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Financial Inclusion: FirstBank Promotes Virtual Bank Account Opening

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that it has reinforced its technology infrastructure to enable anyone in the country open a FirstBank account through their mobile phones, without visiting any of its branches nationwide.

The investment in the Bank’s mobile banking infrastructure is in furtherance of the need to deepen financial inclusion in the country, enabling account opening to be carried out on its *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile (self-service telephone banking), its website – www.firstbanknigeria.com – as well as the Bank’s staff, through the Direct Sales Executive (DSE) application installed on their mobile phone, ATMs and the bank’s over 55,000 FirstMonie Agents spread across the country. Opening an account with FirstBank through any of these means is seamless, convenient, fast, and user-friendly.

The DSE App is an end to end encrypted mobile application installed on the phone(s) of FirstBank staff which enables them to open an account for to-be customers. Upon the completion of the account opening process via the DSE App, the customer is notified of his or her account number through a text message on the mobile phone used to register the account.

With FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking, various banking activities are carried out on a mobile phone – across the four major GSM network operators in the country – without the use of the internet. To open an account via this means, dial *894# then select ‘open an account’ to provide the information required or by simply dialling *894*0#. The Bank currently has over 9.5 million of its nearly 20 million customers on its USSD banking platform.

The FirstMonie Agent Banking is an agent banking initiative from the bank that is designed to take banking closer to people, thereby bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked. FirstMonie is a channel through which various banking activities like FirstBank account opening, funds transfer, bill payments, data and call credit recharge services, amongst others are carried out. The Agent Banking initiative has also contributed to reducing poverty, being responsible for the indirect employment of over 150,000 people across the country.

According to Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “beyond opening an account in any of our over 700 branches, we are delighted with the investments at reinventing our business processes over the years, especially with the use of technology. This has been critical to staying relevant in the industry for over 126 years and being the financial partner of the first choice to all our customers and Nigerians, irrespective of where they are.”

Creating these virtual ways of opening a bank account with us – thus; the staff DSE App, ATMs, FirstMonie Agents, *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile and our website – reinforces our resolve to ensure that more Nigerians and residents have access to banking, especially through our state of the art financial services and we remain resolute to being the key to banking, enabling business and financial activities that would continue to propel the country’s economic growth and development.

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Business

FBN Insurance Brokers Hosts Webinar to Sensitise SMEs on Risk Management, Cyber Security

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FBN Insurance Brokers Limited, a subsidiary of Nigeria’s leading financial services group, FBN Holdings Plc, has announced a webinar to sensitise SMEs on risk management and cyber security. Spearheading discussions at the webinar are seasoned experts on insurance brokerage, cyber security and risk management.

The event is themed Risk Management and Business Continuity amidst COVID19 and scheduled for 10:00am on Thursday, 17 September, 2020.  To participate in the event, click here to register.

Olumide Ibidapo, MD/CEO FBN Insurance Brokers will speak on Risk Management; Harrison Nnaji, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), FirstBank will drive conversation on Cyber security and Jamie Eaton, Regional Director, Financial Lines and Client Management, Howden One Insurance Brokers will focus on Cyber Insurance as a risk transfer option for cyber risks.

Speaking on the event, Olumide Ibidapo, MD/CEO FBN Insurance Brokers said; “SMEs remain the engine of growth of any economy, especially developing ones like ours and we recognise the indelible roles they play at creating jobs and meeting the economic and social needs of individuals.

We are excited with this webinar and implore every business owner to participate, as they will be exposed to very vital information to keep their business afloat and overcome various risks as well as operational challenges, including cyber security threats that have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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FirstBank Promotes Career Development of Staff, Graduates Third Set of SMDP Participants

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider,  has graduated 12 successful candidates in the third edition of its Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP). The graduation ceremony held virtually, via the Zoom video conferencing platform on Wednesday, 2 September, 2020.

The Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP) is FirstBank’s intensive modular programme for a select group of senior managers to principal managers who are proven leaders in their respective functions and have been identified as central to the Bank’s succession plan.

Prior to the 2020 programme, 40 exemplary staff had successfully participated in the SMDP. 23 staff graduated in the inaugural edition that held in 2017 and the 2018 programme had 17 graduands.

According to Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; “I am delighted with the performance of the third set of the Senior Management Development Program (SMDP) graduands. The set’s performance and response to the various trainings and initiatives have been very impressive and exemplary. The set has demonstrated the gold standard of value and excellence in banking services which FirstBank stands for. The SMDP has been an insightful and impactful journey for the Bank and the participants.”

“I encourage each graduand to maximise the experience and knowledge garnered from the program as they build on their individual and collective contribution to the Bank’s continued growth as well as its efforts in enabling and impacting Nigeria, and the Africa continent at large,” he concluded.

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To Enhance Ease of Doing Business, Banks in Ghana Commence Use of GH QR Code

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Six banks in Ghana have initiated services to allow the public pay for goods and services through the universal Gh QR code.

The banks are Ecobank, GCB Bank, Zenith Bank, Bank of Africa, Fidelity Bank and Agriculture Development Bank. Other banks are still in the process to enable them begin the rollout.

The Ghana Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, launched the universal QR code in March this year. The service adds on to the plethora of electronic payment solutions that the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) has rolled out over the years.

With the QR code, customers only need to scan the codes displayed at various shops and other outlets with their smartphones to make payment. Those who do not have smart phones can pay with their feature phones by dialling a code that will also be displayed at the merchant’s location. QR code is cheap and easy to set up. It is also a quick and secure way to make payment.

It takes away the direct contact associated with cash transactions, which makes it safer to use during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ecobank had earlier deplored QR codes but could only be used by their customers. However with the introduction of the Gh QR code, Ecobank has converted most of their existing QR codes of clients, to make them acceptable to all customers regardless of their banks. The other five banks have begun deploying their Gh QR codes at various outlets.

Chief Executive of GhIPSS Mr. Archie Hesse commended the banks that have started deployment and encouraged businesses to liaise with banks to have the Gh QR code installed to increase their payment options to customers. Mr. Hesse also challenged the remaining banks to quicken up the processes, as they risk losing their clients to other banks.

The QR code for payment is simple to set up as it only involves generating unique QR codes which can be a mere sticker posted on the wall of the shops or on a small stand.

“Once you find the QR Code displayed, you just have to scan and you pay or dial the USSD code and pay, it is that convenient. Gh QR is universal so anyone can use any of them, regardless of your bank”, Mr. Hesse stressed.

A wide range of businesses including taxi drivers, small shops, super markets, pharmacies, chop bars, restaurants as well as major service providers can all use QR codes to accept payments, the GhIPSS Boss noted.

Ghana’s payment system has been modernised with the introduction of many electronic payment solutions that have made payment a lot more convenient, secure and faster.

The addition of the Gh QR code has increased the choice that customers have to pay for goods and services. This will eliminate the several instances where businesses lose out, because the customer has run out of cash.

Currently customers can pay from either their bank account or mobile money wallet through different channels such as MoMo pay, POS and now Gh QR code among others.

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