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UBA Staff Across Africa Give Back at UBA Foundation’s Each One, Teach One Initiative

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UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, on Friday held the 2019 edition of its annual Each One, Teach One initiative, hosting a huge impact day in Nigeria and across all its subsidiaries in Africa.

 

The Each One, Teach One initiative is part of UBA Foundation’s activities where the bank’s staff members give their time and skills to the communities around them. All across the continent, staff of the pan- African bank were seen within their communities, teaching and assisting the less privileged, especially students and people living with disabilities.

 

The Executive Director, Lagos and West Bank, Marketing, Mr. Ayoku Liadi, who represented UBA’s Group Managing Director, and the Chairman of UBA Foundation, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, at the event in Lagos, expressed his excitement over the initiative, adding that as a corporate entity, UBA, through its Foundation has decided to give back as a family, starting by impacting knowledge and skills to students and participants.

 

Liadi said, “Our goal with this initiative which is in its second year, is to help the under privileged and young children learn vocational skills that will assist them along the path to financial freedom as they start businesses of their own. We have therefore, created a platform to encourage people who have various skills and talents to pass this on to the younger generation.

 

Liadi also seized the opportunity to give the participants a short lecture about financial literacy, noting that it is important for students to embrace the culture of being financially cautious from a tender age.

 

He said, “At UBA, we want students to inculcate the habit of savings, especially for the rainy day. It is important that you are cautious about the future, because nothing is guaranteed. Therefore ensure that you bear this in mind when you receive your pocket money and allowance no matter how little; because when you save today, it will go a long way to help you tomorrow, “Liadi told the students who filled the Onikan Youth Centre.

 

Students from Modupe Cole Memorial Childcare and Treatment Home; Standard Hallmark College, Mushin; Child Life-Line,Lagos and Moyin Rainbow Foundation, Lagos; were some of the students who participated at the event.

 

The Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta, who threw more light on the initiative stated that it is aimed at helping to impact lives positively and in a very meaningful way. She added that the initiative, which was going on simultaneously in 20 countries across Africa, was being driven by UBA staff members who were very happy to give back to the society.

 

“At UBA Foundation, we are constantly being asked by other staff members how they can help. A lot of people are genuinely interested in doing good. With the Each One Teach One initiative, you don’t need a huge sum of money, you just need to give of your time and talent to at least one other person. It is simple. It is effective and the impact is ginormous imagine how many people across 20 countries in Africa benefitted today from someone just taking a little time to help them acquire new skills or hone old ones. There is something really gratifying about giving back. It helps the communities and helps you grow as an individual.’ Said Atta

 

Thousands of UBA staff members across Africa voluntarily committed their time today to teaching youths various activities such as foreign languages, photography, tae kwon do, fashion design, martial arts, first aid, coking, hair dressing, mathematics, reading, music and much more.

UBA, Africa’s global bank, is committed to being a socially responsible company and role model for all businesses in Africa. UBA recognises the need for a social contract between the bank, the community and its people.

As the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the UBA Group, UBA Foundation is committed to the socio-economic improvement of the communities in which the bank operates, focusing on development in the areas of Environment, Education, Economic Empowerment and Special Projects.

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BUSINESS

FirstBank: Empowering Staff; Driving Productivity against the Odds

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By Segun Adams

 As the coronavirus pandemic forces firms to downsize and cut their wage cost to cope with the adverse economic realities, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is bucking the trend with a different approach that puts its staff first, writes Segun Adams. 

In a pandemic year where employees are agreeing to pay cuts to keep their jobs and businesses are either downsizing or simply liquidating, First Bank of Nigeria Limited is an outlier, taking an unusual approach to demonstrate how organisations can still ensure the best outcomes for both employer and employees.  

The first-tier lender last Friday promoted a crop of its staff across all levels in a rare show of corporate resilience in the banking industry and beyond, both locally and across the borders.

According to FirstBank, keeping staff motivated during these unprecedented times is not only crucial for the soul of businesses, but it also demonstrates corporate responsibility.

In the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic, there have been unprecedented layoffs across the world as companies went bust, unable to generate cash to sustain their operations.

The United States, the world’s biggest economy has recorded a historic rise in unemployment with over 45 million initial unemployment claims in the last three months.

In Britain, HSBC, a giant global bank, is reviving plans for a 35,000 job cut due to pre-existing problems thought to have been worsened by the pandemic. Big banks like Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Barclays, Société Générale among others have announced about layoffs exceeding 60,000 jobs.

In Nigeria, 38% of the workforce was jobless in April due to the virus and lockdowns, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) estimates. In the MSMEs sector, 50,000 jobs were lost and 10,000 businesses have shut down according to Auwal Bununu Ibrahim, the National Vice President, North Central of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, (NASME) and in the Aviation industry, some 24,000 jobs were lost as of April.

While banks in the country have been barred by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from laying off staff without regulatory approval, there is no obligation for banks to implement promotions or raise pay. In fact, most lenders have initiated pay cuts to cope with the excess capacity arising from skeletal operations and depressed levels of economic activities in the economy which is reeling from the coronavirus and lockdown shocks.

But against the odds, FirstBank promoted its staff and didn’t cut down salaries.

In a recent article, Forbes stated that the manner in which firms treat their employees during the ongoing health and economic crisis will not only be remembered for years to come but have a direct effect on their productivity going-forward.

“How businesses respond will have a lasting impact on employee behaviour including, engagement, productivity and loyalty,” the American business magazine noted.

Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory also known as dual-factor theory postulates that career progression is a motivating factor for employees to work harder.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the mental health and focus of employees in the country, and across the world, due to uncertainty of job status, lower income and a disruption to their career development, FirstBank stands out as a safe and rewarding place to work.

The stability and confidence enjoyed by the bank’s staff are the vital environment human resources experts say is necessary for firms that will successfully navigate the tides of current realities.

In a recent BusinessDay Webinar, Nkemdilim Begho, CEO, Future Software Resources Limited advised that businesses can engage their team and see how they can help in creating new ideas and products that the company can deliver. The resultant effect will be greater efficiency of staff and innovation whereas, elsewhere organizations are bound to struggle with a demotivated workforce which could lead to inefficiencies and higher costs for the businesses with adverse implications for bottom-line.

To realise optimal human resources contributions, Begho acknowledged the need for firms to sustain team bond and ensure that morale of their staff is high.

Even before current events, FirstBank has always proven to be conscious of the impact a stimulating and rewarding environment can have on the overall employee performance and thus, provided value accretion to shareholders, customers and other stakeholders.

From its competitive remuneration across cadres including mid-level and senior-level employees to benefits that cover medical insurance and disability insurance, sick leave and vacation, and retirement options, FirstBank puts its workforce first ensuring that they are well motivated and equipped to deliver higher productivity.

FirstBank has featured on some of the best workplace rankings including A Great place to Work and Jobberman. Last year, the big bank ranked among the Jobberman 2019 best 100 companies to work for in Nigeria, a list that scrutinizes over 60,000 companies to pick the best 100 based on strict metrics. The bank has enjoyed positive reviews from credible job/career sites like Indeed where it banks a 4.1/5 positive rating.

A former employee of the bank Aderemi Adebiyi commended the institution for its keen interest in the welfare and career progression of its employees. “I worked in the Bank for 15 years and do not regret it. It’s fast-paced, performance-driven with varied streams of career development,” Aderemi said. “The company also offers paid trainings.”

FirstBank’s talent management strategy is aimed at supporting employee engagement, employee motivation and increased productivity, and leadership development across all levels of employees within the organization, according to its website. As a tenet of career development, FirstBank has devoted itself to creating a culture of continuous learning tailored to the needs and aspirations of the employees and the business itself.  

The bank’s FirstAcademy and learning centres strategically located around the country allows for e-learning, mobile learning, physical classrooms and virtual libraries to allow all employees the opportunity to equip themselves for future roles that benefit both them and the organization. This means pandemic or not, learning is continuous and uninterrupted.

FirstBank also prides itself as an equal opportunity employer so that qualified persons irrespective of gender, culture, age, nationality, sexual orientation, disability or social background can participate in its business.

At the same time, FirstBank remains a performance-driven organization and merit-based, allowing individual talents to be rewarded for their hard work and contribution to overall organisational goals.

With people as one of the bank’s greatest assets, it strives to maintain a pool of multi-skilled and well-rounded employees relying on initiatives like Job Shadowing, Coaching, Counselling, Mentoring, Succession Planning and Career Maps to develop and retain talents at all levels of the organisation’s operations.

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BUSINESS

Union Bank Distribute N15m To Innovative Customers

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According to its Head, Corporate Communication and Marketing, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, who represented the CEO, Emeka Emuwa, at an online press briefing at the weekend, for four weeks, the bank selected 10 of the most inspiring stories to share and reward of the selected stories with N250,000 to support the work which the promoters are doing to RISE above the pandemic.

On its customer experience initiative she explained that the objective is “to shine the spotlight on you, our customers, who are doing all you can to rise above this pandemic. You are being innovative, charitable, creative and resourceful and we want to hear your story.”

She also disclosed that the remote working arrangement instituted in the wake of the pandemic has been a success as the lender continues to deliver value to stakeholders.

Ekezie-Ekaidem said that since March 2020, over 70 per cent of the bank’s workforce have been working from home, stressing that Union Bank’s branches have remained open and fully operational to serve customers during these Covid-19 crises.

Ekezie-Ekaidem added that the bank has essentially activated its flexi-workpolicy for those employees who could still perform their duties remotely.

She gave the assurance that the bank would continue to assess the situation and make necessary adjustments as events unfold.

Besides, she said that the bank branches were now operating under a heightened hygiene protocol, all in a bid to ensure safe banking halls for all.

According her, when the world started to recognise that the COVID-19 is a big issue, Union Bank set up a taskforce headed by the managing director and this helped Union Bank to stay ahead of the curve.

Recently, the bank donated N300million as part of its multi-pronged approach to tackle the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria.

The bank also contributed N250 million into the fund set up by the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19,

In addition, the bank also made a further donation of N50million to the Lagos State Covid-19 Emergency Food Response programme which was set up to support low income families who will be directly impacted by the state-wide restrictions in place to limit the spread of the disease. Lagos State currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.

Emuwa had earlier said: “The fight against Covid-19 requires all hands-on deck with close collaboration between the public and private sector. Union Bank is committed to supporting Nigeria’s response to ensure the country avoids a pandemic”.
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Ecobank Group appoints Alain Nkontchou as Chairman

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The leading pan-African banking group, Ecobank  is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Alain Nkontchou, a Cameroonian and Independent Non-Executive Director since 2015, as Board Chairman of its holding company, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), with effect from 30 June 2020.

In accordance with ETI’s Articles of Association, Mr Emmanuel Ikazoboh, a Nigerian, ended his six-year tenure as Chairman on 30 June 2020 having reached the retirement age of 70.

Alain Nkontchou said: “I am honoured to be appointed as Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated. Having served on its Board since 2015, I have seen Ecobank’s resilience and its proud history, built on strong foundation to secure the Bank’s future success.  I look forward to working with the Board and Executive team as we continue our journey ahead and I know that we are well-placed to navigate through the current environment and set the standards in financial services for our customers across Africa. I would also like to express my thanks to my predecessor, Mr Emmanuel Ikazoboh, for his leadership of the Board and to wish him all the best for the future.”

Ade Ayeyemi, Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Group, said: “The entire Management of the Group and I warmly welcome Mr. Nkontchou as Group Chairman. We will give him and the Board our continued full support in ensuring the realisation of the strategic imperatives of the Ecobank group. Mr. Nkontchou has always utilised his wealth of experience on the Board and we look forward to his successful and strong leadership”.

Alain Nkontchou is the Managing Partner and co-founder of Enko Capital Management LLP, an asset management company based in London and Johannesburg, which focuses on African investment opportunities.

Mr Nkontchou was an advisor at Laurent Perrier champagne, having been a Non-Executive Director from 1999 to 2009. He was Managing Director of Credit Suisse’s Global Macro Trading Group in London between 1995 and 2008 and also at JP Morgan Chase & Co. in the same capacity. Between 1989 and 1994, he was with Chemical Bank in Paris and New York, where he became Vice- President, Head of Trading and Sales. Mr Nkontchou has a track record of business success, having generated significant dollar revenues for each of these top tier institutions. He has an MSc in Electrical Engineering from Supélec and P.M. Curie University, Paris, and an MSc in Finance and Accounting from ESCP (Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris).

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