FirstBank, Nigeria’s leading financial institution and Africa’s Bank of Choice has expressed its appreciation to the public – especially its customers – for their continued patronage of its services during the COVID 19 lockdown, whilst assuring the public that stringent measures have been implemented to ensure its branches and locations across the country operate in line with the health and safety guidelines issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
Expressing the Bank’s delight at welcoming customers to its branches and locations from Monday, 4 May 2020, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the Bank’s CEO noted that these safety measures include ensuring personal protection, as wearing face masks is now mandatory; maintaining social distancing by reducing physical contact by at least one meter from the next person and queue guides and markings are in place to guide customers; as well as enhancing the practice of personal hygiene as hand washing stations and hand sanitisers have been provided.
Speaking on the impact made by the Bank across its sub-Saharan business Dr. Adeduntan said “We are glad that our investment in technology over the years has really borne fruit as many of our staff were able to work remotely during the lock down with effective IT support to hand. We were therefore able to actively support our customers, their families and businesses through these challenging times.
We ensured business continuity across eight countries – Nigeria, Ghana; Democratic Republic of Congo; Sierra-Leone; the Gambia, Guinea; Senegal and United Kingdom. We recognize that this has truly been a trying period and are poised to continue to provide as much support as we can to our customers and communities we operate in”.
Coming back home, the Bank’s Chief explained that during this period it proactively reviewed products and services to support customers better and expressed his appreciation to Nigerians for the whole hearted adoption and patronage of its electronic services, as these indeed demonstrated the trust which the public repose in the Bank and in return the Bank commits to always live by its resolve on being true to its mantra – You First.
He said “It is for this reason; putting our customers first, that our Bank working to regulatory, Federal and State Government directives worked assiduously to keep over 50 percent of our branches open across all nooks and crannies of the country.
At the same time the call centre was restaffed in the most efficient manner and retooled as we provided even more opportunities for our customers to reach us for their banking needs”.
He further provided a snapshot of transactions carried out across FirstBank’s e-banking channels during the five-week lockdown in various parts of the country:
• We recorded approximately 12.6 million withdrawals amounting to about N156bn across our ATMs well placed across the country.
• Nigerians with FirstBank cards used them 105 million times to make payments or withdrawals worth about N1.18 Trillion as they relied on us to settle their banking needs
• Our customers made transfers over 106 million times with a total value of about N8.18 Trillion across our digital channels.
• During this period, our 53,000 plus agents have processed over N512bn worth of transactions
• We have also recorded over 275,000 new sign-ups to alternative channels covering our Firstmobile; USSD and First-Online platforms.
As one of the leading SME banks in the country, with a drive to ensure SMEs are supported, Dr. Adeduntan, also stated that FirstBank has enhanced palliatives such as introduction of special waivers on repayment fees on its credit cards, and a 90-day loan moratorium on selected products across markets, to help cushion the impact of the toll on employment and livelihoods.
Our Wholesale business was also not left out as advisory services and a range of financial needs were met to the delight of our Corporate and Commercial customers.
On community impact, the Bank partnered with other organisations in the private sector to collectively help those most impacted by this pandemic. It has contributed N1billion and several volunteer staff towards the efforts of the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to meet the intervention objectives in the key areas of health; testing, provision of much needed health infrastructure, isolation units and raising public awareness and where needed providing food to the most vulnerable.
This is a time when we all must step up and do our bit by our people and our communities.
In addition FirstBank in keeping with its long standing tradition and focus on educational support and talent development has partnered with several organisations in a bid to help 1 million students access e learning.
“It is important in all this not to forget the children whose needs can so easily be overlooked at a time such as this”.
“As the lock down is lifted nationwide, we will continue to provide seamless service to our customers ensuring the highest levels of support whilst operating as efficiently as possible, ensuring safety of all is paramount and empowering our staff to drive these goals. We will do these with three things in mind: ensuring you are staying safe; supporting your business; and safeguarding our future’’ Dr, Adeduntan said.
FBN Insurance Brokers Hosts Webinar to Sensitise SMEs on Risk Management, Cyber Security
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.”
FirstBank Promotes Career Development of Staff, Graduates Third Set of SMDP Participants
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.
To Enhance Ease of Doing Business, Banks in Ghana Commence Use of GH QR Code
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.