UBA Group

Banking on a Messenger-powered digital assistant to improve the customer journey UBA Group’s automated Messenger experience helped more than 270,000 customers open a new account and reduced call volume by 30%


Pan-African financial care

Founded in 1949, United Bank for Africa (UBA) is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than 21 million customers, in 20 African countries. With over 1,000 offices, including New York, London and Paris, UBA connects people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.


A digital customer journey

After noticing that customers were spending more time on their phones and social media platforms, UBA Group wanted to provide them with a digital banking experience to meet them where they were. Concurrently, the bank was looking to increase customer sign-ups and boost its agents’ productivity. Given UBA Group’s customer-first philosophy, the bank turned to Messenger and automation to improve the customer journey.


Technology-driven conversations

In 2018, UBA Group launched LEO, a digital assistant custom-built for the Messenger platform. In the same year, LEO was featured at the Facebook F8 Developer Conference. Created in-house, the digital assistant was built to recognise multiple languages and to help customers with their banking transactions 24/7.

Using LEO, customers can find information about bank locations as well as undertake important actions related to their finances. They can make transactions, open new accounts, freeze accounts, block cards, pay bills, transfer funds, purchase airtime data and make financial plans, all via conversation with LEO. The bank promoted its Messenger experience through Facebook campaigns of ads that click to Messenger as well as through organic posts about the convenience of using LEO and television ads.

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Customers can easily navigate LEO to access FAQs and live chat, if needed. Using Messenger’s quick replies and natural language processing via, LEO can easily respond to customer enquiries. For a more personalised experience, customers are able to log in to their UBA account via Account Linking, allowing them control of their account in-thread. After seeing the success of LEO within Messenger, UBA Group integrated the experience into WhatsApp to reach and serve more customers.


Spearheading innovation in banking

With LEO, UBA Group automated multiple banking services, including customer care, which successfully reduced the number of queries handled by its customer support team.

  • Over 270,000 new accounts created via Messenger since 2018
  • Over 58,000 new accounts created via WhatsApp since 2020
  • Over 2.8 million transactions with a value greater than USD 66 million made via Messenger in 2020
  • Over 1.4 million transactions with a value great than USD 34 million made via WhatsApp in 2020
  • 30% reduction in calls to the contact centre
  • Combined usership of over 2.1 million UBA Group customers

“With LEO, our custom-made digital assistant for Messenger and WhatsApp, we are embracing new technology and revolutionising the banking experience, by providing customers with a familiar interface to execute their banking transactions at all times. Our customer-centric approach to digitisation has resulted in several positive outcomes, such as increased customer sign-ups and greater agent productivity.”

Sampson Aneke
Group Head, Digital Banking, UBA Group

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