Nigeria’s banking industry newest entry, Signature Bank, has been described as a celebration of customer’s uniqueness and individual identity.
Founder and promoter of the financial retailer and lender, which prides itself as a different type of bank, Dr. Alex Otti, said just like the signature is unique to an individual and a symbol of one’s commitment, Signature Bank is out to address those issues that affect particular needs of the customer.
Speaking at the formal opening of the bank to business in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on Monday, Otti, a former Group Managing Director of the erstwhile Diamond Bank Plc, now merged with Access Bank, said Signature is the answer to poor customer service experience he had encountered in the course of doing business with banks.
“The journey began in 2017, driven by a yawning gap we identified, a vacuum created by repeated unresolved complaints, poor responsiveness, and unsavory customer experience encountered regularly from the banks we did business with.
“It came from a yearning for simplicity and ease of doing business and a less than adequate attention to the dynamic needs of the customer, not just within Nigeria, but across continents. For example, paying your child’s school fees, trading with partners overseas, settling bills without leaving the comfort of your home and making payments seamlessly.
“Interestingly, even as banks’ strategies, products and service offerings multiplied, the changing demographics and dynamics had customers increasingly yearning for more and demanding simpler and more flexible digital solutions.
“Welcome to the brand-new world of artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D Printing! In fact, welcome to the world of Innovation, Convergence and 4th Industrial Revolution!
“At Signature, we believe that the individuality and uniqueness of every customer should be celebrated, just like our signatures are unique to each one of us, a commitment, a symbol of who we are. And this is the essence and promise of Signature Bank,” said Otti, reputed to have taken Diamond Bank from a loss-making position to one of the eight systemic important banks in Nigeria, while he was the Chief Executive Officer between 2011 to 2014.
Drawing from his many years experience as a banker, which saw him traversing some of the foremost financial institutions in Nigeria, including City Bank, UBA and First Bank of Nigeria, where worked as Executive Director before joining Diamond Bank as GMD, Otti, a first-class economist, said customers want a bank that puts them first.
“So, we set out to build a bank to challenge the status quo, that is future-forward, embraces change and impacts the lives of the people we serve. Building on the learning points and successes of taking the erstwhile Diamond Bank from a loss position in 2011 to becoming one of the eight Systemically Important Banks (SIBs) in Nigeria, a retail trailblazer and pioneer in mobile/digital banking, we set about to envision a new way of banking.
“A bank that leaves no one behind. A bank that is borderless and caters to the unbanked and underbanked. A bank that will deliver solutions to everyone’s doorstep through digital channels and a focus on service excellence and customer centricity.
“According to the NIBSS, there were just about 55 million accounts in the country as at May 2022. Statistics has it that more than 42 million people in Nigeria have no access to financial services. We see a big opportunity here,” he said.
According to the Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Abia State, for the 2023 election, Signature Bank is already working to open branches across Nigeria. Prospective locations include Port Harcourt, Aba, Sokoto, Owerri, Onitsha, Kano and Enugu.
The Board of Signature Bank, Otti said, is being led by a former CEO of Shell in Nigeria and current Chairman of Julius Berger, Dr. Mutiu Sunmonu. Mrs. Nonye Aeni is the Managing Director/CEO.