Saturday, 6 March 2010

Saving and smiling

Esene, Adimorah, Isichei and Obijiaku at the presentation of cheque ceremony

“WHEN I was called on phone that I’ve won a million, I was so shocked that I had to lie to the guy on phone, thinking it was one of the fraudsters,” said Osaze Nwayo Kiyem, a 28 year-old mechanic, who was one of the winners at the recent promo of Fidelity Bank in Lagos.
The native of Orhionmwon, Edo State, said, “ it was my branch manager at 4 Burma Road, Apapa, who called to convince me that what I heard was true.”
And when he came down, he, like two others, Adimorah Patrick Chikwado and Chimebere Okafor discovered that they had become millionaires.
In the words of Abdul-Rahman Esene, executive director, Investment Banking and Public Sector, the event marks another day in the bank’s efforts to recognise its customers. “That’s why we embarked on this Save and Smile, where we give the prize of N1 million each to about four of them every month and our programme is to create about 100 millionaires by the time we finish the programme.”
He added, “ it is an effort, apart from trying to encourage the culture of saving among our customers. We found in the system that the level of saving is very low, so, the promo is meant to encourage saving habit among the Nigerian populace, apart from improving the saving portfolio of the bank. That is why we are assuring the customers that this is a real promo and that genuine people have won the prizes.”
They have account in the bank; what we have done is to select customers, who have about N10,000 with the bank are selected every month and from among them, a draw is made to determine the winners of the prizes.
The accounts that qualify are basically within the savings product. They are Sweeta; FPSS; FSA; Easi-save; PGA and PSA.
The Executive director said, “ideally, we would have said N500,000 that would mean more people winning, but we want to create a situation where it is very competitive. That is how we arrived at N1 million.”
Why the General Manager, Consumer Banking, Mrs Yvonne Isichei answered: “It is to give Nigerians incentive to building a saving’s culture.” She described this as one sustainable way to create wealth for people.
Why Save and Smile? Isichei said: “When you save, you are smiling for your tomorrow. When you know that something good is coming out of this promo, people winning prizes ranging from N1 million, to prizes running into hundreds like generators, television sets, motorcycles, to five or six cars that will be given out, you know that there is something to smile about, especially these hard times.”
She added, “If you have been following developments from the bank, you will see that we received award and recognition internationally as the most socially responsible bank in Africa. Every product and service that we have, we look at the people, as customers, how they can benefit from them. We receive benefits if customers have stayed with us for a long time. For now, it is about let’s give back to them like we did last year when we had our 20th anniversary. But now it is about fidelity to customers at the long run we will have a relationship with the customers that we have built.
She said more than 70 percent of Nigerians don’t know the value of savings. However, “this promo will create awareness.”
Isichei said her bank is already getting the impact, definitely. “That is why every time you come, it is a different set of people you see. If you go to the North, it is a different set of people that you will see. We are definitely getting the impact.”
She said at the end of the promo in the first quarter of 2010, 100 customers from all around the country would have won N1 million each.
In addition to the 100 millionaires, she said that the bank’s customers all over Nigeria also stand a chance of winning one or more of the 500,000 instant gifts and 180 big ticket prizes including TV sets, motorcycles, refrigerators and generating sets.
To qualify for the draw, new customers have to open an account with N20,000 while existing customers only need to top up with N10,000. “Every top-up or new account activation attracts an instant gift on the spot,” she said.
To qualify for the N100 million jackpots, she said a customer ought to have left his deposit with the bank for 30 days as draws are held every month.
The Head of Operations and Deputy General Manager, Consumer Banking, Samuel Obijiaku said, “the promo aims primarily to energise Nigerians to imbibe savings culture. When people save, they are going to make investment and improve their lives. It is not necessarily to make people come and keep money in the bank. We want to improve on the qualities of their lives. This has come on successfully.”
According to him, “it is a win-win situation for the customers and the bank. The overriding objective, however, is to make our customers improve on the quality of their lives.”
But what will he be doing with the million?
Osaze answered: “Education is the first priority. I am a roadside mechanic, but with this money, I will be acquiring formal university education on mechanical engineering.”
For Adimorah, from Nkume, Njaba Local Council of Imo State, he would ask God what to do with the money, “because there are a lot of things on my mind now.”
After graduation, Patrick, who read accounting in school and did a master’s degree programme at the University of Jos, ““I will be an investor. “
The 38 years old Patrick had taught for some time in Jos, but as a result of the environment and circumstance, he had to come down to Lagos. “The desire to improve on the quality of life and the incessant crises in the city, moved to me Lagos,”
He worked for some time in a private firm as a storekeeper, and went to Jos where he was teaching at the same time doing his programme. But when the environment was no longer conducive, he came to Lagos.

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