Fidelity Bank boosts economic growth by empowering SMEs
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc, not only transforms the fortunes of the bank, but also contributes to the country’s economic progress through financial inclusion. According to the World Bank Group, financial inclusion is a key factor in reducing extreme poverty and shared prosperity. A 2017 Global Findex report, however, estimates that 57.8 million Nigerians are still unbanked and financially excluded nationwide. This figure is particularly alarming because it represents 3.4% of the unbanked world population in a country whose population represents only 2.6% of the world population.
In response to the CBN’s goal of 95% financial inclusion by 2024, Fidelity Bank Plc, under the leadership of Onyeali-Ikpe, is tackling the challenge of financial inclusion head-on through several initiatives. One of them is Fidelity Bank’s Get Alert in Millions (GAIM) campaign. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe draws on innovation, creativity and exemplary leadership to promote the program, which has produced more than 20 millionaires among a multitude of winners in four consecutive seasons. GAIM rewards new and existing customers for opening a bank account, saving and maintaining a specific balance over a specific period.
Recognizing that children are the most vulnerable to economic shocks and may use potentially abusive or exploitative methods to overcome any financial crisis, Fidelity established the Sweet Account (SWEETA). In commemoration of this year’s Children’s Day, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe spearheaded the granting of a cash reward of N 150,000 to 62 lucky SWEETA holders. According to the Bank, the SWEETA is for anyone who wants to shape a future for their children while enjoying a stream of benefits and rewards in their accounts.
In addition to boosting financial inclusion, Fidelity Bank, under the leadership of Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, also contributes to the development of the economy by enabling SMEs to grow and succeed in the long term. In January 2021, for example, the Bank organized a national webinar on SME capacity building on the theme “Financing and financial management for SMEs”. With over 600 attendees, the event turned out to be a huge success, receiving positive reviews from attendees.
As part of Onyeali-Ikpe’s seven-pronged program, including accelerated growth, the Bank, in March 2021, hosted its first diaspora webinar, on the theme “The New Exchange Rate Policy, Implications and ‘positive impact on diaspora investments’. The Diaspora webinar was graced by the presence of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Godwin Emefiele and was broadcast live to a global audience. There was praise from various quarters as the diaspora webinar highlighted many initiatives.
With over 30 years of banking experience, Onyeali-Ikpe has placed Fidelity Bank on a path of continuous growth and improvement in just under a year as CEO, succinctly exemplifying its brand promise: “We are Fidelity, we keep our word”.