John C. Maxwell, an American author and speaker, is a widely acknowledged thought leader. Maxwell asserts in one of his most famous quotes, which encapsulates the true essence of leadership, “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails”.
Fidelity Bank CEO, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe is leading the financial institution through a significant evolution of business culture with the primary objective of improving operational efficiency and expanding market share. Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe is adjusting “the sails” to ensure that her colleagues at Fidelity Bank have the wind at their backs as they work toward common goals and individual successes.
Currently, Nneka has her sights fixed on positioning the bank as one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, which leverages automation and robotics to replace manual and repetitive processes. The global lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was a messenger unlike any other, signaling that Nigeria’s traditional and over-the-counter banking systems are no longer viable.
Since assuming office in January 1 2021, the bank’s first female CEO and MD, has outlined a seven-point agenda to move the bank further in its quest to become a tier-1 bank that is well-positioned to outlive the competition and serve well into the future.
Overview and timeline
Fidelity Bank’s seven-point agenda focuses on brand architecture, brand building and refresh, talent development and transformation, product and service delivery, agility and performance discipline, digital transformation, and regulatory compliance.
In accordance with this, here are the bank’s strategies for ensuring that it attains its objectives:
1. The bank intends to embark on an Innovation Drive through the implementation of new processes, techniques. The bank is also executingfresh ideas to ensure continuous process improvement, reduce cost to serve, increase competitiveness, improve brand recognition and value, build new partnerships and relationships, drive turnover, and increase profitability.
2. Brand refresh with the aim to increase top-of-mind awareness of the Fidelity brand by external and internal stakeholders.
3. Workforce Transformation to create a future readily supported by a high performing and empowered workforce. This will be achieved by deepening the skills and competencies of staff across the bank, entrenching a culture of high performance, and embedding new ways of working in the bank. So far, the commencement of capacity building training for staff and senior management training are some of the initiatives implemented.
4. Service Excellence which is intended to build brand loyalty through personalized and seamless customer experience delivery. This is already underway with the award-winning virtual assistant IVY. This revolutionary chatbot handles simple tasks like account opening to complex tasks such as complaint resolution, bill payment, transferring users to a live agent, loans, fixed deposit applications, and answering random questions.
5. Digital Transformation involves an end-to-end digitization across all facets of the business. In line with this, the bank has launched a novel digital service —Pay Yourself —which revolutionized payday for salary earners and SMEs.
6. Performance Discipline to ensure focus on strong fundamentals, asset quality, and strategic cost management. Initiatives already carried out in this regard include;
– The Policy Familiarization Program —a capacity-building project geared towards building a knowledgeable and versatile staff network/raising subject matter experts in all business areas that kicked off in March.
– The One Culture Project- which was initiated to reinforce enabling behaviours and value systems towards fulfilling the bank’s goals
– Project Alpha- aimed at helping the bank develop a robust and holistic learning and development framework for all staff.
7. Accelerated Growth which will drive aggressive market penetration and business diversification. This will be achieved through deeper penetration in key retail markets.
Other initiatives geared towards deepening growth include; accelerated play in the SME segment, renewal of institutional banking, and drive for transaction-based propositions in corporate banking.
With this seven pronged agenda, Fidelity Bank is well on its way to leading the sector while revolutionizing Nigeria’s financial landscape.