BY EMEKA EJERE

Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) has invested significantly in cutting edge technology in a bid to boost its overall service offering to customers. The development is a further demonstration of the bank’s unalloyed commitment to ensuring premium services as well as reaffirming its dominance across Africa.

To reinforce its commitment to first-rate experience, the lender introduced numerous unique features on its mobile app and other digital platforms that set it apart, allowing customers carry out banking transactions seamlessly across all channels.

Disclosing the features in an online press conference, intended to  keep customers informed  about the bank’s efforts in enhancing their experience through its digital platforms, Samson Aneke, Group Head, Digital Banking at UBA noted that the bank has taken steps ahead of its peers to navigate alternate banking channels in a bid to serve its customers better amid the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and beyond, even as it braces for the challenges of the new normal as a result of the pandemic.

Aneka said,  “In recent times, we carefully observed what people encountered after the day the Federal Government eased the lockdown intended to flatten the Coronavirus curve (COVID 19).

“It was a terrible experience where customers crowded many banks to access their funds. So we on our own decided that  to use that experience to further improve on our alternative channels  in a bid to enhance customers experience.”

He continued, “What our customers will be getting now is an enhanced value that places us firmly ahead of our contemporaries in service delivery. Today, as we speak, they do not necessarily need a card to withdraw cash from any UBA ATM. “Simply dial *919*30*Amount# for a cash withdrawal code, you will be required to create a onetime pin (OTP), then enter the PIN to get a Paycode directly from your UBA Account to Withdraw the cash. At the ATM, enter your Paycode, OTP, Pin, Amount and Phone Number to get your Cash.”

Aneke also explained that henceforth, there  will be a new mobile app of the bank which will prompt users to use their device enabled biometrics, adding that the menu has been reduced and divided into sub-menus to enable users view Transaction History, Net worth, Trends amongst others at a glance.

“With the new interface, the user can now see all the transfer options, including the saved beneficiary option at a glance and can even order food for delivery via the app,” he said.

“Customers who subscribe to the lifestyle offering on the app will enjoy access to the free online medical doctor, a great response to the new norm created by Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, we introduced a refreshed version of the mobile app that allows for group transfer projected to empower micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) transfer to telephone numbers.

“This innovation was conceptualised to enhance financial inclusion across Africa against the background of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new feature also allows a customer transfer to telephone numbers”.

Other features of the app, as highlighted by Aneke, include the live chat option, where users can communicate on the go with dedicated staff trained to assist with any enquires and challenges; biller validation as well as group transfer – a new menu where users can create groups, save members and transfer funds to up to 100 members on the group.

This Group Beneficiary transfer feature which does a single lumpsum debit and multiple credits to beneficiaries irrespective of banks where their accounts are domiciled, Aneke said, makes the upgraded UBA app the first app in Africa to be able to pay salaries, thus addressing a major need in the MSME space.

“Another exciting feature that we have already started receiving rave feedback from our customers for, is the one that enables users make Loan Requests via Click Credit (For Salary Account Holders) or Quick loans which is available to both savings and current account holders. Our customers have already started to enjoy these services, and I can tell you that they are very pleased with these new offerings,” Aneke said.

Also speaking, Group Head, Consumer & Retail Banking, Jude Anele said in addition to the revamped offerings UBA has put in place to prioritise customers and give them increased value is that  the bank is now offering 1.58 percent monthly interest rate on its Quick Loan service to customers, known as Click Credit

“We are offering this to salaried employees and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are qualified to obtain the Quick Loan,” Anele said.

According to him, any salaried customer or SME is qualified to access the loan for a period of 12 months, six months and three months and the loan is renewable.

He affirmed that customers can get up to N5 million in 1 minute or less with super-fast loans like click credit, using the bank’s unrestricted and secured access to clients’ accounts anytime, anywhere, on their computer, tablet, smart phones, or any internet-enabled device.

This is coming on the heels of the banks response to help its customers survive and navigate the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic which has ravaged the entire world, leading to a new normal.

UBA in its audited results for the full-year ended December 2019, recording impressive growth across top and bottom lines.

According to the 2019 financials filed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday February 28, 2020, the Africa’s global bank’s gross earnings grew by 13.3 per cent to N559.8 billion, compared to N494.0 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2018.

The bank’s total assets also grew significantly by 15.1 per cent to an unprecedented N5.6 trillion for the year under review. This is the first time the bank’s gross earnings and assets will respectively cross the N500billion and N5trillion marks.

The ongoing digital transformation is expected to reposition the bank not only to maintain a growth trajectory in all its income figures in defiance of the challenges posed by the global epidemic, but also to offer greater value to the customers.

From unique offerings for businesses to unique Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) offerings and new features on internet banking, there is no doubt that UBA is on a mission of taking banking to an enviable height.

Among the unique offerings for businesses are: Large Sum withdrawal on ATM, a feature that enables cardholders (UBA customers) to withdraw large sums without inputting the PIN severally; POS Merchant Solution (Moneytor), an online platform to view point of sale transactions and settlement report real time as well as School Management Solution, a solution that enables schools manage student and staff database while providing a multi-channel collection platform for receipts and payments.

In the category of USSD, UBA is offering among others, Account opening on USSD to enable customers seamlessly open UBA accounts from the convenience of their mobile devices, some of which are the Nextgen & Bumper account products of the bank; Auto-switching for Airtime Purchase, an additional airtime vendors introduced by UBA in order to limit the downtimes when customers try to make purchases as well as Suggestive Beneficiary Bank for Other Bank Transfers, a service that has made it easier for customers to find the banks of their intended recipients faster through the use of an API.

Maker/ Checker Security Feature, which enables company authorized users validate transactions before transmission is among security features that handle Transaction Authorization Workflow for the bank’s corporate customers.

Others are: Global Account View Across Africa, a service that enables corporate customers view account balances, statement and transfer across African subsidiaries where UBA has presence and Bulk Upload Payment Service, which has to do with different payment platforms available on internet banking (such as NAPs, NEFT, MDMC, SDMC) to meet customer’s varying situation and circumstances that may be experienced in the course of business/transacting.

“We are currently testing MDMC and SDMC”, the bank said.