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125 Years Anniversary: FirstBank Holds Relay Walk, Pledges Commitment to Teamwork, Service Delivery, Value Creation

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By Eric Elezuo

Nigeria’s premier bank, FirstBank Nigeria, has reiterated its commitment to continue to provide quality service to its over 15 million customers, create value and exhibit wholesome team work and coordination among its staff.

The remark was the collective stand point of the bank’s principal officers as it holds a 125 kilometres relay walk to celebrate the banks 125 years of uninterrupted existence as a heavyweight in the financial institutions and general corporate world.

The walk which took place simultaneously at major FirstBank stations across Nigeria, was described as a significant activity to prove that achievements involve everyone committing his own quota for the common good of the whole organization.

ED, Corporate Banking, Mr. Remi Oni, receiving the certificate

Speaking at the Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Ikeja branch of the bank, which hosted one of the walks, the Executive Director, Corporate Banking, Dr. Remi Oni, stated ‘that it takes collaboration, working together, teamwork, empowering ourselves to be able to achieve what we have’.

He pointed out that everyone else’s tiny bit of cooperation contributes to what the bank has achieved.

Cross section of staff during the walk

He also said that the exchange of baton is “significant in the sense that it suggests that the present group has done their part and has passed on to the next generation that will continue the milestone achievements the bank is known for.”

The walk moved to the headquarters at Marina where the leadership and major customers of the bank assembled.

In his speech, the Group’s Chief Executive Officer,  Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, said the bank remains committed to value creation and effective service delivery to all stakeholders in the years ahead.

FirstBank staff

He said the bank would continue to provide standard services and products to its customers and stakeholders for value creation to maintain its market share.

“What we intend to deliver to them will go up in terms of quality and in terms of value,” he said.

Adeduntan reiterated Dr. Oni’s stand that the Relay Walk was very significant because it shows greatness and synergy.

He explained that the 125km was a representation of the collaborative effort of not just FirstBank but all its entities.

“The 125km is a mark of our incredible journey of delivering impeccable financial services to our customers as we leave no stone unturned to remain an icon of admiration in today’s financial services industry in Africa.

“The Relay Walk is very significant and symbolic.

“It’s symbolic because it’s a collaborative efforts not just FirstBank but other operating entities within the FBN Holdings family.

“We came together to organise a relay and the significance is when you think of a relay, when you think of 125, if you want to run a relay of 125 on your own as an individual you can get tired but when you collaborate together you can achieve it.”

Adeduntan said the walk signified power synergy, noting that the leadership of the institution had moved from individual to individual, generation to generation in the last 125 years.

“What we are doing is to pass on the baton of this relay to the next generation of our staff,” he said.

In his remarks, the Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings Plc, Urum Kalu Eke, said the bank had been able to create a network of partners in the past 125 years.

“What we have been able to achieve today by the Relay Walk is to create a network of partners.

“No other institution in Nigeria has achieved this and we belong to a unique club globally of those that have clocked 125 years and more and we are proud of this day.”

Eke said the passing of baton showed that the bank had come to stay with successive leadership team, team spirit, innovation and self development.

The Group Chairman, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, on her part, said the bank would continue to be the number one in the industry with long enduring legacy of value creation.

“If you had the kind of legacy we have had, we are 125 years, you can only look forward to the future.

“When you remember that the only way you can have the opportunity to celebrate 125 years today is because at different times, different generations from the least to the highest worker have added value and created value.”

Also speaking, the Head, Marketing and Corporate Communication, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, said the bank would remain committed to helping customers build and grow their businesses as it has been committed to creating value for 125 years and counting.

She said: “We will continue to partner with our regulators to make sure there is strong robust financial services system in Nigeria.“

The anniversary celebration continues with more activities including a Jumat service on Friday, March 22, Church Thanksgiving service on Sunday, March 24 while a lecture will take place on Tuesday, March 26 with a prolific guest speaker, followed by a gala night.

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Business

Glo Widens Customer Base with Its MoneyMaster PSB

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Glo-powered MoneyMaster Payment Service Bank (MMPSB), a major payment service bank in Nigeria, has recorded massive growth in its customer base as it added a new bouquet of services to its operations.

The positive growth is as a result of innovations and services introduced in the past few months by the PSB to delight its customers in the country.

Licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in August 2020, MoneyMaster PSB facilitates payments and remittance services within Nigeria, accepts deposits from individuals and small businesses, issues debit and prepaid cards, operates electronic wallets, inbound remittances, and carries out other services in line with CBN regulations.

Its focus is the unbanked and under-banked segment in Nigeria in order to deepen financial inclusion. It launched commercial operations in May 2022, and has continued to experience expansion in its client base with hundreds of potential customers leveraging its digital channels such as USSD, mobile app and internet banking to open accounts, buy airtime and data, pay utility bills and more.

Sources indicate that more Nigerians are joining the bank to enjoy the wide array of services on offer and conduct their financial transactions with ease and with assurance of security of their transactions.

There are currently over 4,000 billers on the MMPSB platform and the number is growing on a daily basis. Through the platform, customers are able to pay for many essential services such as airtime, data, electricity, cable subscription, etc.

The immediate future holds bigger promise for customers of the payment service bank as it gears up to retool and reengineer for better customer experience. Several new initiatives are set to be unveiled to delight customers soon.

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Forex Crisis: FG Blocks Binance, OctaFX, Coinbase, Others

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The Nigerian government has blocked the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms to avert what it considers continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds.

Sources within the major telecommunication companies in the country told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) communicated the directive to telcos and they had started acting on it.

Apart from Binance, other platforms such as Forextime, OctaFX, Crypto, FXTM, Coinbase, Kraken, among others, were equally blocked.

Presidency and regulatory sources said the government decided to move against Binance and other crypto firms following reports that currency speculators and money launderers were using them to execute criminal activities. Authorities believe the ‘criminal activities’ going on on platforms are contributing significantly to the weakening of the naira.

Binance, a digital assets platform, serves as a window for peer to peer transactions allowing users to advertise interest to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

In September 2023, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) placed a disclaimer on Binance Nigeria Limited, saying the platform was “neither registered nor regulated by the Commission and its operations in Nigeria are therefore illegal”.

Despite the warning by the regulatory agency, the firm continued its operation, attracting huge patronage especially among urban youths and suspected speculators and money launderers. Aside from suspicions of economic sabotage, officials also speak of national security concerns as the platforms are often patronised by other criminal groups including for payment of ransom.

In its reaction earlier on Wednesday, Binance said “users behaving in a manipulative way” will be removed from its platform.

“As industry leaders, we are working hand in hand with local authorities, lawmakers, and regulators to ensure we act on non-compliance,” the platform added, noting that it is “setting an upper limit for ads, filtering and removing bad ads, requiring and raising deposits for merchants posting ads as well as processes for actioning against any market manipulators.”

On Tuesday, the Nigerian government announced that it was planning to raise $10bn to improve liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

President Bola Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, disclosed this at the inaugural Public Wealth Management Conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

“At the core of this is ensuring optimal management of the assets and investments of the Federal Government towards unlocking their revenue potential. This includes our bold and achievable plan to double the GDP growth rate and significantly increase the GDP base over the next 8 years,” Mr Shettima said.

Meanwhile, the naira tumbled to an all-time low of N1,900 per dollar at the parallel market on Tuesday, amidst speculations and uncertainties about supply constraints in the markets. But at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), the local unit appreciated slightly to N1,551.24.

Earlier on Tuesday, the office of the National Security Adviser directed law enforcement agencies to take firm measures against anyone engaged in foreign exchange market speculation.

“In a concerted effort to safeguard Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and combat speculative activities, the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Central Bank of Nigeria are joining forces to address challenges impacting the nation’s economic stability,” the office said in a statement.

“The CBN’s proactive measures to stabilise the foreign exchange market and stimulate economic activities have been commendable. However, the effectiveness of these initiatives is being undermined by the activities of speculators, both domestic and international, operating through various channels, thereby exacerbating the depreciation of the Nigerian naira.”

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UBA Takes Centre Stage at 2024 ECOWAS Mining Forum in Cotonou As Elumelu Gives Keynote Address

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Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has been announced as the official sponsor of the 4th edition of the ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum (ECOMOF 2024) scheduled to take place at the Palais des Congrès in Cotonou, Benin from February 22 to February 24, 2024.

The regional event is expected to see a large gathering of key players and stakeholders in the mining and petroleum sectors of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and as the financial institution of choice, with presence in 20 African countries and active involvement in major continental development projects, UBA is the preferred partner for the event, underlining the bank’s commitment to the growth of mining and Petroleum industry in the sub-region but to the whole not African economic development.

UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, would give the keynote address during the opening ceremony of this all-important event.

Elumelu who doubles as Chairman of Transcorp Group, with extensive interests in energy and power, will be speaking on the theme: “Geo-extractive Resources and Technologies: what pooling strategies for Value Creation in West Africa”

His speech is expected to highlight UBA’s increasing effort to support and develop the African continent through strategic investments in the key sectors of mining and petroleum.

Under the esteemed leadership of the President of the Republic of Benin, His Excellency, Patrice Talon, and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current President of ECOWAS, His Excellency Mr. Bola Tinubu, UBA Group will at the forum aim to restate its commitment towards supporting economic and social development across the continent.

The focus of ECOMOF 2024 underscores the significance of transforming the mining and oil sectors into economic pillars by formulating attractive policies for investors, essential for the sectors’ substantial contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of ECOWAS member states.

The Transnational Corporation Group (Transcorp Plc) – a diversified conglomerate with strategic investments in various sectors, including power and energy – will also actively participate in the forum.

Key officials from UBA Group and Transcorp Plc, including the Chief Executive Officer UBA Africa, Abiola Bawuah; UBA’s Group Head, Corporate and Energy Bank, Ebele Ogbue, and President/ Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Group, Owen Omogiafo will be actively involved in discussions and panels on the sidelines of the event.

Anticipated to attract over 2,000 participants from diverse sectors, including representatives from mining and oil industries, government officials, international and national investors, industry experts, ECOWAS delegates, and international organizations, ECOMOF 2024 promises to be a significant platform for collaborative dialogue and partnership building.

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees’ group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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