Union Bank Gets High Ratings in SME Banking, Digital Solutions, Others – Business Post Nigeria

By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The huge investments made by Union Bank of Nigeria Plc in technology, small and medium enterprises, and others are beginning to yield positive results.
In the Euromoney Market Leaders Rankings for World’s Best Banks in 2022, the financial institution received five high ratings, reaffirming its strong position in the Nigerian banking sector, characterised by improved business products and services.
According to the rankings, Union Bank was recognised as ‘Highly Regarded’ in Corporate Banking, Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance and classified as ‘Notable’ in SME Banking and Digital Solutions.
The CSR and ESG ‘Highly Regarded’ ranking demonstrate Union Bank’s proven track record and commitment to being a responsible organisation.
Initiatives like UnionCares and the Employee Volunteer programme are examples of the positive contributions made by the lender. Beyond giving back to the communities it serves, Union Bank is also a leading advocate for sustainability.
The bank embeds sustainable practises in all its operations and has over 400 solar-powered branches and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) to buttress its goal of embracing clean energy for the reduced carbon footprint.
Union Bank was also ranked as ‘Notable’ in recognition of its significant advancements in digital solutions. In addition to already-existing online channels/tools and a variety of advanced digital payment methods designed to provide a seamless and secure banking experience, Union Bank recently launched SpaceNXT – a fit-for-purpose co-creation technology hub for visionaries, techpreneurs and innovators. This hub reflects Union Bank’s focus on developing niche technological solutions.
Another area where Union Bank ranked ‘Notable’ was SME banking, in recognition of its continued support for small businesses in Nigeria. This is in addition to the company’s recent recognition by Global Finance as the Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria.
The Brand and Marketing Officer of Union Bank, Ms Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, while commenting on this year’s Euromoney Market Leaders ratings, said, “We are pleased to be recognised by Euromoney as ‘Highly Regarded’ and ‘Notable’ in these five categories.”
“This recognition validates the success of our business strategy as we are a digital-led bank with a culture that embeds sustainability across all our operations using a unique triple-pillar model of Citizenship, Sustainability, and Innovation.
“We remain committed to doing our part to contribute to the environmental, socioeconomic, and financial development of our nation and continent while providing our customers with simpler, smarter solutions,” she added.
Euromoney Market Leaders is an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers across key categories in each market. The ‘Market Leaders’ rankings take multiple sources of data, including qualitative and quantitative, to build a robust and objective picture of industry leaders.
Agency Banking Has Revolutionised Nigerian Economy—NIBSS
Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN’s Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.
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**Reiterates the Role of Technology in Financial, Payment Innovation
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Mr Premier Oiwoh, has reiterated the role of technology in the provision of financial and payment innovation.
“We are aware that digital financial inclusion enables access to financial services and advances the economic progress in underserved market segments.
“In ensuring that the financially excluded are efficiently and effectively catered for within the ecosystem, we have created a platform-based payment system to enable the players in the ecosystem to innovate and thrive,” Mr Oiwoh said ahead of the International Financial Inclusion Conference (IFIC2022) scheduled for November 24 and 25, 2022, in Abuja.
He said over the years, the industry has leveraged cutting-edge technology to design and deliver financial products and services to drive financial inclusion.
At the programme themed Financial Inclusion for all: Scaling Innovative Digital Models, participants will examine the opportunities and identify concrete solutions and interventions that would ensure the achievement of the nation’s financial inclusion objectives./
The conference is the first to be held since the country launched its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in 2012.
NIBSS, in collaboration with other financial services providers, has made huge investments to provide affordable Digital Financial Services (DFS) to the unbanked and financially excluded members of the Nigerian population.
In line with the National Financial Inclusion initiative, the timely delivery of financial services through agency banking has also revolutionised the economy, as this has boosted job creation through financial entrepreneurship, skills acquisition, digitalisation of the society and increased GDP, as each state’s economic activity is increased with a multiplier effect.
Among other innovative payment solutions created for financial inclusion, the introduction of the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) platform transformed the way Nigerians choose to pay for goods and services at all levels.
Leveraging on this, NIP has provided more opportunities for Financial Services Providers and other players within the ecosystem to innovate and provide more options to drive financial inclusion.
Also, through the initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Bank Verification Number (BVN) was developed to harmonise the financial services sector, improve banking operations and encourage financial inclusion.
With strong collaboration across the ecosystem, NIBSS has over the years facilitated the growth and proliferation of BVN with the commencement of remote offline BVN Enrolment by Agents for a wider reach. This is in addition to the recently launched ‘iGree’ BVN Consent Management Platform, for expanded financial inclusion and consumer protection.
In addition to the successful deployment of Biometric Scanners at no cost to financial services providers, inclusive of DMBs, super agents, MMOs for the purpose of remote BVN enrolment, NIBSS has implemented 100 per cent increase in monetary incentives paid to BVN enrolling agents to incentivise them for every new BVN successfully enrolled in a bid to drive sustainable financial inclusion.
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As part of its efforts to deepen financial literacy and inclusion, as well as give adequate information on the plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to introduce new Naira notes of N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations into the system, Ecobank Nigeria recently went to some markets in the country to sensitise traders on the new policy taking effect from December 15, 2022.
At the Agege market in Lagos, the Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Korede Ademola-Adeniyi, informed the traders of the importance of taking charge of their finances.
She also sensitised the traders, youths, and market women on important developments in the financial space, such as the redesign of some denominations of naira notes as well as recent policies of the CBN.
At the sensitisation, which was part of activities to market Ecobank Day 2022, the participants also received lessons on the benefits of agency banking and how to use Ecobank’s various digital platforms, with the bank receiving positive feedback on its products, services, and digital offerings.
In attendance at the training sessions was the Head of Human Resources, Adewuyi Kunle, the Head of Agency and Direct Banking, Nike Kolawole, and regional managers, including its partner, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF).
Other markets visited by the employees of the financial institution included the Gate/Agodi Market, Ibadan; the Cattle Market in Obinze, Owerri and the Fruit market, D-line Mile 3 market in Port Harcourt.
This year’s event was themed Financial Inclusion for All, Leave No One Behind and enabled the bank’s staff to simultaneously engage hundreds of traders and youths and provide them with access to financial knowledge and tools.
Ecobank Day is an annual event which was first held in 2013, focusing each year on a specific theme. These have been Education for young people in Africa (2013); Malaria prevention and control (2014); Every African child deserves a better future (2015); ICT education in schools and improving maternal health (2016); Safe water management (2017); and Orphanages (2018).
Ecobank Day then had a three-year campaign on Non-Communicable Diseases, with a focus on Cancer (2019), Diabetes (2020), and Mental health (2021).
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Christmas came early for residents of the Ajose Adeogun area of Lagos State, with the lightening of the streets by Zenith Bank Plc with decorations.
On Saturday, November 19, 2022, the financial institution held its 16th Light-up Ceremony at the Ajose Adeogun Roundabout, with several personalities in attendance, including the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, supported by executive management, members of staff, and customers.
At the event themed Let There Be Light, Mr Onyeagwu expressed his delight in heralding the yuletide season of 2022 through the iconic Ajose Adeogun Street lighting up.
“Today is a unique day. It is unique in the sense that we are going to turn on the Christmas light and activate the spirit of Christmas, which we usually have annually.
“It is also unique in the sense that we are honoured and delighted to have in our midst the wife of our founder and chairman, Mrs Kay Ovia,” he said.
The bank executive praised Quantum Markets, the company responsible for the annual decorations, for the outstanding, very creative and extremely beautiful work that they have done.
According to him, “when you look at the Christmas set-up we have every year, it looks completely different, and there is no repetition of themes. And when we think we have seen it all, by the time a new one comes, it is something completely different and massively so. The one for this year; as I entered here, I was wondering if this is a theme park.”
Whilst urging everyone to imbibe the message and spirit of Christmas, which is about peace, love, forgiveness and above all, respect for humanity, Mr Onyeagwu prayed for peace in every home, business and in country and that this year’s celebration would be like no other that we have seen.
The Light-Up event is an annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative by the lender to herald the yuletide season through the beautification of Ajose Adeogun Street, home to Zenith Bank’s corporate headquarters, which has come to be recognised as an iconic place, attracting people from all walks of life who visit with their families and friends to take pictures and make videos of the wonderful spectacle, especially at night and enjoy the ambience of the street and season.
Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry as an institution committed to building a more sustainable and inclusive economy and promoting responsible business practices in Nigeria through integrating sustainability principles in its business operations.
The bank’s sustainability and CSR initiatives are hinged on the belief that today’s business performance is not all about the financial numbers – the bank believes that an institution’s social investments, contributions to inclusive economic growth and development as well as improvements in the condition of the physical environment, all constitute a balanced scorecard.
Through its CSR initiatives, Zenith Bank has embodied the overarching objective of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a framework for addressing the major challenges confronting society.
Its social investments are targeted at health, education, women and youth empowerment, sports development and public infrastructure enhancement. Overall, Zenith Bank’s total CSR investment in 2021 was N4.37 billion, representing 1.79 per cent of its Profit After Tax (PAT) and a 33.1 per cent increase from 2020.
The lender said it remains committed to furthering the economic, cultural and social development of host communities, particularly through community-based initiatives and philanthropy.
As a good corporate citizen, it continues to deliver projects that have long-term social and economic benefits for the communities because it believes that its business is only as strong as the communities in which it operates.
To demonstrate its commitment to creating and expanding opportunities, the bank regularly makes donations towards setting up ultramodern ICT centres in several educational institutions and cities across the country.
It also supports various developmental projects and healthcare delivery causes in Nigeria and contributes to the development of sports in Nigeria through its sponsorship of the Zenith Women Basketball League and the Zenith Bank Delta State Principal’s and Headmaster’s Football Competitions, amongst others.
In recognition of its contributions and social investments to its host communities and the society at large, the bank was recognised at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021 as the Most Responsible Organisation in Africa.
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