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Four Years On UBA’s Leo Continues To Lead In Nigeria, Africa

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Four Years On UBA’s Leo Continues To Lead In Nigeria, Africa

All over the world, the buzz around artificial intelligence keeps accelerating as the end goal is to simplify conversations and processes. Having pioneered the technology in Nigeria and Africa four years ago, pan-African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has steadily won the hearts of its customers with its artificial intelligence chat bot, LEO.

The bank’s AI has proven to be the most formidable artificial intelligence chat bot till date; serving an ever-increasing clientele who now have less transaction hassles to worry about.

For the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, one factor has always been key- customer satisfaction. It was on its continuous quest not to drop the ball that the dream of tapping into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was born.

With the tagline “I am LEO an artificial intelligence personality bringing banking through a simple conversation”, the pan-African bank’s virtual banker has proven to be a chat buddy who is always available 24/7 and is a repository of knowledge, especially when it comes to helping with banking services.

The bot can amongst other things open an account, make transfers, buy airtime for yourself and others, check your account balance, send bank statements to embassies, freeze accounts, help with travel notifications, stop cheques, get your mini statement and make inquiries.h
The AI Chat Bot’s goal is to make banking services less boring by making transactions simple, easy and fast just by having a conversation

UBA has said that it has concluded plans to commemorate the fourth year anniversary of its flagship artificial intelligence Chabot, with new offerings set to further change the face of digital banking in Nigeria.

“Birthed January 11, 2018, with a firm resolve to prioritise its customers as well as put the bank at the heart of disruptive technologies that will transform the experience of esteemed customers, UBA did the unthinkable by getting 3 million users hooked in less than three years of its inception”, the bank said.

READ ALSO: UBA Publishes Names Of PTA Defaulters With Fake Tickets, Visas

Leo, which the bank stressed, has proven to be the most formidable artificial intelligence chat bot till date; serving an ever-increasing customer base who now have less transaction hassles to worry about, is currently available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat.

To further extend its reach, UBA has concluded plans to commence Leo services on Instagram and Google Business, terrains none of its peers can lay claim to.

The 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.

“Three years later, and with over almost 4 million customers and counting, UBA’s Leo, has without a 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 find their feet as regards Artificial Intelligence, we can proudly say that our Leo has become a massive success as it continues to consolidate on its successes and accolades winning several awards in a short while of its existence, “he added.

Uzoka continued: “In just four years, Leo’s landmark achievements have been indeed overwhelming, covering 20 African countries as well as garnering over 10 prestigious awards globally, a feat that is exceptional by every standard. I must say we are proud of Leo’s intimidating achievements which is largely unbeatable.

“With this in mind, we have ensured that, Leo continues to enjoy periodic and systematic upgrade with special emphasis on enhanced advancements and specialised unique features where necessary.

READ ALSO: UBA Group Dominates 2021 Banker Awards, Wins ‘African Bank of the Year’

“UBA’s vision has always been and will remain to be 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, did well to replicate 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.

Uzoka further explained that Leo is already present in 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 allow 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,” he explained.

The GMD also 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”.

 

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CBN Gives Fresh Detail About Opay, Palmpay, Moniepoint, Others

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Cardoso through the CNB in April placed an embargo on Opay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, Moniepoint and other fintech companies from onboarding new customers,

By John Michael Ojo

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso, during the MPC meeting on Tuesday revealed that mobile money operators who are currently being restricted from enrolling new customers would soon be allowed to carry our their operations without any form of restrictions in the next few months.

Cardoso who stated this in Abuja, denied revolking the licences of these fintech companies.

The CBN Governor, claimed that the Central Bank was working round the clock by engaging with stakeholders in order to strengthen the activities of Fintech companies in the country.

He added that the CBN is also working to mitigate against every loophole used by criminal elements to facilitate money laundering within the financial system while maintaining the integrity of the industry.

“I am confident that as time goes on, and hopefully in another couple of months, all these will be something of the past and then you will see that sector going back into what they’ve been known to do before, but certainly with a very stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

Cardoso through the CNB in April placed an embargo on Opay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, Moniepoint and other fintech companies from onboarding new customers, a move which was heavily criticized and seen as a gag on the financial sub-sector.

However, the CBN Governor who has now provided the public with more details about the action of the apex bank on the fintech companies said: “The fintechs have not been singled out for any exceptional kind of treatment. The CBN remains proud of the exploits of fintech firms in the last number of years and the apex bank will continue to support and strengthen them.

“However, regulation is very critical in a sector that seems to have grown so incredibly rapidly.

“More recently, we had the cause to take a deep dive look at the whole issue of illicit flows and money laundering particularly within the non-heavily regulated banking system and we all know some of the issues that came out with cryptos and some of the messages we put out after that, which of course gave us some cause to know that there is the need for heightened surveillance,” Cardoso stated.

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Access Holdings Gets New CEO To Replace Wigwe 

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Bolaji Agbede

By John Michael OJo

Following the death of its Co-founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe in a helicopter crash on Friday night in the United States, Access Holdings Plc on Monday appointed Ms. Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings.

This was made known in a statement by the company’s Board of Directors dated February 12, 2024.

The statement which added that the appointment was subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, reads: “Further to its announcement dated February 11, 2024, the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) has today announced the appointment of Ms Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company following the unfortunate demise of its former Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe, on February 9, 2024.

“The appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the statement read in part.

Agbede  who joined Access Bank in 2003 as an Assistant General has nearly three decades of professional experience cutting across banking and business consultancy services.

She has also served in different roles at the bank including, Head, Group Human Resources between 2010 and 2022 before she was appointed the company’s founding Executive Director, Business Support in 2022, a role she held until her new appointment

Agbede who commenced her professional career in Guaranty Trust Bank, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University UK in 2002.

She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

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Ogun Constitutes Ambassadors To Intensify Efforts On Investment Drive

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L-R: Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (Ogun State), Mr. George Onafowokan; Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo; Special Adviser, OgunInvest, Ms. Sola Arobieke; Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela; Zonal Director, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Mr. Hassan Lawal, at the OgunInvest Ambassadors Network Inauguration and Orientation Course held at OgunInvest Office, Isheri, Ogun State.

Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun has inaugurated a 12-man committee of Ogun Invest Ambassador Network to create a robust and seamless working relationship between government and investors, for businesses to thrive.

Governor Abiodun, during the inauguration and orientation course for the ambassadors, at Ogun Invest Office, Isheri, in Ifo Local Government Area of the state, said the initiative was a landmark in the history of the state, as it would make a huge difference to the growth of current and potential investors willing to do business in the state.

He explained that the ambassadors would be responsible for enlightening investors on how to harness the opportunities that abound and what they stand to gain by doing business with the state, adding that their role is pivotal in building bridges, fostering collaboration and attracting investors that would propel the state to new heights.

Governor Abiodun, represented by the Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo tasked the ambassadors to sharpen their communication skills, charging them to make accountability and transparency their watchword.

The state’s helmsman disclosed that the government would, on a regular basis, carry out an evaluation performance on them through private organisations transacting business with the state, promising that those who performed well would be compensated accordingly.

Speaking, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela, who admonished them to be diligent, in making Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency a success, described them as a link between government and investors, saying a proper regulatory framework would be established to earn investors trust and respect.

Identifying the calibre of people in the network chain, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, noted that a new lease of life would soon commence in the state investment journey, expressing the hope that their selection would ensure a critical turning point in the investment atmosphere of the state and charged them to bring to bear their professionalism in the course of enhancing the industrial sector

Earlier, the Special Adviser on Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency (Ogun Invest), Ms. Sola Arobieke, said the initiative was part of the drive to attract investments, enhance ease of doing business and carry out the service of a one-stop shop, to ensure access to relevant information and streamline processes for investors in the state, pointing out that the Ambassadors Network is a team of dedicated individuals from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), saddled with investment-related functions, to ease the settling of investors and investments into the state.

On his part, the Managing Director, Coleman Technical Industries Ltd., Mr. George Onafowokan, who spoke on, “Promoting Investment Through Service Excellence”, said the selected ambassadors should see their nomination as an opportunity to serve and see themselves as representatives of the state front liners at giving investors excellent service and be ready to drive both existing and potential investors through excellent service delivery

The 12 ambassadors inaugurated include Consultant, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Fatai Adeboyejo; Deputy Surveyor-General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mrs. Halimat Yusuf; Director, Physical Planning, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Felicia Aleburu; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Physical Planning and Urban Development Mr. Jolaoluwa Olugbemisola; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Suraj Fashola; Director, Land Acquisition, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Anifowose Olatunji and Director of Commercial Services, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Olumuyiwa Ogunsanwo.

Others are Director of Environmental Quality Control, Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Mary Adeosun; Director of Geological Services, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Lekan Eniolawun; Director, Estate and Facility Management, Ogun State Property Investment Corporation, Mr. Olusola Abijo; Director, Estate, Housing Corporation, Mr. Nafiu Olaleye and Deputy Director, Local Government Affairs, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs. Olapemiju Quadri.

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