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UBA’s LEO Sweeps across Africa, Launches in Cameroon, Zambia, CDI, Senegal, Congo



United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc’s flagship Chat Banking personality, Leo, is set to change the face of e-banking across Key African markets following its launch in Cameroon, Zambia, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Congo.

Already Leo which has been very active in Africa’s biggest market, Nigeria, has brought ease to the customers, as it has aided them with numerous transactions since the beginning of the year when it was officially launched in Lagos.

With this launch, customers and non-customers of the bank will be able to make use of their social media accounts to carry out numerous banking transactions from the comfort of their devices – mobile phones, laptops, tablets, palmtops and the likes.

The interesting thing to note is that Leo, while delivering lifestyle and quality banking through the Facebook Messenger chat platform, has come into these markets with some new and additional features. For instance, users can derive vital information from the chatbot as he can provide the names of global personalities around key markets. Another new feature of Leo is that when asked, he can provide the current time in any city and the weather conditions making it easy for customers and non-customers who seek to navigate between cities to do so with ease.

This, is in addition to the other key features of the artificial intelligence personality which include addressing any type of banking concerns raised by customers. They will be able to open new accounts, receive instant transaction notifications, check their balances on the go, transfer funds and airtime top up. They will also be able to confirm cheques, pay bills; apply for loans, freeze accounts, request for mini statements, amongst other things.

Customers can easily lodge their complaints through the platform and can also view complaint tickets.

It is important to note that UBA remains the first financial institution in Africa has come up with this manner of solution to simplify the way customers transact. Something that has become necessary in today’s fast-paced world with demands for quick-time transactions and response.

The Group Managing Director, UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, said that the launch of Leo is part of initiatives aimed at putting the bank’s customers first with UBA continuously developing strategies aimed at easing transactions for the bank’s numerous users, while ensuring utmost safety of their transactions.

Mr. Uzoka said, “The formulation of this product, is consistent with the bank’s customer 1st philosophy, where we are 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.’

“At UBA, we have been working with technology giants that have the global capacity to ensure not only seamless but also effortless banking for millions of our customers across Africa. We at UBA, have collaborated with Facebook to come up with this innovation that is capable of revolutionising the way banking is done in Africa,” he said.

Uzoka who noted that Leo will in the nearest future, show up on other social platforms, added that all it takes to enjoy the services is simply to have a Facebook account.

Also speaking at the launch of Leo, the Group Head of Online Banking at UBA, Mr. Austine Abolusoro, 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 is ready and waiting to help with most transactions and to deliver any form of banking services. Leo is operating a lifestyle banking platform on facebook messenger to assist with your transactions while chatting with your friends and business partners. The security with this platform is that for every transaction, an OTP (One Time Password) is generated to the phone number that is registered on your account.”

UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the leading providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The Bank provides services to over 14 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms.

UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering, following its listing on the NSE in1970. It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts. The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Bank has a well-diversified shareholder base, which includes foreign and local institutional investors.

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Fidelity Bank launches ‘GAIM 3’ to create value for customers




Fidelity Bank Plc Monday, announced the launch of Season 3 of the “Get Alert in Millions” promo (GAIM 3).

At a press conference in the bank’s head office in Lagos, the MD/CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo appreciated “esteemed customers for their loyalty and patronage.”

Mr Okonkwo said the ‘Get Alert in Millions Promo’ was the 8th promo in 11 years and is designed to create value and opportunities for customers.

He added that “Excellence in Customer Service“, which is the theme of this year’s Customer Service is going the extra mile to ensure that customers are happy and satisfied with the Bank’s products or services.

Mr Okonkwo says it pays to stay with Fidelity Bank listing three reasons, the Savings Scheme (GAIM 3 and others before it); the Fidelity Loyalty Scheme and; the strengthening of financial inclusion, encouraging the savings culture and empowering customers.

He also talked about the ease customers enjoy with Fidelity to include, Online Banking; Instant Banking *770# and Flaskey.

In his brief remarks, Mr Okonkwo says the bank is all-inclusive as it is an SME Bank which has set up a full-fledged SME division.

In attendance were the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Lagos State Lottery Board, Consumer Protection Commission (CPC), EXCO Colleagues, Staff Members, Valued Customers, Gentlemen of the Press.



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Heritage Bank backs global movement for affordable solar electricity in Lagos




Heritage Bank Plc has aligned forces with ‘Liter of Light Nigeria’, a global open source movement, to provide sustainable solar electricity for Itomaro community in Lagos State.

Passionate about making cheap and sustainable solar street lights accessible to the impoverished off-grid communities in Nigeria, the partnership, on Thursday, launched 35 units of solar energy-powered street lights it produced for the community. The movement comprises a group of Nigerian students of the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, who is passionate about making a positive difference to the world through the gift of light.

In his remarks to the beneficiary community during the launch, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, who was represented by Ozena Utulu, Head, Brand Management & Sustainability, Heritage Bank Plc, commended the people living in the community for giving access to the joint team of Heritage Bank and Liter of Light Nigeria to execute the project.

He noted that it takes two to tango; stressing that without their confidence in the project the achievement recorded would not have been possible. She therefore commended the youth of the community, who volunteered to participate in the training sessions organized during the two-week period of the production of the street lights.


Sekibo was confident that with the knowledge acquired during the training sessions, the effective maintenance of the new street lights would not be difficult. Her words: “These youth already have the knowledge required to ensure the street lights are effectively sustained and to produce more units.”

The MD charged those youth to research more into what solar energy can be used for in the contemporary world. She stated: “Read more about solar energy; you never can tell where the knowledge you have acquired under the programme can lead to in the future. My advice for you is try to discover yourself now concerning what you would love to become in the future and begin to work towards achieving the goal.

Sekibo’s words: “Use the knowledge acquired today to create wealth. The power rests with you now. In everything you do in life, challenges can come; but remain steadfast and confront whatever storm of life. With such determination, you will achieve your goal.”

Meanwhile, Enemona Adaji, one of the Project Co-coordinators for Liter of Light, disclosed that the movement was founded with the aim of providing ecologically sustainable street lights. According to him, the easily constructed device consists of a 1-2L bottle fashioned into a solar bulb delivering as much light as a 40 – 60-watt incandescent bulb.

According to him, the team had earlier provided100 sustainable and affordable solar-powered lightings to the Makoko slum, an area which previously struggled with lighting.

Also speaking at the event, Emma Tayou, representative of the University of Nottingham; explained that the institution has culture of charging its students to think about any viable project that can help to positively impact the society.

According to her, a group of Nigerian students of the university decided that they would take on the challenge of lighting up the dark streets of impoverished communities in this country. She said the university bought into the idea and supported them with the take-off grant that set the initial pedestal for them.

She therefore commended the team for the sacrifices each member is making to ensure the mission is accomplished in every community selected.

Among the 25 volunteers, who participated in the project in Itomaro are: Emmanuel Mustapha and Abraham Samuel.

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Sekibo urges entrepreneurs to collaborate with banks’ SME desks for growth




Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo has encouraged the budding African entrepreneurs of the Next Titan Housemates to talk to small and medium enterprise (SME) desks of banks because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has a policy for disbursing money to banks for SMEs sector.

Sekibo stated this while delivering a keynote address titled: Why African needs new breed of entrepreneurs and why is Heritage Bank championing it, at the premiere of the 5th edition of the Next Titan TV reality show in Lagos over the weekend.

The Next Titan is Nigeria’s entrepreneurial reality TV show where thousands of ambitious young entrepreneurs across the country compete with one another for a grand prize of N5 million and a brand new car to start his or her dream business.

He, however challenged the budding entrepreneurs to stir up their entrepreneurship DNAs in a bid to allow innate ideas to flow and blossom.

According to Sekibo, the entrepreneur is not the risk taker but the person who relentlessly pursue opportunities without recklessness, without regard to not having money, house or car or any strong financial support from family members, remarking that in most cases, he is the one that drops out at of school.

He said during the pre-colonial era in Africa, Africans, (our fore fathers) who were the entrepreneurs of those days in places like Lagos Island and Badagry were engaged in fishing and farming as well as trade across the west coast among themselves under an organised system.

The bank’s boss said during the colonial period, (our fathers) were affected by the culture and traditions of the colonialists a development which affected their psyche, thereby making what is foreign to be more important than what is local.

Sekibo said western tradition became the order of the day as Africans moved away from entrepreneurship to white collar jobs to earn monthly income and the word job came into play, adding that work was no longer defined as the work of a tough man or woman on the farmland but depended on how much of the colonial language one understand.

In order to reverse the trend, Sekibo contended that budding African entrepreneurs should relive the DNAs that their forefathers left for them by uncapping them so that their innate ideas could flow and blossom.

He said Africans burn with ideas but they needed to mine them so that they could blossom, remarking that they need to have mentors that will enable them to achieve their goals.

The Chief Executive also said money is very critical to entrepreneurship and they had to be bold and courageous to get it, adding that there is a spirit behind getting money which is largely influenced by character and integrity. He enjoined them to collaborate to bring down the cost of money.

Sekibo enjoined them to be bold and should not be afraid to fail because failing is not a failure and should not give up because they had failed.

Also speaking, Mr. Folusho Philips, Managing Director of Philips Consulting also listed some factors for successful entrepreneurship. They are competence, character and behaviour, study and steadiness as well as compliant and chemistry of the prospective entrepreneur.

Mrs. Yetunde Odejayi, Permanent Secretary to the office of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State noted that entrepreneurship was part of key programmes of the current administration. She encouraged them to be bold and resilient and be prepared to face challenges and also informed them about state’s Ministry of Wealth Creation and the Lagos State Trust Fund (LSSTF).

Mr. Babarinde Abiona, General Manager (Marketing) with Coscharis Motors tasked them to believe in themselves and be focused, adding that Coscharis, a major dealer of Ford Motors in the country will give a brand new Ford Focus to the winner.

One of the boardroom judges, Chris Parkes commended Heritage Bank for investing in the project and noted that judges would be very critical of their ideas because they want ideas that could add value to the country’s economy.

About 60 finalists were unveiled at the premiere out of more than 2,000 contestants that were screened at various auditions in Port Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja and Lagos, however only 16 made it to the house while Heritage Bank used a wild card to add two more contestants: Kalu Sylvester and Ugochi Ogadi to bring the number to 18.


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