by Business News Report

By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
GTBank places a lot of premium on its customers. The customer is the heart of its business and it spares no opportunity to show it. From the moment one steps into any of its branches to the time he leaves, he is not left in doubt that the bank works for him. From the beginning, GTBank made transactions easy, allowing customers to effect transactions as quickly as possible. This was because they embraced Computerisation – a factor that many banks only began to wake up to in the last few years.
GTBank’s dedication to being customer friendly sometimes sounds like it belongs in a dream. The Managing Director of the bank is known to sometimes trade the comfort of his exquisite office for the banking hall to serve customers. Their interest is the customers’ satisfaction. This standard example of Customer Relations Management has gained attention at home and abroad. Professor Louis Nzegwu of the International Business Resource Centre, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, USA, who is a facilitator at the Lagos Business School, regularly cites GTBank as a Nigerian organisation where CRM has excellently been put into effect. GT Bank remains the first Nigerian bank to receive the highest rating from a global agency. Fitch, a top international rating agency, recently awarded the bank a ‘double A minus’ (AA-) while in Nigeria, it clinched a ‘triple A’ rating from (AAA) Agusto & Co.
GTBank friendliness takes root in its very character – from the ambience of the banking halls, ease of transactions, communication of charges to customers, and accessibility to its top officials. We present to you GTBank, award winner of 1st Vanguard Banking Awards as the MOST CUSTOMER FRIENDLY BANK.

GT Bank Plc
The orange campaign was a hit – A clear distinction between GTBank and its peers. It would be almost impossible not to notice the great architectural designs of their buildings that improve the scenery wherever the bank branches are located, while promoting the uniqueness of the brand without being too loud. This brand is heard when it has something to say, and when it speaks, its words are not forgotten until it selects another rare moment to speak. The logo and brand recognition is so strong today that without the name, GTBank still sticks to the mind.
“Orange is vibrant and demands attention,” Mr. Tayo Adenirokun, GTBank‚Äôs Managing Director once said. The two cubes in the bank‚Äôs former logo have become two squares to form a new brilliant logo. One square is large and proudly orange while the other is small and purely white; hanging at the top, as if it were a window – a pure window of opportunities, one may say.
GTBank ran a blazing campaign preaching change to announce the logo. The teasers had these inspiring messages “Change has the power to stimulate”, “Change has the power to uplift”, “Progress is impossible without Change”.
For stimulating, and initiating new directions , GTBank is the winner of the 1st Vanguard Banking Awards for BEST BANK IN BRAND DEVELOPMENT.
Skye Bank Plc
Few gave this group a chance to make a great leap in the consolidation exercise. They were mostly medium-scale banks without anyone seemingly strong enough to be the leader. However, leadership was available and in a matter of weeks, the banks had fused into a seamless system without rancor or the operational hitches that others attributed to changes in their systems.
Its customers from several banks including – Prudent, Bond, Reliance, EIB, Cooperative Bank, were hardly inconvenienced in any way over the changes and there was no discrimination against staff from any of the banks that should have been considered the weaker partners in the deal.
Though the records of one of the consolidating banks were kept manually, they were computerised quickly and never resulted in operations being disrupted.
For excelling in areas that were clearly set out as the criteria in this category, Skye Bank Plc is the winner in the BEST BANK FOR SEAMLESS CONSOLIDATION category of the 1st Vanguard Banking Awards.
First Bank Plc
All banks realise the importance of a solid manpower base, but only a few are doing anything exceptional about this. First Bank Nigeria Plc has outstanding training schools that can compare with similar faculties in the universities. Recruits into the bank still undergo extensive training, under the best hands available.
They are not just taught about how to work in First Bank Plc, but how to walk through life. The result is that there is low staff turn over at the bank and its staff is able to compete effectively with others.
In recognition of the extreme importance of trained manpower to the banking industry, First Bank Nigeria Plc is awarded BEST BANK FOR MANPOWER DEVELOPMENT of 1st Vanguard Banking Awards for its excellence in this area.
United Bank of Africa Plc
If it were only a game of numbers; the United Bank of Africa Plc, with over 500 branches would have won outright. But it was not – this award was about numbers and more.
UBA Plc through the good spread of its branches has brought banking closer to its customers, keeping with its message – the bank within reach. Its branches are comfortable and are able to support the banking needs of its customers on regular bases. They all linked to the network – online, real time.
For the number, spread, functionality of their branches, UBA Plc wins the 1st Vanguard Banking Awards for BANK WITH THE BEST BRANCH NETWORK
Fola Adeola
Mr. Fola Adeola is the pioneer Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. Before co-founding Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in 1990, Mr. Adeola was the Deputy General Manager & Divisional Head (Financial Services) of Continental Merchant Bank Limited (1986-1990). He also served as a manager of the NAL Merchant Bank Plc from 1982-1986. Prior to this experience, he served as a senior auditor at D.O. Dafinone & Co.
He attended Yaba College of Technology where he obtained his HND in Accountancy. He has also attended the London School of Accountancy, the International Institute for Management Development (IEP), the Lagos Business School (CEP) and the Harvard Business School (OPM). In 1999, Mr. Adeola became a member of the National Institute of Policy & Strategic Studies. He is the founder and chairman of Fate Foundation Nigeria. He is a member of a commission British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, set up to fight poverty in Africa. The much sought after Adeola has briefly been Chairman of the National Pension Commission, PENCOM, after the excellent job he did in fashioning out the latest pension policy and Managing Director of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, Transcorp.
Mr. Adeola, in his 13 years in the saddle, ran Guaranty Trust Bank from scratch as a first class bank that set standards that many thought were impossible in these parts. The succession problems that have bedeviled other banks are alien to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. It is also to his credit that some staff of GTBank, while he was in charge, have moved on to higher responsibilities in other banks. At least one is a CEO of a bank, and performing exceptionally.
Just six years into GTBank’s existence, Adeola had developed practices that exceeded expectations from respected quarters. The Harvard Business School in 1996 adopted the bank’s success story and management style as one of the case studies taught in its famous MBA class. Some GTBank officials on a management course at Harvard Business School, shocked one of their professors with the claim that their bank was already producing great results from the ‘‘new’’ theories he was teaching them. The professor visited to confirm the claims and studies began at Harvard. Adeola’s peers respect him for his innovativeness, eruditeness, deep knowledge of banking and the ethical business and management styles that have set GTBank on an irreversible path of success.
For outstanding achievements in the banking sector, and for great contributions to the development of the industry as a whole, Mr. Fola Adeola is the winner of the 1st Vanguard Awards for BANKER OF THE DECADE.
Intercontinental Bank Plc
Intercontinental Bank takes Corporate Social Responsibility seriously in two key areas Рeducation and health. Its Corporate Social Responsibility objectives are clear: to affect lives of citizens and spur sustainable economic development where it operates. The clarity of these objectives is reflected in its investment of millions of Naira in annual scholarship schemes. The bank’s annual scholarship scheme for its customers is in its 11th year.
It has committed N20 million to its State Scholarship Scheme, under much 300 students from Bayelsa, Edo, Kwara, Anambra, Ekiti and Kogi States are enjoying annual scholarships worth about N50,000 each.
Intercontinental Bank Plc has built and donated ultra modern, multi-floor complexes to several universities including –
A 60-room 240-bed space hostel valued at N30 million at the University of Benin and Two multi-million Naira hostels at the University of Lagos and Bayero University, Kano.
Bank chairman, Dr. Raymond Obieri built and equipped a computer complex worth over N30 million at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and donated a N30 million ultra modern storey building to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Bank Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Dr. Erastus Akingbola donated a N70 million postgraduate hostel to the University of Lagos,
A N40 million auditorium at Michael Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State
A hostel complex at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomosho
A lecture complex worth N30 million is under construction at the University of Calabar.
The bank built a N30 million casualty ward at the Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos and is committed to regular renovation of the ward.
It spent N50 million on the rehabilitation of Danmole Street and Ligali Ayorinde Street, both in Victoria Island and the busy Mazamaza-Ojo Road, also in Lagos.
For these reasons Intercontinental Bank Plc is being awarded the 1st Vanguard Banking Awards for MOST SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BANK
Union Bank
Real sector financing is another natural turf for Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. Its stature, its longevity in the industry, its national spread have aided its determination to support manufacturing. Loans of long, and short terms are extended to the bank’s customers in volumes and terms that are considered favourable. Its support for manufacturing has made tremendous contributions to the economy in terms of job generation.
Moreover, with the bank’s commitment to manufacturing projects it finances, the borrowers are assured of proper guidance through the hazards of entrepreneurship.
For its support for manufacturing and the impact this makes on the economy, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc is winner of the BEST BANK IN SUPPORT FOR THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR category of the 1st Vanguard Banking Awards.
First Bank Plc
A major focus of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. has been in the area of Export Banking & Finance. The Bank receives inward letters of credit for onward delivery to customers, processing and registration of NXP forms and handling of shipping documents for negotiation with overseas banks on behalf of customers. Other banks could lay the same claims, but First Bank’s forte is the availability of export desks that are manned by trained officers who help customers through the uncertain terrains of international trade.
It also sources for export opportunities through credit lines that other banks extend to it. First Bank’s provision of export information, repatriation of export proceeds and provision of professional officials to deal with customers in these areas are unparalleled. It has won several awards for its prowess in export promotions.
First Bank of Nigeria Plc is the winner of 1st Vanguard Banking Awards in the category of BEST BANK IN SUPPORT FOR EXPORT FINANCING.
Union Bank Plc
Union has consistently supported agricultural programmes by providing credit facilities and technical support to farmers and agro-allied industries. Its special product for agricultural development is called Global Limit for Micro Credit Farmers, which grants individual farmers and institutions loans for any farming projects of their choice.
For the 2006/2007 financial year, Union Bank has set aside N4.04billion for lending to farmers under the Global Limit scheme. Union Bank has actively participated in the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme (ACGF) since its inception 30 years ago.
Union Bank won the best Performing Bank Award under ACGF from 1993 – 2004. In 2004, the Central Bank of Nigeria adjudged it the Best Agriculture Support Bank under the ACGFS. Its farmers are also the best because of the unique support the bank gives them. In 2004, the State Farmer of the Year Award in 28 States went to farmers who benefited from Union Bank’s facilities. In the same year, a Union Bank customer was the National Farmer of the Year.
In addition to specific loans sets aside for agriculture, farmers also have access to the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme facilities. The bank provides technical and financial assistance to farmers related to various areas of agricultural production – crops, livestock production, fishery.
Lately, Union Bank jumped ahead of others by organising tours of outstanding agricultural projects for its shareholders, at locations where its annual general meetings are held. The aims are twofold – to motivate the farmers who are doing well, and to attract more business people to agriculture, which it is ready to finance.
In light of its innovativeness and tried and tested willingness to support the agricultural sector, Union Bank Plc is the winner of the 1st Vanguard Banking Awards for BEST BANK FOR AGRICULTURAL FINANCING.
’From the belly of the whale to tell a tale …’, would be a befitting way to begin to describe Bank PHB’s almost ‘Jonah-like’ experience. From the fusion of Platinum Bank and Habib Bank has emerged a distinct organisation that has benefited immensely from the culture of the two organisations, but has refused to be any of them.
The bank has improved and keeps improving. It is a new bank with the benefit of experience from two older banks. Its dynamism screams out from its name and unique logo.
The brightness of yellow in its logo would appeal to the younger generation, which it is drawing, just as the blue colour reflects the established mores of banking; an appeal to the older generation and anyone who has concerns for ethics and corporate governance.
Bank PHB has improved in its financial performance, as well as innovative products. Where most banks market one money transfer system, it sells two. It parades four electronic banking products, and three accounts products targeted at Nigerians resident abroad.
The bank has changed so rapidly that its improvement is not lost on the public. Its choice of niches in the market is properly reflected in its campaigns.
For its excellence in critical areas that touch the heart of the banking public, its adherence to corporate governance, its breath of freshness into the banking sector, and most importantly – its resolve to succeed, Bank PHB is the winner of the award for MOST IMPROVED BANK of the 1st Vanguard Banking Awards.
Union Bank
Union Bank Nigeria Plc leads a pack of banks that have invested in domestic production, especially where it affects smaller enterprises. In response to the country‚Äôs renewed emphasis on domestic production. Union Bank in line with the Bankers Committee’s initiative of having 10 per cent of bank‚Äôs Profit Before Tax to finance the real sector of the economy.
The bank is a leader in this area.. It is financing 11 companies under the scheme with many others at various stages of approval.
Union Bank is at the forefront of a consortium of five banks that established an affiliate company, Unique Venture Capital Management Limited, for the purpose of managing and investing the 10 per cent profit before tax of the five banks, a real for the small and medium scale enterprises.
With the bank’s investment in this sector, its commitment to financing it, its leadership and the technical support that it provides for the enterprises it finances, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc is winner of 1st Vanguard Banking Awards for the BEST BANK FOR SMALL & MEDIUM SCALE ENTERPRISE FINANCING.

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