PGD must have been a spiritual person as he chose the name “Uzoma” for his first born, which means “a good road”. I often consider the motives behind his choice. Did he mean that he wanted his son to have a good path? Or perhaps to lay the path for those who were to come [so far, four more sons and plenty of grandchildren]?
What I can say on the subject is that I have certainly had an interesting journey on this road so far. I’ve had a great education, I’ve experienced many different cultures through travel and I’ve worked across a number of generations [including learning from and building alongside my own father]. In fact my exposure to so many different experiences has been an education in itself — far beyond traditional academia.
My own professional journey — the beginning of the road for me — was corporate banking. Learning the hard way. As I grew in experience and confidence, and saw how SMEs were being let down by Nigeria’s banking system, I was able to build new paths from the corporate banking road. I focused first on retail banking at Diamond Bank — taking banking to the people [virtually unheard of at that time] via Diamond Yello, which was groundbreaking at the time as it was the birth of the banking + telco partnership; harnessing the infrastructure a telco such as MTN for mobile banking services. Taking banking out of the banking halls into peoples’ actual hands was a game changer in 2012, but it was also quite hard to convince traditionalists that this was the future. Little did they know that this new partnership and collaboration was the start of our switch to a paperless and contactless approach to banking.
At Diamond Bank, we used the trust we had aggregated over many years of doing business to lead the way in new ways of doing business, taking our current customers along with us on the journey, whilst attracting and embracing hundreds of thousands of new customers as we rolled out digital products and services. Through digital, we were able to be more transparent with our customers, as well as more efficient, thanks to simpler means of doing business that weren’t burdened by endless paper processes. We also scaled fast; very fast.
Our initial foray into digital at Diamond Bank provided us with key learnings that went on to underpin our strategy over the coming years…