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Reinventing FirstBank through creativity and innovation

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By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma (NAN),

 

For a financial institution of FirsBank’s pedigree, it is not uncommon for its top managers to be creative and constantly innovative.

Indeed, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, attributes the Bank’s consistent growth in the past 125 years to innovation and reinvention of its products and services aimed at satisfying customers’ needs and aspirations.

An elated Adeduntan recently said the Bank was driven by the desire to put its customers and stakeholders at the heart of its business.

“For over 125 years of our existence, we have focused on providing excellent financial services to meet the needs of our esteemed customers.

“We continue to improve on our products and also create new ones that suit their specific financial needs.

“The reason why we have been successful is our ability to invent and reinvent ourselves. You can only be successful like that when you put your customer at the centre piece of all your actions. That is the secret of our success,” said Adeduntan.

According to him, the Bank leverages Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to improve overall service delivery levels across all key infrastructure parameters: speed, performance, availability, security and scalability.

“This will enable us to deliver great customer experiences, take advantage of new digital technologies to reduce costs, improve quality, ensure transparency, and create value. We are building the next-generation digital bank.

 

“It is in our DNA to continuously transform and project for the future by reinventing ourselves, re-engineering and creating value for our customers by rethinking next generation solutions ahead of our peers in the industry.

“We are positioned to always put our customers’ current and future needs at the core of our business,” Adeduntan stated emphatically.

He noted that the Bank was also transforming the way it communicated and executed its corporate strategy through rethinking the approach to implementing projects, collaborating, measuring the outcomes and realising value from all of its transformation investments.

“The transformation programme is ongoing, and a lot of employees are already fully involved at various levels, leading and contributing to these transformation initiatives,” Adeduntan added.

He highlighted some of the laudable achievements of the Bank to include the first bank to launch the cash deposit ATM in Nigeria in 2011, the second bank in Africa and the first in Nigeria to issue 10 million cards.

Adeduntan said the Bank was also recognised by Interswitch as the first financial institution in Nigeria to achieve 100 million sustained monthly transactions in electronic payment in December 2015 and in May 2016, respectively.

He explained that the Bank, in line with its financial banking drive, instituted agent banking with over 27,000 agencies – so far achieved – across the country to reach the unbanked.

According to him, the Bank in 2008, was the first Nigerian bank and first quoted company in the country to hit two trillion naira market capitalisation.

Mr. Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank’s Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, said, during the Bank’s launch of Chat Banking on WhatsApp recently, FirstBank would continue to offer endearing services to its customers.

To him, creativity and innovation are not new to FirstBank, and the twin virtue has fueled the Bank’s foray abroad.

 

He said in furtherance with the Bank’s innovation drive, it acquired a new subsidiary, Banque International de Credit (BIC), one of the leading banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2011.

Similarly, in November 2013, it acquired ICB in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Guinea, and in 2014, the Bank added ICB in Senegal to its prized acquisitions.

The Bank, which changed its name from BBWA to Bank of West Africa (BWA) in 1957 also adopted the name, Standard Bank of West Africa in 1966, following its merger with Standard Bank, United Kingdom.

Incorporated in 1969 as Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited, the first name change occurred in 1979 and again in 1991 to First Bank of Nigeria Limited and First Bank of Nigeria Plc, respectively.

In 2012, the Bank changed its name again to First Bank of Nigeria Limited as part of a restructuring resulting in FBN Holdings Plc, having detached its commercial business from other businesses in the FirstBank Group, in compliance with the new regulation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

As the global operating environment evolves, FirstBank has kept pace, responding to the dynamic needs of its customers, investors, regulators, host communities, employees and other stakeholders.

Through a balanced approach to plan execution, FirstBank has consolidated its industry leadership by maintaining a trans-generational appeal.

Thus, the Bank has continuously boosted its customer base, which cuts across all segments in terms of size, structure and sectors.

Leveraging experience spanning over a century of dependable and appealing services, FirstBank has continued to build relationships and alliances with key sectors of the economy that have served as strategic building blocks for the well-being, growth and development of the country.

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UNIBEN Alumni honours UBA CEO Uzoka, Giwa-Osagie, others

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UBA Kennedy Uzoka

University of Benin Alumni Association, Lagos Chapter has honoured the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa(UBA), Mr. Kennedy Uzoka.

The honour which was conferred at an impressive Dinner held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja-Lagos at the weekend  was in appreciation of Uzoka’s ‘hardwork, diligence and continuous commitment to the values of excellence’ as a banker and head of the Pan-African financial institution with presence in 20 African countries.

Honoured along with Uzoka were Emeritus Professor, Osato Giwa-Osagie, a renowned professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Founder of OMNI Medical Clinic, Dr(Mrs) Rametu Omamegbe Momodu, Deputy Director, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others.

Responding to the honour, Uzoka expressed his delight at being honoured by the university he holds in high esteem, saying, “I am very proud of this great university which was very instrumental in moulding me to what I have become today, driving a financial institution with strong commitment to the development of the African continent,” Uzoka said.

He reiterated his personal commitment and that of the bank to continue to support the development of UNIBEN, adding that UBA has been showing deep interest and support to the institution, for instance, it recently built an ultra-modern ICT Centre at the Ugbowo Campus through the UBA Foundation among other things.

The Chairman of Occasion, Gen. Felix Edafioghor, who spoke at the occasion, said the dinner was in honour of the Alumni of the university who have contributed immensely to the development of the society and that of the university. He encouraged the alumni to show deep interest in the affairs of their alma-matter by giving back to the university that contributed to their  successes.

Also speaking, Pharm. Stephen Onojomete, Chairman, UNIBEN Alumni Association, Lagos Chapter, noted that the award provides an “opportunity to showcase and celebrate our great mean and women who by hardwork, diligence and a continuous commitment to the values of excellence; have recorded major strides in their chosen profession thus contributing to national growth and development in general and projecting the good image of UNIBEN.”

Kennedy Uzoka is a distinguished African business executive, with vast experience in banking, business development, financial and business advisory, strategic planning and execution as well as human resource management. He is an advocate of disruptive technology and has led many game-changing innovations in the African banking industry over the past two decades of his career.

Uzoka holds a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Benin is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN). He is an alumnus of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) of the Harvard Business School, Boston USA, the International Institute of Management Development (IMS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the London Business School, United Kingdom.

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Again, UBA Group emerges African Bank of the Year

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CEO, UBA Africa, Mr Victor Osadolor(middle) with the “African Bank of the Year 2019” won by United Bank for Africa(UBA) Group at The Bankers Awards held in London,

The Banker Magazine has once again selected leading African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc as the “African Bank of the Year 2019”.

This is the second time, UBA has clinched the prestigious award, having been named Best African Bank of 2017 by The Banker magazine.

This year, UBA also won best bank category in 6 of its subsidiaries: UBA Benin, UBA Tchad, UBA Gabon, UBA Congo, UBA Cote D’Ivoire and UBA Sierra Leone.

The unprecedented win marks the first time ever in the history of the banker awards, that any one bank will be given as many as six wins including the grand regional award.

The awards ceremony took place at the Sheraton Grand, Park Lane in London at the weekend where UBA was represented by its CEO, UBA Africa, Mr. Victor Osadolor who received all seven awards on behalf of the bank.

John Everington, Middle East and Africa Editor for The Banker, said the aim of the award “is to highlight industry wide excellence within the global banking community. The winner is selected from participating banks in each of the countries from which entries are received for the competition.”

Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, UBA’s group managing director/chief executive officer, who expressed delight over the recognition from The Banker stated “The recognitions come as a reassurance that we are on track in consolidating our leadership position in Africa, as we continue to create superior value for all our stakeholders,”

“UBA must be doing something right, and for us, these awards mark another milestone for the Group. It is a testament of the diligent execution of the bank’s strategic initiatives geared towards customer service. Being recognised as Africa’s best bank complements positive feedback from customers and is a recognition of our improving efficiencies, service quality and innovation. I therefore dedicate it to our growing loyal corporate and retail customers, who are our essence.”

Uzoka dedicated the awards to the UBA’s customers, “whose loyalty, support and patronage have remained the source of the group’s growth and competitive edge in all the markets we operate.”

The CEO of UBA Africa, Victor Osadolor who received the awards, added: “UBA group will continue to innovate and lead in all our business segments, whilst delivering top-notch operational efficiencies and best-in-class customer service. We are beginning to realise early gains from our ongoing transformation programme and I am excited about the days ahead.”

The Banker Magazine is a publication of the Financial Times – a leading global finance news publication which has been in existence since 1888. The Banker magazine is the definitive reference in international banking for high level decision makers globally.

The “Bank of the Year Awards” are widely regarded as the Oscars of the Banking Industry.  For over 90 years, The Banker has been the world’s leading monthly journal for the banking industry.

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

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 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 top providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The bank provides services to about 15 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa with over 1000 branches and customer centres and a robust online and mobile banking platform.

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

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New continental talents to emerge soon from BIC Art Master Africa 2019 competition

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Leading global stationery brand, BIC is organizing its first continent-wide art competition tagged, BIC Art Master Africa 2019. The competition, which aims to foster local creativity, invites African talents to create artwork using the BIC® Ball Pen as their medium.

This is not the first edition of the programme as the BIC Art Master competition was first held in South Africa in 2017 and 2018.

Following the success of the campaign in South Africa, the brand decided to expand the competition to include all African countries. Artists residing in Africa were given the opportunity to submit up to three pieces of art on the competition’s site, bicartmaster.comuntil the 31st of October, for a chance to be titled BIC Art Master Africa champion. The platform has been open for the public to vote for their favourite artwork during this entire month of November.

Yemi, Ojo, Country Business Development Manager revealed that BIC was originally founded on one hero product, BIC’s Cristal® ballpoint pen, that served as an essential tool for people everywhere. In his words “As we expanded our range of ballpoint pens, we saw consumers around the world redefine how they used our signature blue ink. BIC Art Master was born from our connection with art and creativity with the objective to create a platform that recognizes local talent around Africa.”

The competition will recognize two winners at a special award this December, including a ‘BIC Art Master Africa 2019’ winner and a ‘People’s Choice 2019’ prize winner. The competition’s champion will be selected by a panel of experts including Ghanaian artist and sculptor, Enam Bosokah; professor and designer, Hein Liebenberg; renowned artists and interior designer, Valerie Manouvrier; professional curator and art advisor, Herve Mikaeloff; and avid art enthusiast and collector and member of BIC’s founding family, Geoffroy Bich.

The winner will receive a USD 1,000 cash prize, a personalized digital gallery space, and a chance to be featured as part of BIC’s art collection, La BIC Collection. The ‘People’s Choice’ prize winner will be selected based on the highest number of votes received by the public and will be granted a cash prize of USD 500 as well as a BIC Artistry Kit.

BIC Art Master Africa 2019 will also look to recognize consumers who engage with the competition by selecting one ‘Lucky Voter’ of those that voted on the competition’s website and one ‘Lucky Influencer’ winner, of those that posted about the competition on social platforms using the #BICArtMaster hashtag. Both winners will be selected at random and will receive a prize worth USD 250 each.

BIC’s connection to art spans more than 60 years, as the brand has provided platforms for artists  around the world find great inspiration in creating portraits, designs, sculptures, and installations from the brand’s iconic products. The brand regularly works with artists, designers, curators, and institutions around the world on creative projects and expositions. Last year, BIC hosted in Paris an unprecedented exhibition with 250 works by internationally recognized and upcoming artists, which captured the art community and took its audience on an immersive display.

BIC is a world leader in stationery, lighters and shavers. For more than 70 years, BIC has honored the tradition of providing high-quality, affordable products to consumers everywhere. Through this unwavering dedication BIC has become one of the most recognized brands and is a trademark registered worldwide for identifying BIC products which are sold in more than 160 countries around the world.

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