Rose Okwechime is a banking legend who launched her banking career in 1971 with the Bank of England. She is a consummate banker and entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience cutting across the banking industry.
During her time at the Bank of England, she amassed nine years of experience working within the Economic Intelligence Unit, the Clearing Unit, Banking and Accounting Departments and Cost Analyst.
These experiences helped her develop skills that were instrumental to her transition into the Nigerian banking industry when she returned in 1980.
In 1981, she started working at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International Nigeria Limited — now African International Bank Plc (AIB). Not long after, she was promoted to the executive management position. She held the position for ten years.
Gradually, she climbed the corporate ladder from Assistant Manager, Operations Manager to Principal Manager and became the corporate banking unit head.
The conception of Abbey Mortgage Bank
In 1992, Rose Okwechime quit her job at AIB to launch her bank. According to her in an interview,
“My customers at AIB were my inspiration. I loved providing a great customer experience, and they appreciated my hard work and efforts. They wanted to invest in me and encouraged me to start a bank”.
With investors ready to invest, she ventured into the Mortgage Banking Sector and Abbey Building Society was founded. Girded with immense experience, she became the first Managing Director and CEO.
Despite the unfavourable positioning of the mortgage bank sector in Nigeria then, which was second to the commercial bank sector, Rose did not give up. With dedication and hard work, she nurtured it into a well-established mortgage bank with branches nationwide.
Corporate world achievement
As an expert in the banking sector, Rose Okwechime served on the boards of several banks and financial institutions.
She served on the board of Platinum Bank Limited from 2002 to 2005, Standard Trust Bank Limited from 2005 to 2007 and United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) from 2007 to 2010.
Rose served twice on the board of UBA as she was reelected in 2012. She was also on the board of Rosabon Financial Services Limited.
Voyage in the Educational Sector and Philanthropy
To promote education, in 2002, Rose Okwechime, in collaboration with her husband, founded Infant Jesus Academy, a Catholic co-educational school in Asaba, Delta State. Though a pivot from her field, according to her, it is a service to the community.
Despite not having founded a charity, she contributed and touched many lives. Such as people with physical disabilities, down syndrome, blind, and also the Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Nigeria and orphanages.
Through her direct intervention, medical aid and scholarships have been made available to people.
Abbey Mortgage Bank has also given back through its donations to kids in the hospital, physically challenged children, and orphans.