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UBA’s LEO Continues to Evolve, Remains Smartest Banking Chatbot 

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…Hits 3 million user mark

Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has in the last three years won the hearts of its customers with its artificial intelligence chatbot, LEO, which has proven to be the most formidable artificial intelligence chatbot till date; serving an ever-increasing clientele who now have less transaction hassles to worry about.  

Leo is an AI chatbot for banking services currently available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Device and is set to launch soon on other social media platforms.

Birthed January 11, 2018, with a firm resolve to prioritize its customers as well as put the bank at the heart of disruptive technologies that will transform the experience of esteemed customers, UBA did just that with a million users becoming hooked in less than three months of its LEO’s inception.

Three years later, and with over 3 million customers and counting, UBA’s LEO, has, without doubt, remained the smartest Banking Chatbot in Nigeria because of its speed and quick learning intelligence and has continued to evolve with plenty to offer its teeming customers. While other financial institutions are still trying to figure to find their feet as regards AI, UBA’s LEO has become a massive success as the AI continues to consolidate on it successes and accolades winning several awards overtime.

The chat bot continues to enjoy periodic and systematic upgrade with special emphasis on enhanced advancements and specialised unique features which have clearly earned the chatbot over 3 million Users.

UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, affirmed that UBA customers indeed agree that LEO is one of the bank’s biggest investments in cutting-edge technology and has been steadily changing the face of  banking in the continent.

“UBA’s vision has always been and will remain a dominating force in Africa’s digital banking space. Our resolve is to provide unparalleled experience across all channels. We are a technology-driven institution with vast knowledge in the business that we do and LEO, being a tested, dependable and intelligent personality, replicated on WhatsApp the success it recorded on the Facebook Messenger platform where it started its journey and later on the IOS (iPhone Operating System) platform . It is a solution that is from the customer’s standpoint, easy to use by anyone regardless of demography. LEO is always ready and waiting to help with any form of banking service,” Uzoka said.

“As an app that has been in existence for over nine years, reaching more than 1.5 billion people in over 180 countries, WhatsApp has become very essential in lifestyle and that is why UBA saw the need to include LEO’s services in that very important app and the premium private chat platform has assured that there will be no spam messages, as the development is to enable businesses serve their customers with useful information,” the GMD stated,

Uzoka explained that LEO is already present in over 20 African countries and in three languages and has a number of rich and robust features bound to mesmerise existing and potential customers with services that are extremely fast and secure as all transactions and enquiries are encrypted, end-to-end.

LEO has the ability to do a wide range of things, including funds transfer, call card top-up, checking of account balance, retrieval of bank statements, instant account openings for new customers, statement to embassy/other banks/microfinance, purchase of airtime/ data, paying of bills (LCC, PHCN, Cable TV), effectively helping with savings and spend limit.

The AI chatbot also boosts of remarkable innovative features that allows customers make banking Services – Request/stop/confirm Cheques, Block card, Log & track complaints, ATM/Branch Locator, Freeze accounts, and check weather etc. Other features include Customer Care complaint resolution, linking of new account, flight Payment, linking and Funding of Prepaid Card, Travel Notification, Wakanow services and Dubai Visa service.

The GMD pointed out that, customers who have engaged with LEO are more than delighted about their experience and credit it for automatically extracting account details without hassles, adding that “Testimonies abound about how it is generally easier to use LEO compared to its counterparts. For example, LEO automatically detects account numbers via a customer’s WhatsApp mobile number and goes ahead to seamlessly help customers check their account balance as well as top-up airtime”.

Reviews from customers note that LEO is more personable, more humane, and it feels like talking to an experienced customer service/Fulfilment representative. The Bot also allows customers to easily lodge and process complaints with adequate and timely feedback.

UBA offers banking services to more than twenty-five million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points, in 20 African countries. With 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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UBA Announces Winners of the 7th Bumper Savings Account Promo  

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has again rewarded its loyal customers in its Bumper Savings Promo in line with its unwavering commitment towards prioritizing its customers’ financial well-being as well as boosting savings culture in Nigeria.

 

Since the bank commenced the promo in 2020, over 200 winners have emerged from the initiative that continues to reward loyalty and encourage customers to cultivate a savings habit that helps to stay afloat especially during challenging times.

 

The promo is open to account holders of the bank from the six geographical zones in Nigeria, and customers only need to open a UBA Bumper account and save a minimum of N5000 in a month to qualify. The more multiples of N5000 they saved, the higher their chances of winning cash prizes and other juicy benefits.

The electronic raffle draw, which is the 7th since inception, was held at Kairo’s Hub on Wednesday, and was witnessed by relevant regulatory bodies including the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and Consumer Protection Council who were on ground to ensure transparency and accountability.

Winners who emerged from the draw, include Olunwa Osita Ambrose who smiled home with the star prize of a whooping N2m, while Saheed Adeshina Adediran won N1.2m rent for a year. Adewunmi Olaniyi Sobowale, another lucky winner got a 500k shopping allowance. 

 

Others who equally smiled home with N100,000 cash prizes were;  Bayode Peter Oluwaseun, Archibong Unyime Gift, Yakubu Fali, Alaegbu Promise Uchenna, Onyenwenyi Chidimma Confidence, Maria Obianuju Onyeneke, Emmanuel Kalu, Aramide Afolabi Temitope, Ijeoma Juliet Okika, Taiwo Micheal Odofin, Daina Ochekema Egbe, Ighodalo Thompson, Mercy Effiong, Alice Gabriel, Imrana Bello, Onyedika Promise Umeji, Uzoma Chibuike Timothy, Adewole James Idowu, Opeyemi John Kolawole and Israel Ojima Daniel.

L-R: Group Head, Customer Fulfilment Centre, United Bank for Africa(UBA), Prince Ayewoh; Winner of N100,000 cash prize in the UBA Bumper Savings Account Promo, Bayode Peter Oluwaseun; and Head of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Liability, Babatunde Ajayi, during the presentation of cash prizes to winners of the UBA Bumper Savings Account promo draw, held in Lagos, recently

Olunwa Osita Ambrose who won N2m could not hide his excitement when he was contacted over the phone. He screamed, “Thank You God” over and over and took time to appreciate UBA for the wonderful gesture saying; “This is indeed great. Thank you UBA. You people cannot understand the great impact you have made in my life with this reward. It will transform my life greatly. May God almighty bless this bank and all those who conceptualized the UBA Bumper Account Savings Promo,” Ambrose gushed excitedly. “I am committed to UBA for life,” he concluded.

 

UBA’s Head of Personal Banking, Ogechi Altraide, who presented gifts to some of the winners who were physically present at the event told customers that UBA places them at the very heart of its business which, according to her, is why the bank remains passionate about their overall success and added that this has consistently been proven in numerous ways which is why the bank has continually invested in cutting-edge technology to improve its service delivery and its overall aim of delighting customers.

 

She said, “With customer-centric promos like the UBA Bumper promo, we have created an ever-increasing list of millionaires who continue to join the UBA customer millionaire club. For this edition of the promo, we decided to pick the month of October, which is the month of independence commemoration so we can give more Nigerians reasons to cheer while celebrating the country’s independence anniversary”.

 

“We know that this promo will put lasting smiles on the faces of our customers and will also assure them that UBA truly values them’” Altraide said.

 

Head, Marketing, Diana Ubah also spoke of UBA’s passionate commitment to give back to its customers especially during these challenging economic periods, where people need all the support they can get to make life more meaningful.

 

“I have witnessed a lot of events like this and I must say the happiness and live to change moments that comes with a customer getting an unexpected reward is indeed a special one! To this end, I encourage those who are yet to join the winning team, should do so quickly. Without any iota of doubt, you always win with UBA” said Ubah.

 

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 a 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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FINTECH SUMMIT 5.0: FIRSTBANK TO HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPACT OF OPEN BANKING ON FINANCIAL INCLUSION  

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Dr. Adesola Adeduntan - FirstBank CEO

 

 

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that the 2021 edition of its annual FINTECH Summit is scheduled to hold on Thursday, 7 October 2021 by 10:00 am. The virtual event is opened to everyone, but participants are required to register via the link  https://firstbanknigeria.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NmkYfeckQqu4vjTWy5lr5w

 

The 2021 edition of the summit which is the fifth in its series is themed; “Open Banking and its Derivative Opportunities for the Financial Ecosystem” and will be discussed by experts, policy influencers, regulatory officials as well as key and leading players in the Nigerian financial, banking and technology climate. 

 

Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe, the Lead Faculty of Tekedia Institute with a PhD in engineering from John Hopkins University, USA, will be leading the discussion as the Keynote speaker alongside other panelists; Ankit Sharma, Director at Strategy&, a part of the PwC network, based out of Mexico; Ope Adeoye, CEO (Chief Plumber) at One Pipe; Aminu Maida, Executive Director, Technology & Operations at Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS),  Musa Jimoh, Deputy Director, Payment Systems, CBN and Olayinka Situ, Head, Corporate Transformation, FirstBank.   

 

The need for Open Banking in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized as the importance goes beyond just convenience to its game-changing impact in transforming value creation, product conceptualization and closing the financially excluded gap.

 

Through standardized and accessible open API technologies, innovators and product developers alike are now availed a wealth of big data and attendant insights, with the potential to completely redefine standards for product conceptualization, customer satisfaction and service delivery across Africa’s largest economy. This is the focus of this year’s theme; exploring the depth and range of these derivative opportunities set to be triggered by the application of an Open Banking regime in the country. 

 

Building up conversations into the event, the Bank recently hosted several podcasts with speakers sharing insightful tips that will impact an end–to–end growth of financial technology in the country. The podcasts are enhanced with useful nuggets as there is new and useful information for everyone. 

 

Guests discussants in the podcasts include; Joshua Chibueze, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of PiggyVest, a Nigerian FinTech company committed to giving everyone the power to better manage their growth and finances; David Peterside, Chief Operating Officer of Okra, a fintech company committed to empowering companies and developers to build products with seamless access to inclusive financial data and secure payments. The podcasts which are opened to everyone are available on the Bank’s official Instagram handle – firstbanknigeria.

 

Speaking on the event, the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr Adesola Adeduntan said, “our annual FinTech Summit in the past four years has been a platform of leading conversations and practices that have impacted the financial technology and electronic banking eco-system which has been integral to bridging the gap and digital divide of modern banking in today’s global village. Participants at our summits have been enlightened on ways to optimally carry out their digital transactions and business activities in safe and seamless ways.

 

Financial services have continually evolved in Nigeria and the world over and we intend as in previous years to use our FinTech summit this year to discuss different views on Open Banking and its associated opportunities with the goal of building on the successes achieved in the past’’.

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FINTECH 5.0: EVALUATING HOW FIRSTBANK STRENGTHENS COLLABORATION

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…To drive financial inclusion

 

It was Sir Isaac Newton, in his letter to Robert Hooke in 1675, who wrote the now-famous quote: “If I have seen further (than others), it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”The shoulders of giants Sir Newton referred to has to do with leverage provided by the discoveries and experiences of people who have gone before or walked that same path earlier, that pave the way for and enable other people and a new generation to take things to a totally new dimension.

The truth is, giants whose shoulders provide such leverage to the next generation can be found in various fields and various nations. In Nigeria, for example, such giants exist in various fields and they are known and recognised.

Take the fintech (financial technology) space in Nigeria, where one bank is known to have stood as a giant with very broad shoulders, having capacities that have been built up and accumulated over 127 continuous years. Every year since 2016 (apart from 2017 when it was implementing ideas from 2016, including a Digital Innovation Lab), this well-recognised bank has provided a platform for the most robust engagement of the fintech industry in Nigeria. Tagged Fintech Summit, the annual engagement has continued to help in catalysing the fintech sector to ever-higher levels from year to year.

Held in Lagos the commercial capital of Nigeria and arguably the fintech capital of Africa, given Nigeria’s status as the leading nation in the fintech space in Africa, the annual FirstBank Fintech Summit has attracted an average of a thousand participants, who are mostly fintech owners, workers and enthusiasts, yearly. Last year’s Summit, Fintech Summit 4.0 with the theme

“How Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence will Disrupt Fintech in Nigeria”, however, drew an unprecedented number of participants – over 6,000 from across 52 different countries. It was the first virtual Summit due to the restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and it featured as keynote speaker Silicon Valley-based innovator of international repute, Chinedu Echeruo, who founded HopStop that was later sold to Apple for US$1 billion. Imagine the inspiration, dreams and aspirations young people soak up while listening to speakers with such a profile.

Far from being one-directional – with all the talk flowing from only the speaker to the audience – the yearly Summit is actually a platform for multidimensional engagement involving various stakeholders in the fintech industry – operators, regulators, investors, enthusiasts, fintech journalists and writers, bankers, et cetera.

It offers an unequalled opportunity for networking among fintech and other stakeholders, leading to opportunities for collaboration within the community. For small businesses and start-ups powered by FirstBank’s support, the annual Summit has been a veritable platform for showcasing them. The platform has also served for the announcement of policy initiatives coupled with pronouncements that provide clarifications to policy. This is due to invitations extended to regulators and the important role they are assigned in conversations facilitated during the Summit.

The Summit that preceded last year’s, i.e., the third edition of Fintech Summit 3.0 held in 2019, featured another heavyweight in Nigeria’s fintech industry, Victor Asemota, founder of Swifta Systems & Services, as keynote speaker. The theme “Banking + Tech = Solving Real Problems”, included panel sessions featuring experts with over two hundred combined years of experience in both the financial and technological industries.

They applied their knowledge, expertise and experience to address challenges in the technologically-driven business world, structured in terms of Solving Business Problems; Solving Regulatory, Security and Legal Problems; and Solving Lifestyle Problems. At the end of the Summit, participants must have felt that the Summit delivered on the confidence the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Adesola Adeduntan, had expressed when he remarked in his welcome address, “I am optimistic that every organisation represented here will be empowered to provide services with greater speed and solve real societal problems to the advantage of the Nigerian populace through the insights that will be gained from this event.“

Fintech Summit 3.0 had built on the success of the second edition, Fintech Summit 2.0 held in 2018, which had “The Future of Banking – The Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data” as a theme. Adia Sowho, the Managing Director of Mines in Nigeria, had, as the first keynote speaker, stressed the importance of collaboration between legacy banks and fintechs in the overall good of their shared financial services space. The Deputy Managing Director of FirstBank, Gbenga Shobo, had, in his welcome address, said that FirstBank was committed to finding the right balance in its approach in supporting the budding fintech industry. It is gratifying that the bank has since found that right balance and pushed ahead enthusiastically with the continual annual engagement that is its yearly Fintech Summit.

For those who like to bring up the argument that deposit money banks (DMBs) and fintech are rivals competing in the same space for the same customers and wonder why FirstBank, a leading deposit money bank, would itself be involved in efforts to catalyse the fintech industry, they need to wake up and smell the coffee. FirstBank is continuously evolving and staying on the cutting edge of technology in order to better serve its customers, who are themselves evolving and adapting to newer and more efficient and convenient technologies as they become available.

And FirstBank is on a journey to a future where it is happy, in the spirit of the African tradition of Ubuntu, to take all fintech along with it. In the words of another famous quote, “The sky is too big for two [or many] big birds flying in it to collide.” FirstBank believes there is ample room for all players – deposit money banks, fintech, et cetera – to fulfil their unique roles. Therefore, collaboration, not competition, is FirstBank’s watchword. And FirstBank considers fintech partners in progress in its avowed commitment to driving financial inclusion.

FirstBank’s own evolution and the transition is causing some people to question its continuous classification by the Central Bank as a deposit money bank (with a preponderance of bricks-and-mortar banking operations) rather than a digital bank. And the reasons for their argument cannot be easily waved aside. In 2020, for example, over 85 per cent of the banking transactions that were required by customers of FirstBank were performed on the bank’s self-service channels.

That means customers of the bank only needed the attention of the bank’s staff or branches for just 15 per cent of all the banking transactions they required in 2020. There are now as many as over 16 million customers between FirstBank’s digital channels of online banking (called FirstOnline), mobile banking (christened FirstMobile) and USSD banking (called *894# quick banking).

Between FirstOnline and FirstMobile, a growth of 21 per cent in the user base was experienced in 2020. Customers on both platforms conducted approximately 256 million transactions worth N15.7 trillion in the same year. FirstOnline, as of June 2021, had an impressive 597,466 customers on the service, a 17 per cent growth on the previous year and 578,292 transactions per month, averaging a value of N388 billion per month.

For FirstMobile, besides the impressive gain in numbers, it gained recognition as “Best Mobile Banking App” at the Global Finance Best Digital Bank Awards, for providing excellent self-service through its user-friendly app. FirstMobile had, as of June 2021, 4,596,203 users on the platform, which is a nine per cent growth on the previous year and an average of 27,730,830 transactions every month. While these numbers point to the giant statue of the bank, none of it excites FirstBank as much as Firstmonie, because of its invaluable role in driving financial inclusion at the grassroots level, one of FirstBank’s overriding commitments.

Firstmonie, the agent banking network of FirstBank, currently has over 130,000 agents across the country, making it the largest bank-led agent network anywhere in Africa. As the foremost financial inclusion service in the country, it has achieved over 750 million transactions worth N15 trillion (about US$30 billion) processed from inception to date.

Over 295 million of those transactions with a total value of N6.65 trillion were processed in 2020 alone – the same year COVID-19 caused widespread disruptions across the globe. Firstmonie agency banking scheme has empowered agents across all Local Government Areas in the country, providing employment to thousands of people.

FirstBank through the Firstmonie platform further supports the fintech industry via partnership collaborations with local and international fintechs. All these are geared towards expanding financial inclusion and providing a variety of services to customers of the bank with giant shoulders that customers and fintechs can stand on to see further.

As for Sir Isaac Newton, the giant of a scientist whose famous quote began this piece, if he could read us from the grave, he would feel very proud today to see that celebrated line from his 1675 letter being aptly used to represent the relationship that exists between the broad, energetic and dynamic shoulders of Nigeria’s banking behemoth, FirstBank, and the rapidly emerging beautiful bride of Nigeria’s economic sectors, the fintech industry. This relationship climaxes every year in the annual Fintech Summit and the forthcoming Fintech Summit 5.0 promises to take the relationship to a whole new dimension.

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