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Uzoka, Wizkid Give Back to Thousands at the UBA Foundation Food Bank.

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United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm, the UBA Foundation, has launched an initiative to feed the less privileged across Africa during the festive season.

The UBA Foundation Food Bank is an annual event that aims to give back to society during the yuletide season and this year, thousands of indigent were beneficiaries of the community service freely offered by the bank simultaneously across the African continent.

From Senegal to Ghana, Côte D’Ivoire, Cameroon and many of UBAs subsidiaries, the focus of the food bank is to feed the poor and homeless.  The UBA Foundation Garden at Marina, Lagos was the location of the food bank in Lagos.

 

UBA Brand Ambassador, Wizkid was delighted to contribute his time and effort to the UBA Foundation’s food bank as he fed the poor and destitute, many who were fans and felt really blessed to be receiving food and other gifts from the star boy.  Expressing his joy at being able to give back meaningfully, he said

“I am excited to be a part of this initiative  which is aimed at putting smiles on the faces of the needy. This is one of my passions and I am fully aligned with Africa’s global bank’ said Africa’s star boy.

UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka who also joined staff of the Foundation and volunteers to feed the needy, explained that the Food bank initiative is one of the ways that the bank, through its foundation appreciates and supports the communities in which it operates, adding that it will be a continuous event.

Uzoka who is also the chairman of UBA Foundation, said, “As you know, giving back is one of our key tenets and we have over the years, engaged in various activities aimed at appreciating our host communities all around Africa and especially in countries where we operate’.

“At UBA , we care for the people in our societies and will continue to do all we can to ensure that we touch lives meaningfully,” Uzoka stated.

The CEO, UBA Foundation, Mrs Bola Atta, said that empowerment is one of the key pillars of the Foundation, adding that the UBA foundation aims to impact positively the lives of those living around the host communities.

According to her, “Over the years, we have embarked on a number of activities that have positively impacted the people who  live in our communities. To be able to feed those who have little is a small gesture that goes a long way.  Those who all lined up to collect their food packs and toiletries seemed happy that someone remembered them. We wanted to let them know that all lives matter. I hope we made many smile and that we gave a glimmer of hope during a special season like this’ Atta said.

One of the beneficiaries who simply gave his name as Abdul said,  “I am very happy with what you people are doing. This morning I didnt even know what I was going to eat. I am really surprised. You people have done very well, we didnt expect this at all. In fact, when my people came to call me, I didnt believe it until I got here. I am here with my three children. This was very unexpected, and we are very happy,” he said excitedly.

UBA staff members were on ground to volunteer their time and services, while a few donated food items to give back to the society in the spirit of the yuletide season.

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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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