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UBA Makes History with Leo, Chat Banking Personality on Social Media

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l-r: CEO, UBA Francophone Africa, UBA Plc, Mr. Emeke Iweriebor; Group Head, Online Banking, UBA Plc, Mr. Austin Abolusoro; GMD/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka; and Executive Director and Group Chief Operations Officer, UBA Plc, Mr. Chukwuma Nweke, during the launch and introduction of Leo, a Chat Banking Personality on Social Media Platforms by UBA in Lagos

United Bank for Africa (UBA) is fundamentally changing the way people communicate with their banks with Leo, the UBA Chat Banker that enables customers make use of their social media accounts to carry out key banking transaction.

 

On Thursday, January 11, 2018, the bank brought together its customers and financial journalists at The Backyard Bar & Grill on Musa Yar’Adua Street, Victoria Island, Lagos for the launch of its latest app.

 

Everyone present at the event knew it had to be something revolutionary.

 

For a bank that has scored many firsts in the industry and is ranked among the top three banks in effective use of social media in Nigeria in a social media report by Alder Consulting; a bank that has invested heavily in building a robust and secure e-banking platform that supports its e-banking operations globally through strategic partnerships with various local and international organizations, you could only expect the bar to keep going higher.

 

Beyond being active on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Google Plus, and also running a corporate blog, Africa’s global bank is continuously innovating and developing strategies aimed at making banking seamless and effortless for millions of its existing and potential customers, while also ensuring utmost safety of their transactions.

 

It was, therefore, not surprising that UBA would score yet another first with the introduction of Leo, an innovation that is capable of revolutionizing the way banking is done in Africa.

 

Leo, a UBA Chat Banking personality that enables the bank’s customers to make use of their social media accounts to carry out key banking transactions, comes as a solution developed with people’s lifestyles in mind.

 

With Leo, customers are able to open new accounts, receive instant transaction notifications, check their balances on the go, carry out money transfers and airtime top-up, pay for Uber, as well as perform other transactions like payment of bills, data top-up, mini-statements, loan applications, cheque confirmation, account freezing, among others right on their mobile phones.

 

Designed to work within the platforms people are already familiar with, Leo has already taken off on Facebook Messenger. In the nearest future, the app is expected to show up on other social media platforms and all it takes to enjoy the services is simply to have a Facebook account.

 

At the official launch of Leo in Lagos, Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, explained that Leo, being an intelligent personality, will give customers instant feedback as they transact their business on the platform, describing it as “a solution that is from the customer’s standpoint which is easy to use by anyone regardless of your career”.

 

“The formulation of this product is consistent with the bank’s customer-first philosophy, where we are doing things not the way we like but exactly what the customers want, where they want it, and in the exact platform they want,” Uzoka said.

 

“And so, we have been working with technology giants from around the world because for UBA with so many customers, we have to deal with those who have the global capacity. Therefore, we at UBA have collaborated with Facebook to come up with this. In future, Leo will show up with other platforms. All you need to do is to have an account with Facebook,” he said.

 

Highlighting some of the advantages of using the app, Uzoka said the chat language is elementary, and Leo can even help one remember what he or she needs to do at every particular point in time. On security of the platform, he said that Chat Banking with Leo does not elevate the risk already available.

 

“You do not need to learn to use it because it has always been part of your life. It is solution from customers’ point of view. Its greatest asset is its simplicity. Leo is an artificial intelligence. He will address all banking concerns. He should help pay for everything but you need to have an account with UBA to transact with Leo,” Uzoka said.

 

“This is the first time that a 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,” he said.

 

He expressed belief that with the huge number of customers the bank has as well as its growing customer base in all the 19 countries of operation, customers would be served using modern and forward-looking technology.

 

Austine Abolusoro, group head, Online Banking, UBA Plc, who took UBA customers and journalists present through a step-by-step demonstration on how to make use of Facebook chat function to enjoy seamless banking services through chat sessions, explained that Leo is not just a chat machine but an artificial intelligence service as well a personality meant to address any type of banking concern.

 

“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,” Abolusoro said.

 

“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 the account,” he said.

 

He explained further that to open an account and enjoy the chat banking advantage, the prospective customer just needs to log on to the Facebook Messenger and open up chat with Leo, who then takes over the conversation by telling the customer what steps to take.

 

On security measures, he said the prospective customer needs to provide a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and phone number that is linked to the BVN.

 

But there is a ceiling on the volume of transaction that can be done by customers, the bank said. Customers with low-key Know Your Customer (KYC) will transact to a limit of N50,000 daily, already existing customers can do N200,000 and N100,000 in the first seven days even as the accounts can be upgraded to do higher transaction volumes.

 

“We are increasing customers’ happiness level with this product. We have brought banking to the chartroom,” Uzoka said.

 

No doubt, as e-banking continues to reshape the way bank customers carry out their financial transactions by providing 24-hour services and saving customers the stress of joining long queues in banking halls, UBA Plc is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to not just keep up with technology but to always stay ahead of the game.

 

With eyes on the future, and conversant with the new trend in customer behaviour, the bank is constantly innovating, taking strategic steps to integrate more people into the digital financial services net, drive down cost of service, and build consumer confidence in digital platforms.

 

 

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

Flutterwave Completes Series A Extension Financing Round

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Flutterwave Inc., financial technology firm, has announced the completion of its Series A Extension round of financing, saying the latest round includes investments from Mastercard, CRE Ventures, Fintech Collective, 4DX Ventures, and Raba Capital, among others.

 

It said it had now raised over $20 million to date and its largest investors include Green Visor Capital and Greycroft Partners.

 

According to a statement by the firm, as part of its financing, Joe Saunders, current Green Visor Capital Chairman & General Partner and former Chairman & CEO of Visa, has joined the Flutterwave Board of Directors.

 

Meanwhile, Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave Co-Founder, will replace Iyin Aboyeji, who has stepped down as CEO of the firm.

 

Aboyeji, in his farewell message, thanked the company’s board and team, saying: “It’s been amazing working with the Flutterwave team to build another great African company and I’m excited for the future under its new leadership.”

 

The new CEO, Agboola, is a Financial Technology Engineer, with core financial services technology experiences with Paypal, Google, GTBank, Access Bank, Standard /StanbicIBTC Bank

 

The statement quoted Agboola as saying: “On behalf of the entire Flutterwave team we wish Iyin luck in his future endeavours. Moving forward, the entire Flutterwave team and I are excited for Flutterwave’s future and look forward to growing the company.”

 

Headquartered in San Francisco, Flutterwave is building modern payments technology and infrastructure for Africa to enable people and businesses to connect with the global economy.

 

Much like in mobile communications, Africa is leapfrogging traditional payments technology and Flutterwave is building the Pan-African infrastructure to become the standard bearer for modern payments.

 

Flutterwave’s API makes it easier for the almost 24,000 businesses and individuals using its solution to process payments across Africa.

 

The African market, marked by increasing cross-border requirements, multi-instrument and channel payments, and a drive for financial inclusion is primed for Flutterwave’s unique vision and offering.

 

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BFL Microfinance Bank Sues CBN Over Licence

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Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

The management of BFL Microfinance Bank has sued the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for “illegally” revoking its operating licence.

 

The bank, in the originating summons filed at the Federal High Court by its counsel, Velma Solicitors, prayed the court to declare the purported revocation null and void as the bank was not solvent.

 

The Government, CBN and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) were joined in the suit as the defendants.

 

BFL, among other things, sought a declaration that the plaintiff was not in default of any of the provisions of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2004 to warrant a revocation of its licence.

 

The counsel to BFL also prayed that the court should determine whether by the cumulative reading of Sections 12, 35, 36, 39 and 62 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2004, the CBN had the right to revoke the licence.

 

BFL is also seeking general damages of N2m and punitive damages of N3m.

 

Mrs. Ajayi Olu, BFL’s managing director, in an affidavit, swore that the bank was not declared insolvent and neither had it been informed by the CBN or anybody whatsoever of any insolvency.

 

“The revocation was never communicated to us at any time, neither is it published in the official gazette,” she had sworn.

 

The NDIC, in a notice pasted on the bank’s door titled: Revocation of Banking Licence, dated September 30, said the bank was declared insolvent and closed by the CBN and the NDIC appointed as the liquidator.

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Customer Raises Alarm as N350m Disappears from his Access Bank Accounts

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Serious trouble may be brewing for Access Bank Plc as Mr Pascal Nwabueze Innocent has alleged that over N350 million been fraudulently withdrawn from the two accounts he operates with the bank without his authorization.

 

Mr Pascal Nwabueze Innocent raised the alarm when he discovered that over N116 million has been fraudulently withdrawn from both his personal and corporate accounts with the bank.

 

However, in the course of probing into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the N116 million, the customer further discovered that over N350 million was missing from the account.

 

The businessman said  that the two accounts from which the funds were withdrawn are from his personal account and De Chimex Aluminum & Steel Company Limited, a corporate account both operated by Pascal Nwabueze Innocent and domiciled at the Access Bank Plc, Wuse Market branch, Abuja.

 

According to him, the latest fraud is even separate from over N74 million which the bank was said to have appropriated in 2016 when he installed heavy duty machines which he imported from China.

 

It was gathered that when he approached the bank through a letter dated July 5, 2018, to ascertain who and how the transaction were carried out, Access  Bank, in their reply dated July 9, the bank assured him that it “has commenced investigation into the alleged unauthorized fraudulent withdrawals from your account”

 

Access Bank also requested him to provide “the details of the transactions in other to assist in their investigation, promising to furnish him with the outcome of their investigation.

 

It was further gathered that the request made by Nwabueze Innocent for Access Bank to furnish him with that instruments used in the withdrawals were rebuffed by the bank.

 

However, it was also learnt that rather than keep it promise of furnishing the customer the findings of their investigation, Access Bank reported the Nwabueze Innocent to the Department of State Services (DSS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), FCT Command.

 

It was further learnt that it was when the Police stepped into the matter that the bank reluctantly made available 43 Fund Transfer/Standing Order Forms, out of which only five were authorized by Nwabueze Innocent while the remaining 38 were “unauthorized and fraudulent”.

 

Top Police sources said preliminary report of the investigation has shown that it was a clear case of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and outright theft.

 

According to Police sources, Access Bank is “becoming hesitant in responding to several issues relating to the withdrawals from the two accounts maintained by Nwabueze Innocent.

 

For instance, it was learnt that the bank is being reluctant to produce the original mandate for the withdrawals and the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage between May 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018 when the fraudulent transactions were made.

 

According to sources familiar with the police investigations, central to the whole drama around the illegal withdrawals from the two accounts was one Ms Uche Gloria Michael Sado, a staff of Access Bank who is also the accounts officer for the two accounts.

 

Investigations by the Police was said to have revealed that funds were pulled from the two accounts maintained by Nwabueze Innocent and channeled to Mikuch Global Limited, from where the funds are withdrawn and disbursed among the “beneficiaries” of the fraudulent act.

 

It was further discovered during the police investigations that Mikuch Global Limited is owned by one Michael Sado, alleged husband to Ms Uche Gloria Michael, the Account Officer to the two banks from which the withdrawals were made.

 

According to Police sources, the fraud was perfected by forging the signature, telephone number and company name of the two accounts while at the same time diverting the Alert from the original telephone number of the account holder.

 

Police investigations also showed that Access Bank is being economical with the truth as the Uche Gloria Michael Sado, whom the bank is alleging to have “stolen” the funds and is alleged to be on the run is still on the payroll of the bank.

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