Interviewed By Editorial
Abednego Ugwueke, head of financial inclusion services at First Bank of Nigeria was named Promising Young Banker in Nigeria at the Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony 2020 presented by The Asian Banker.
Abednego Ugwueke,head of financial inclusion services at First Bank of Nigeria was named Promising Young Banker in Nigeria at the Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony 2020 presented by The Asian Banker.
Ugwueke led the development of agent banking business that expanded access to financial services in Africa
Ugwueke manages First Bank of Nigeria’s Digital Financial Services offerings for the mass markets and expands financial access boundaries to unbanked and underbanked people. Under his leadership, the bank made significant progress in rolling out the agent banking business.
Launched in January 2018 with just 334 agents, the agent network has grown to about 75,000 in Nigeria, which is the largest financial services distribution network in Africa. This initiative achieved a breakeven period of less than six months against a target period of three years. The network has processed over 380 million transactions worth over $19.6 billion since its inception in January 2018. He and his team are also rolling out the agent banking business in other sub-Saharan African countries where the bank has operations.
He grew the USSD banking business to become the market leader
The unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) banking business of the bank became a market leader under his leadership and the bank has maintained the leading position to date. His team grew the USSD banking business from 100,000 users in 2016, when he was appointed to lead the business, to over eight million by January 2019. Meanwhile, this made significant revenue impacts into the bank’s bottom line, with the revenue from the business increasing from $0.59 million in 2015 to $26.08 million in 2018.
He led the implementation of the first bank and telco agnostic digital wallet payment scheme
In 2020, he and his team implemented the first bank and telco agnostic digital wallet payment scheme. With over 11.4 million wallets, it is the largest payment system of its kind in Africa.
This initiative helped the bank grow its digital banking revenues.
Ugwueke in his acceptance speech said, “The award is both exciting and heart-warming for me because it is a testament to the commitment, grit and resilience with which my team and I have approached our work in the bank over the past years. It is also an assurance that the impact we are making at the bank’s bottom line, under the lives of individuals in our communities has attained global recognition”.
For video of the Leadership Dialogue and Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony, please click here.
About Promising Young Banker Awards
The Asian Banker Promising Young Banker Award programme is held every three years. Its aim is to recognise the achievements of outstanding bankers under the age of 40 with bottom-line responsibilities. The programme tracks the career development of next-generation leaders in the increasingly complex financial services industry in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. We look for information on demonstrated tangible results, proven attributes of leadership and a clear career trajectory. Candidates for this award can only be recommended by senior management and boards of banks, regulatory or related agencies.