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Phillips Oduoza: Inspirational Giant of Banking Industry



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Phillips Oduoza, founder and chairman, NOVA Merchant Bank Limited is inspired by Nigeria’s future, which he believes holds potential waiting to be harnessed.

Phillips Oduoza: Inspirational Giant of Banking Industry

Phillips Oduoza

NOVA Merchant Bank offers an integrated suite of financial solutions covering Wholesale Banking, Investment Banking, Asset Management, Wealth Management, Trade Services, Transaction Banking, Cash Management and Digital Banking.

Phillips, also former group managing director (GMD), United Bank for Africa (UBA), is gifted, a deep thinker, selfless with a knack for seeing what others couldn’t see and making the seemingly impossible possible in addition to great leadership skills.

In this article, we will look at his new bank, banking career, his leadership skills and background.

NOVA Merchant Bank

NOVA Merchant Bank founded by Phillips is a licensed merchant bank with a focus on wholesale and investment banking.

Phillips Oduoza: Inspirational Giant of Banking Industry

The bank which began operation in 2018- became an instant success and broke-even in the first year of operations.

Recall at the time of commencement of operations by NOVA Merchant Bank, the economic environment was quite challenging, because the country just exited from recession.

Secondly, there was still turbulence in the industry resulting from interventions in some banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

But the new bank’s growth trajectory has also continued as it reported a profit after tax of N3.49bn for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.

This represents a 112% increase when compared to N1.65bn in 2019.

All the key financial parameters recorded major improvement over the prior year performance; Gross Earnings showed a quantum leap of 130% growth over 2019 and Profit Before Tax at N3.52bn recorded a 135% growth over the 2019 figure of N1.5bn.

The bank achieved such growth amidst the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting macro-economic headwinds.

Also, the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) recently admitted the bank’s N10 billion bond on its platform.

The bank made history as the youngest merchant bank to issue a bond in Nigeria which also oversubscribed by 300 per cent

The success of the bond is an indication of the level of investor confidence in the bank’s reputation, brand and corporate performance.

Banking Career

Phillips started his banking career in 1989 with Citibank as the first set of Executive Trainees where he trained in every aspect of banking after a brief stint with International Merchant Bank (IMB) as a Credit Officer in 1987.

Within the three years at Citibank, he was equipped with knowledge of banking operations, relationship management, credit/marketing, efficient implementation of technology, risk management and lean banking methods.

He moved from Citibank to Diamond bank in 1991, as one of the pioneer staff who built the bank to become a strong and notable brand in the industry.

Phillips rose through the ranks to become an Executive Director, serving as ED, Operations and Technology (1999-2002) the period where most banks had to do the IT transformation to meet up with global standards and practices.

He was also Executive Director, Commercial/Retail Banking from 2002 to 2004.

His next stop was at the Reliance Bank Limited where he had a blinking stint as Deputy Managing Director for 4 months before moving on to join the Management and Board of Standard Trust Bank PLC in December 2004.

He was with STB at the time of the merger with UBA and became a key player in the new UBA, rising through the ranks to serve two terms as MD/CEO before his retirement in 2016.

He was succeeded by Kennedy Uzoka.

Leadership Skills

Phillips is a consummate banker with limitless energy who believes in team work.

He is hard worker who avoids shortcuts and do not jump leadership ladder.

He possess the Midas touch, everything he touches turns into gold

Phillips has mentored and is mentoring crops of young bankers and entrepreneurs.

He is also my benefactor.

Tony O. Elumelu, chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA), described Philips as “a man with a very cerebral mind, very diligent, loyal and astute”

He is man who loves and encourages progress and a man who always works for the best of everything.

Elumelu said that the performance of UBA today, both financial and brand management are all attributable to Philips and all the team he worked with.

Alex Otti, former CEO of Diamond Bank Plc, praised Philips for his extra-ordinary talent and management skills and leaving the banking industry with his integrity intact.

Philips has won several awards and is one of the most popular bankers in the continent of Africa.

In 2013 and in 2015, he emerged as the Africa investor (Ai) Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) 30 CEO of the year.

He currently serves on the boards of Veritas University Abuja, Lagos State Security Trust Fund, and the Development Bank of Nigeria.

Philips has also served on several boards including Interswitch Plc (representing UBA), Valuecard Plc (Unified Payment Services Plc), Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Financial Markets, and Dealers Quotations (FMDQ).


Phillips was born into a large family in Owerri, Imo state Nigeria.

He attended St. Kelvins Primary School, Owerri, and Government College, Owerri before moving down to Lagos state for his university education.

He bagged a Civil Engineering degree (with First class honours) from the University of Lagos.

He was intelligent and excelled in his studies.

According to Phillips, he never considered banking or accounting in his first degree because he did not want a sedentary career.

Instead, he wanted a career in civil engineering where he felt he would be more actively engaged.

“As a student, I was very proficient in science subjects,” he recalled, “and I could have studied Medicine or any other such course. However, I wanted a profession that is involved in physical activities, as against research. That was why I chose to study engineering because it has physical applications. As a civil engineer, you are involved in building roads, bridges, houses and so many diverse things.”

However, in the course of his engineering study, he took a couple of courses that were business-related and his interest was piqued.

After school, he considered several career options before eventually settling for banking, and this became the epicentre of his entire career.

He went back to UNILAG and obtained an MBA in finance to guide his new career path.

Since then, he has attended numerous banking, management and leadership courses including the Advanced Management Programme of the Harvard Business School.

He is an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.








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Unity Bank Customers Win Over N4 Million in Cashtoken Rewards Promo



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Unity Bank customers have claimed over N4 million in cash rewards in its ongoing loyalty programme recently rolled out with Cashtoken, a Cash Reward-as-a-Service company.

The winners included no fewer than 40 customers who adopted and transacted on the Bank’s digital banking platforms, including the UniFi mobile banking application, the *7799# USSD platform or activated their Unity Bank Verve Card to transact on e-payment terminals across Nigeria.

Beginning from onboarding in our customer lifecycle journey, the Unity Bank Cashtoken Partnership commenced as a loyalty and reward scheme to reinforce the benefits of e-banking platforms.

To begin, Customer transactions earn cash tokens, which are then redeemed to qualify for the monthly Cashtoken Rewards draw. Consequently, winners emerge from the draws to claim the cash prizes.

Recall that the retail lender announced the ongoing Cashtoken Rewards loyalty programme in December 2023 in partnership with Cashtoken Rewards Africa to empower customers and improve customer satisfaction.

The partnership with Cashtoken Rewards also provided an opportunity for the Bank to migrate customers—old and new—to a platform that will continually create exciting rewards and appreciation for loyalty.

Eghomware Iyamu, Unity Bank’s Head of E-Business, commenting on the success of the Cashtoken Rewards loyalty program, stated: “We are excited to see our customers win over N4 million in cash rewards through our partnership with Cashtoken.

“This initiative demonstrates our commitment to recognizing and rewarding the loyalty of our customers”.

“By leveraging our digital banking platforms, including the Unifi mobile banking application and the *7799# USSD platform, we are not only enhancing customer experience but also providing life-changing opportunities.

“The Cashtoken Rewards program is a testament to our dedication to improving customer satisfaction and creating meaningful rewards along our customer lifecycle journey.

“We look forward to seeing more of our customers benefit from this exciting program as we continue to innovate and deliver exceptional value to them.”

Unity Bank has robust electronic banking products which include mobile and digital banking channels, including ATM, PoS, or any digital payment channels which support retail product transactions across the country. New-to-Bank customers are invited to open a Unity Bank account, onboard onto the digital platforms and begin transacting on the various platforms to earn cash token rewards and cash prizes while existing customers are encouraged to onboard and transact to win even more rewards and cash prizes.

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FXTM Academy Concludes Successful Event in PHC, Host Next Event in Lagos



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FXTM, a global online trading company is hosting an exclusive training for traders where participants can discover the strategies used by the world’s top traders to gain mastery of the market.

L-R: Oluwafumbi Ogedengbe, Specialist Client Education, FXTM Nigeria; Adaeze Uzochukwu, Education Coordinator, FXTM Nigeria; Mathew Anthony, Manager, Market Analysis, FXTM Nigeria; Destiny Ikeakanam, Education Coordinator, FXTM Nigeria and Pius Ogbu, Specialist, Client Education, FXTM Nigeria.

FXTM Academy is dedicated to helping traders and trainees achieve exceptional results in the global markets.

According to Mathew Anthony, Educator at FXTM Academy “We are a global online trading platform that offers stocks, commodities, and other financial instruments, providing traders with access to various markets, competitive pricing, and advanced trading tools.

“Our goal is to empower traders to Learn, Trade and Earn from the global markets.”

This Academy will provide free tutorials through webinars, workshops, video presentations, online courses, market analysis, insights, professional mentorship, and support.

“By offering education and training, FXTM Academy aims to help traders improve their trading skills, make informed trade decisions, and achieve their financial goals.”

Abiola Akinyele, Executive Director of FXTM Nigeria said the registration of the training has opened on the FXTM website and event will take place on the 17th of August.

He said it will be quite exciting and will provide great opportunities for participants to grow the skills to unprecedented heights and to join the ranks of the elite.

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Nova Bank Will Make Great Impact – Oduoza



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Phillips Oduoza, chairman of Nova Bank Plc, has said that the new commercial bank is poised to create jobs and make a great impact.

Nova Bank Will Make Great Impact – Oduoza

Oduoza who spoke at the launching of Nova Bank’s first branch as a national commercial bank in Lagos, said that the bank’s foray into commercial banking and upgrade to National Banking Licence were part of a long-term goal to make an impact.

He said, “We are not here just to maximise profit, but we are here as Nova to have the greatest impact in the society. And this is one of the reasons why we decided to extend to commercial banking business.

“We have been very, very successful, as testified by our customers in the wholesale banking space. And we felt it is just necessary to extend the service to the retail end of the market, which is where you will have the largest population of banking customers.

“Therefore, we want to transfer that success story to the retail end of the market. We want to impact the Nigerian economy as a whole. We want to assist in job creation, stability of the country, which Mr President has been working on. So, by going commercial, it gives us a platform for more job creation in the country.”

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who performed the ribbon cutting for the inauguration of the first branch, commended the board and management of Nova Bank for taking the decision to invest more into commercial banking not minding the various challenges and uncertainties in the economy.

He said, “We need to encourage them; we need to stay in touch with them because they have a choice.

“They could as well have remained as a nimble wholesale bank or as a merchant bank as a matter. But they felt they need to take it further, and this means they need to dip their hands into their pockets and bring additional resources that would make it possible for them to be able to compete on a larger scale.”



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