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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

Court Jails Union Bank Head of Ops over N450m Fraud

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Mr Paul Onwughalu, former Head of Operations at the Head Office of Union Bank Plc

Mr Paul Onwughalu, former Head of Operations at the Head Office of Union Bank Plc in Marina, Lagos, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for his involvement in fraud to the tune of N450 million.

 

Mr Onwughalu was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in February 2014 before Justice S.S. Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja on a four-count charge bordering on failure to conduct due diligence in financial transactions.

 

Ruling on the matter in March 2018, Justice Ogunsanya found the accused guilty of the offence and sentenced him to three years imprisonment on each count.

One of the counts read, “That you, Paul Onwughalu, on or about the 9th of January, 2013, at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division, whilst being an employee of Union Bank Plc, failed to exercise due diligence in relation to the conduct of financial transactions with one DanKawu Bureau De Change by confirming and authorizing payment of the sum of N450 million fraudulently transferred by hacking into Union Bank database (flexcube) and transferring the said sum to Union Bank Plc account of one DanKawu Bureau De Change domiciled in Union Bank, Head Office Branch, Marina, Lagos and thereby facilitated the crediting and withdrawal of the said sum by one DanKawu Bureau De Change to various accounts in Ecobank, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa and Dankawu Bureau De Change.”

 

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him, thereby setting the stage for his full trial.

 

In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Fadeke Giwa, presented a number of witnesses and tendered various documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

 

However, counsel to the convict, O. Fagbemi, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.

 

 

 

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African Development Bank Delivers Strong Operational Results

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The African Development Bank is delivering on its goals and making good progress towards achieving its development and operational targets according to the 2018 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) (link is external), which was released at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Every year, ADER scrutinizes the Bank’s operational effectiveness and its organizational efficiency, using the Bank’s results measurement framework for 2016-2025. It brings together evidence of strengths and weaknesses to provide management with a clear understanding of what has worked well and what the Bank must do better to achieve its High 5 development goals.

“The report shows that the African Development Bank is delivering on its commitment to help Africa achieve the Bank’s High 5 priorities,” said Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President. “The Bank continues to strengthen its effectiveness as an organization, while scaling up its operations.”

This year’s ADER has a special focus on industrializing Africa. “There are good reasons to be optimistic that industrialization is achievable in the coming years. Africa is open for business, with stable economies and supportive business environments,” said Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina. “It has a young and growing workforce that is increasingly global in outlook. Urbanization and the rise of the African middle class are opening up new consumer markets, which act as a magnet for investors.”

In 2017, companies had improved access to transport, energy, and skills, which expanded their ability to do business across the continent. The Bank contributed to these improvement: it provided 14 million people with access to transport – well above its target – while building or rehabilitating 2,500 km of roads in 2017 and also helped 210,000 small and micro businesses access finance, which benefitted 2.6 million people.

“This level of performance is promising, but we must continue driving operational delivery and impact,” said Simon Mizrahi, Bank Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results.

The Bank is scaling up its efforts to accelerate the pace of industrialization, supported by its presence in 38 countries and by timely and quality operations. This backbone and experience position the Bank well to mobilize more resources from institutional investors around the world for industrial development.

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EMVCo Creates Royalty-free Mark to Promote Use of QR codes

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EMVCo, the global technical body that manages EMV specifications, has introduced a QR payment trademark designed to promote the global interoperability and use of EMV QR code payments.

EMVCo has released reproduction requirements for the mark and a licensing structure that allows any organization that uses an EMV QR code solution to also use the mark at no cost, a press release said.

According to EMVCo, QR codes are increasingly being used to facilitate mobile payments at the point of sale. Last year, the organization published specifications to address two QR code payment use-cases:

–  Consumer-presented — consumers display the QR code on their mobile device and the merchant uses an optical scanner to read the code.

–  Merchant-presented — the merchant displays the QR code and consumers use their mobile device to scan the code.

The QR payment mark can be used to inform consumers that a merchant accepts these types of payment solutions.

The QR payment mark can also be used as an application indicator on a consumer mobile device when initiating a consumer-presented transaction.

A royalty-free trademark license agreement and reproduction requirements are available in EMVCo’s Trademark Centre.

“The development of a uniform, recognizable QR payment mark that can be used on a royalty-free basis is an important step towards providing a universally consistent experience for both merchants and consumers,” EMVCo executive Committee Chair Jack Pan said in the release.

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