From Fred Ezeh, AbujaFormer Group Managing Director (GMD) of the defunct Diamond Bank Dr Alex Otti and some of his friends have floated a new commercial bank, Signature Bank, which began operations in Abuja, on Monday.Speaking at the official opening of the bank, Dr Otti, explained that the journey for the bank started in 2017 and was driven by a yawning gap that was identified, and a vacuum created by repeated unresolved complaints, poor responsiveness, and unsavoury customer experience encountered regularly from commercial banks in Nigeria.He said that records from Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), indicated that there were just about 55 million bank accounts in the country as of May 2022, adding that more than 42 million Nigerians have no access to financial services.He said: “This is a great opportunity. We believe that the individuality and uniqueness of every customer should be celebrated, just like our signatures are unique to each one of us, a commitment, a symbol of who we are. This is the essence and promise of Signature Bank.”He recalled that in 2017, he and friends sought to buy an existing bank and remodel it to fit their vision, but after preliminary due diligence, the decision was dropped and jettisoned. “We then decided to set up a brand new commercial bank and applied to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for a fresh banking license.“In December 2021, we received an approval-in-principle from the CBN and immediately set out to redefine the industry by building a sophisticated bank that will, expectedly, operate without borders, driven by cutting-edge technology and a highly motivated workforce, offering personalized products and services that are tailored to our customers’ needs.“In August 2022, the CBN approved the issuance of an operating license to our bank after a very rigorous process of verification of the sources of our capital, inspection of our systems, processes and documentation that lasted close to nine months.“Today, the Bank is already working to open several locations across Nigeria, including Port- Harcourt, Aba, Sokoto, Owerri, Onitsha, Kano Enugu and in other metropolitan cities around the country. We have put in place robust, disruptive technology and digital banking channels to ensure that our customers can access all our services from the comfort of their homes, offices,or at leisure.”He said the aim was to deliver a hybrid financial and lifestyle package with hallmarks and capabilities of the traditional big banks interspersed with the agility and creativity of the new wave of digital-minded banks.Dr Otti, also explained that he won’t be involved in the running of the bank, stressing that a quality management team and staff have been assembled to run the bank and provide the best of services to customers.He added: “But beyond that, we also have in place a very experienced Board led by the very brilliant former Chief Executive Officer of Shell Companies in Nigeria and current Chairman of Julius Berger, Dr Mutiu Sunmonu. You can’t get any better than that.”Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Board, Dr Mutiu Sunmonu, in his remarks, recalled the journey that culminated in the establishment of the bank and was optimistic that the bank will serve the interest of Nigerians who are yearning for quality and affordable banking services.He said: “customers will enjoy easy, accessible, borderless financial services, driven largely by digital solutions that fit their lifestyle. The goal is to give our customers the freedom to bank on the go and do business with us from anywhere, anytime, anyplace.“We are setting up unique-looking branches in targeted cities across the country so that our customers can have physical touch points to experience our different brands of in-person services.”Dr Sunmonu said his confidence in the bank was because it was built around professionalism, audacity, creativity, trust, and service excellence. “It is a brand that is sophisticated, disruptive, yet transparent. It is a brand that is built entirely around the customer,” he added.