may be aware, he is retiring as our CEO, after the completion of contract tenure, by December 31, 2020. He has asked me to dedicate this to all the stakeholders of the bank, including his family and mentors. According to him his modest achievements and contributions would not have been possible without their unalloyed support and help” said Joshua.

BAFI Awards, organized by BusinessDay Newspapers, seeks to identify and celebrate organizations, teams, and individuals that have achieved excellence in the delivery of financial services across the entire client and customer spectrum. Established 7 years ago, BAFI cuts across banking, insurance, fintech, capital markets, market infrastructure and technology, investment management, pension fund, trustees, registrars, stockbroking, private equity, and digital currencies.

An Awards Review Committee made up of eminent analysts and members of the BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU), evaluates and selects winners using parameters such as Profitability, Net Interest Margins (NIM), Loan to Asset Ratios, Cost to Income Ratios, Non- Performing Loans (NPL), Net Asset Value (NAV), Share Price Performance, Return on Average Asset, Deposits and Loan Growth as well as Return on Average Equity(ROAE) amongst other financial and non-financial indices.

 

 

BUSINESS

Zenith Beta Life Promo Is Still On!

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Zenith Beta Life Promo is still on, don’t miss this golden opportunity to have a better life!

Please visit www.zenithbank.com/betalife to learn more.

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Africa Fintech Foundry To Boost Innovation And ‘Techpreneurs’ With 2021 ‘Accelerator’ Programme

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Africa’s foremost innovation hub, the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), has opened up its registration portal for the 2021 Accelerator program.

The initiative, which is being executed in partnership with Access Bank Plc, seeks to fast-track the growth of the best start-ups operating within the African technology ecosystem. The ‘Accelerator’ programme will fast track and assist the selected start-ups to navigate issues such as start-up pricing and competitiveness, creating endearing customer experiences, support and retention, hiring and people management, scaling for growth and product development cycle fundamentals amongst others.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, the Head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Daniel Awe, said, “Research has shown that 90% of start-ups fail due to various reasons such as lack of funding, being in the wrong market, a lack of research, misaligned partnerships, ineffective marketing, and poor competitive positioning to name a few.  90% is a high percentage rate of failure. This indicates that many things need to go right for a business to succeed. Enabling start-ups to grow, scale and remain relevant in the tech space is where we play a major role as AFF.”

“Since its establishment, the Africa Fintech Foundry has progressively demonstrated leadership in the areas of innovation, financial technology, and entrepreneurship. We recognize the vast array of talent possessed by Africans and the wider global players and the immense potential that our technological start-ups have.

Hence, through the Accelerator programme, we will be providing cohorts with mentorship and clinic hours from leading entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. They will also get access to funding, unrivaled business insights, access to markets, and networking opportunities with our partners at various stages of the program,” he said.

The AFF Accelerator programme will span 12 weeks, with formal and informal mentorship from established founders, investors, and pioneers across various industries.

Ade Bajomo, Access Bank’s Executive Director for Information Technology and Operations, highlighted the need for increased corporate investment in tech-focused capacity building initiatives.  He said “Technology can serve as the catalyst for solving many of the problems faced across various industries. We also believe that it holds the potential to resolve social and economic challenges faced across the African continent.  Therefore, as Africa’s gateway to the world, we have partnered with the continent’s leading accelerator, the Africa Fintech Foundry, to create a platform that will nurture the brightest minds, providing them the needed resources to develop and scale their projects, to the benefit of all.

Start-ups to be considered for admission into the programme include those that: have a tech-enabled solution; offer a unique solution or unique application in a regional setting; have a cross-functional team with a deep understanding of the market – which includes technical lead(s) and founder(s) that are fully committed to the business; have a defensible position (IP; network effects; domain or region expertise); have been in operations for at least 6 months, amongst others.

Interested participants can visit www.africafintechfoundry.com for more information. Those who meet the required criteria will be required to fill an online application. Entry deadline has been disclosed as Saturday, 31 January 2020.

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UBA’s LEO: Celebrating Three Years of Revolutionized Banking Services

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Technology has been a veritable gift to mankind, and over the years, it has been responsible for creating amazingly useful resources that put all the information individuals need at their fingertips. The development of technology has also led to so many mind-blowing discoveries, better facilities, and better luxuries, which has, in turn, helped to improve lifestyle and standard of living.

For instance, through relevant technological development, the average individual has been empowered to shop online and carry out seamless transactions any time of the day or night from the comfort of his own home or business place.

To this end, forward-thinking companies and financial institutions with eyes in the future who have been conversant with the new trend in customer behavior, have painstakingly designed new products and services tailor-made to meet the growing needs of customers anytime anywhere.

It is bearing this in mind that Pan-African Financial Institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, changed the face of e-banking in the African continent for the first time with the introduction of Leo – UBA’s Chat Banker. The idea of Leo, which was birthed in 2018, was to enable customers to make use of their social media accounts to carry out key banking transactions with ease.

This is the first time ever that a financial institution in Africa evolved a one-stop solution to simplify the way customers transact, a key essential in today’s fast-paced world with demands for quick-time transactions and response.

With Leo’s help, customers have been able to open new accounts with ease, receive instant transaction notifications, check their balances on the go, transfer funds, and airtime top-up. Cheque confirmation, bill payments, loan application, account freezing, request for mini statements, flight bookings, airtime, and data purchases, are some other services that the chat banking BOT has been helping customers to carry out since 2018.

And Leo, the Artificial Intelligent Bot which carries out seamless conversations with his customers – who he calls his friends by the way- has achieved this and more in its three-year existence; allowing users to carry out a quick, fast, and recurring transaction with ease from their popular social media accounts such as Facebook and Whatsapp.

No wonder the bank has earned a lot of laurels and accolades in the last three years confirming Leo’s global acceptance and recognitions, as pointed out by UBA’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, some of which are:

‘Africa’s Best Digital Bank of the year’ by Euromoney; The Most; Innovative Bank of the Year’ by International Finance; ‘Best Customer Engagement Tool’ by Africa Fintech; Pulse magazine rated Leo on WhatsApp as ‘The best WhatsApp Banking App’; ‘The Best Social Banking platform’ in Uganda; ‘Excellence in Automated Chatbot Initiative’ by Finnovex Awards; ‘Next Generation Class of 2019’ by CIBN; ‘Best Automated Chatbot Initiative, Application or Programme’ by The Asian Banker. The list is endless.

“The formulation of this product, is consistent with UBA’s Customer 1st philosophy, where we have been doing things not the way we like, but focusing on what the customers want, where they want it, and in the exact platform they want it; Uzoka explained. “At UBA, we have been continuously working with technology giants that have the global capacity to ensure not only seamless but also effortless banking for the millions of our customers across Africa; as all the bank’s subsidiaries in Africa have activated Leo to perform financial services for customers.

Continuing, he said, “Since 2018, Leo has been helping with most transactions and to deliver any form of banking services. And this has been highlighted more especially during the lockdown occasioned by the COvid-19 virus, as Leo assisted all its users on all major social media platforms to carry out all their banking activities without having to physically visit a branch. This, to us, remains an admirable feat because, with Leo, the banking needs of our customers have become easy and simple – as simple as chatting”; Uzoka pointed out.

Within three years of operations, UBA’s Leo has recorded a number of milestones including opened a total of 390,756 accounts; achieving 2,169,384 subscribers; conducting a total of 9,605,703 transaction count worth a value of N81,530,918,868. Leo which has over 2.1m unique users has also generated over 20 million conversations and over 85 million engagements; with such impressive feedback and usage and remains the only AI BoT showcased at the F8 in Mark Zuckerberg’s opening remarks.

UBA’s Group Head, Digital Banking, Sampson Aneke, reiterated that Leo is not just a chat machine, but an artificial intelligence personality meant to address any type of banking concerns raised by customers.

“Leo has been operating a secure lifestyle banking platform on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and IOS and Andriod to assist customers with their transactions while chatting with your friends and business partners. The security with this platform has been that for every transaction, a One Time Password (OTP) is generated to the phone number that is registered on your account,” he explained and added that the bank is working tirelessly to improve LEO’s services to the customers in the coming weeks.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-one million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints, in 20 African countries. With its presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance, and ancillary banking services.

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