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COVID-19: FirstBank Launches Next-Generation ATM, Spearheads Innovation In Electronic Banking In Nigeria

COVID-19: FirstBank Launches Next-Generation ATM, Spearheads Innovation In Electronic Banking In Nigeria—-In the light of COVID-19, FirstBank has launched the FastTrack ATM, a Next Generation ATM and first of its kind in Africa, designed to promote financial activities on the ATM devoid of any form of physical interaction with the machine. The introduction of the FastTrack ATM which is done in partnership with Inlaks enables customers carry out cash withdrawals without having to touch the interface of the ATM.

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COVID-19: FirstBank Launches Next-Generation ATM, Spearheads Innovation In Electronic Banking In Nigeria—-In the light of COVID-19, FirstBank has launched the FastTrack ATM, a Next Generation ATM and first of its kind in Africa, designed to promote financial activities on the ATM devoid of any form of physical interaction with the machine. The introduction of the FastTrack ATM which is done in partnership with Inlaks enables customers carry out cash withdrawals without having to touch the interface of the ATM.

 

With the FastTrack ATM, widely referred to as Touchless Solution, the customer carries out the transaction by using his or her mobile phone to perform the needed steps designed originally for implementation on the ATM. By using one’s phone, the transaction is carried out – in advance – through the Bank’s USSD or mobile banking option. Upon the schedule, the customer visits the FastTrack ATM to complete the transaction by tapping a contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) card on the ATM to withdraw his or her cash.

 

FirstBank customers can now leverage the real-time mobile banking capabilities of their cellphone to activate cash withdrawals at the FastTrack ATM. The ATM solution is the Bank’s response to control the spread of COVID-19, whilst promoting the safety of customers that carry out transactions at the ATM.

 

Speaking on the launch of the FastTrack ATM, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said ‘at FirstBank, we are driven to provide seamless financial solutions to ensure our customers are able to timely carry out their transactions in safe, secured and efficient ways, thereby putting them ahead in digital banking, not just in Nigeria but Africa. We are delighted to set the pace regarding the use of the Next Generation ATM in Africa which enables customers to use their mobile phones to remotely initiate ATM-based cash withdrawals via our *894# USSD banking or FirstMobile application. At the core of our strategy lies innovation which is critical to adapting to the new normal’.

 

According to Olufemi Adeoti, Managing Director, Inlaks, “given that consumers are more adaptable to mobile technology Inlaks – the Africa’s leading Information Technology Solutions provider together with Hyosung ATM OEM are partnering with FirstBank to introduce the first fully compliant COVID-19 FinTech ATM. This is in alignment with the ‘new normal’ desired customer experience which includes digitalization and delivering a secure contactless cash access to the bank’s FirstMobile customers for better user experience, simplicity, speed and convenience’’

 

In recognition of its giant strides at promoting electronic banking in the country, FirstBank’s mobile banking application – FirstMobile –  was recently awarded the Best Mobile Banking App award 2020 in the Global Finance Best Digital Bank Awards 2020 as well as 2019 Best Mobile Banking App by Global Business Outlook.

 

FirstBank has been at the forefront of promoting electronic banking solution in Nigeria. In 2017, the Bank was recognized as the first financial institution in Nigeria and the West-Africa sub-region to issue 10 million ATM cards to customers across the country. The bank was the second in Africa to achieve the milestone.

 

These feats are achieved through the trusts in its industry leading innovative banking solutions by over 10 million customers on its USSD *894# banking platform and over 4.1 million customers on its FirstMobile banking application, endearing the Bank to process about 30% of card transactions in the entire banking industry in the country.

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BREAKING: UBA Wins ‘Bank Of The Year’ At Independent Newspapers Awards

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BREAKING: UBA Wins ‘Bank Of The Year’ At Independent Newspapers Awards

BREAKING: UBA Wins ‘Bank Of The Year’ At Independent Newspapers AwardsPan-African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc added to its growing list of laurels at the Independent Newspaper Awards, winning the Bank of the Year.

The bank was announced winner of the coveted awards at a glamorous event which was well-attended by the top echelon of the financial sector including Bank CEOs, Captains of Industries and Senior financial executives. The event was held at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

The Editor, Independent Newspapers, Don Okere Presenting the Bank of the Year Award to Directorate Head, Lagos Island, United Bank for Africa, Uzoechina Molokwu

 

UBA’s Directorate Head, Lagos Island, Uzoechina Molokwu who represented Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Liadi Ayoku, received the award on behalf of the bank.

Commenting on the award, UBA’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Liadi Ayoku who expressed his delight on the recognition stated:  ‘These awards mark another milestone for the UBA Group and is a testament of the diligent execution of the bank’s strategic initiatives on customer service. For us, being recognised as Bank of the Year complements positive feedback from customers and is a recognition of our improving efficiencies, service quality and innovation.

Continuing, he said, “I therefore dedicate this award to our growing loyal corporate and retail customers, who are our essence. Given our heritage and commitment to Africa’s development, we continue to impact lives through our services as well as our financial support to individuals, businesses and government.”

Ayoku pointed out that the pan-African bank remains focused on its goal of democratising game  banking in Africa, leveraging on new technologies and emphasised its determination to change the narrative of financial services on the continent.

While presenting the awards to the bank, the Editor, Independent Newspapers, Don Okere, noted that UBA has excelled in the key areas of prioritising customers, which, according to him, has earned the bank the highly coveted laurel.

He explained that the bank stood out in prioritising customers and improving its technological offerings to accommodate the growing needs of its customers.

He said that even though Africa’s economic landscape has been unpredictable in recent times, a factor that has resulted in business challenges in Nigeria and some of Africa’s best performing economies, UBA was still able to find its rhythm and excelled as is evident from its recently released first quarter results.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty million customers, across 1,000 business offices and customer touch points, in 20 African countries. With presence in New York, London and Paris, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

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Heritage Bank’s YNSPYRE And CREAM Platform April Draw Produce Millionaires

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Heritage Bank’s YNSPYRE And CREAM Platform April Draw Produce Millionaires

Heritage Bank’s YNSPYRE And CREAM Platform April Draw Produce MillionairesHeritage Bank has continually fulfilled its promises to support the Nigerian Creative Industry, as millionaires emerged from the YNSPYRE product in collaboration with the CREAM Platform.

The YNSPYRE account holders who subscribed to the platform by dialing 745463# on all networks won over N12million during the second monthly raffle draw conducted in April at the weekend.

The Heritage Bank’s YNSPYRE event commenced on a great note when D’banj and CREAM Platform introduced the CREAM Merit winners for March, BERRI, a music artiste who carted away sum of N10million in form of promotional, while Clara Aden, a visual artist received N1million in financial support and Hanzy, a music artiste got over N1million Naira in form of mentorship support as well as Merchandise support from partner company – Boomplay.

Meanwhile, the April Raffle Draw produced 10 lucky winners of N50,000.00 each while cheques of N200,000 each were also presented to 5 Winners from the March 2021 Draw.

Heritage Bank’s YNSPYRE And CREAM Platform April Draw Produce Millionaires

R-L: Fela Ibidapo, Divisional Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank; winner of YNSPYRE draw, John Njoku; Dapo Oyebanjo (D’banj) and Ihotu Esther Etodo who was presented with the cheque of N200, 000 won in the March monthly draw, during the 2nd monthly draw of Heritage Bank’s YNSPYRE product in collaboration with CREAM Platform, at the weekend in Lagos.

The epoch-making event, held at the Balmoral Hall of Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos had in attendance alongside Divisional Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank – Fela Ibidapo; Dapo Oyebanjo a.k.a D’banj and his partner – Oje Anetor; notable dignitaries from different walks of life – Director General of the National Lotto Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila and Stanley Mukoro. Also present at the draw were – Sunday Are, Chief Damian Okoroafor, Poco Lee, representatives of the NLRC, Boomplay and members of the media.

Speaking during the April draw, Ibidapo stated that as a financial institution committed to delivering distinctive financial services to create, preserve and transfer wealth, Heritage Bank will continue to leverage its supports to the growth and development of the creative and entertainment sector.

According to him the bank is proud of the entertainment industry and will continue to stand by operators in it by supporting them and watch them grow.

He expressed optimism that the creative industry, if properly harnessed, has the potentials to reduce the level of unemployment in the country, boost wealth creation for the people and help the country generate the much needed foreign exchange.

He noted that with the creative industry accounting for one of the highest exports from Nigeria, time has come for operators in the sector to be supported with the finances.

With the April 2021 CREAM YNSPYRE producing another set of winners, D’banj reiterated his unending desire to boost the lives of creatives within Nigeria who will simply dial 745463# or 463# from all networks.
“For a chance to be a part of next month’s draw, simply dial *463# or *745
463# from any network, choose a category, upload your content on creamplatform.com and promote it to be a part of the Top 10 winners and the lottery winners,” he stated.

He further explained that the Cream Platform has built a strong reputation for producing some of the brightest talents in the country over the last couple of years.

He said the purpose of the platform was to have a creative hub for Africa where people can upload their contents, be discovered and get funding support from Heritage Bank.

He said the platform would enable Nigerians discover their talents in areas such as entertainment, entrepreneurship, music, arts and other areas in the creative industry value chain.

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FirstBank’s Firstmonie Agents Hit 100000 – Impacting Lives, Communities Across Nigeria

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FirstBank’s Firstmonie Agents Hit 100000 – Impacting Lives, Communities Across Nigeria

FirstBank’s Firstmonie Agents Hit 100000Impacting Lives, Communities Across Nigeria—-If you live in Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt, or you reside in any of the other state capitals, you probably take for granted that you actually live in the better of the two worlds that make up Nigeria when it comes to banking. Take Lagos, for example, you would find a bank in almost any corner you turn.

You have many streets in business or commercial areas in the city that are lined up by nothing but banks in all their glory and magnificence. If a count is taken, it could be established that there are probably more bank branches in Lagos than any other branded business outlets or branded activity centres – if street stores and religious centres are excluded.

Many people in city centres somehow assume that this situation of banks being in your face in cities is the same reality that prevails in most parts of the country.

They have no idea that there are parts of Nigeria, especially the hinterland, where people take the absence of banks for granted the same way city dwellers take the preponderance of bank branches for granted. To get to the nearest bank, people in the hinterland who live this reality every day would have to travel many kilometres to get to their state capitals or some other large towns.

These are the people living in the worse of the two worlds you find in Nigeria as far as having bank presence is concerned.

FirstBank’s Firstmonie Agents Hit 100000 – Impacting Lives, Communities Across Nigeria


Imagine if the situation were reversed and city dwellers had to travel many kilometres to get to the nearest bank branch where they could do their transactions. It is not unlikely that such a situation would be accompanied by a ballooning of the stress levels in city dwellers, increased road rage on city highways and heightened frustration generally. How would people who spend multiple hours in traffic on a daily basis, work longer than counterparts elsewhere for far less remuneration, enjoy less sleep on their beds and less time with family and loved ones, cope with the additional burden of walking or driving endlessly in search of a bank to do their transactions? How? Just how?

So city dwellers should indeed be thankful for their world. And while at it, they as well as people in the hinterland, who live in the other world, should not be shy to extend appreciation to those working so hard and tirelessly to bridge the gap between the two worlds in Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) financial inclusion initiative geared towards bringing the unbanked and underbanked as well as communities in Nigeria’s hinterland into the formal financial ecosystem has been key to efforts to bridge the gap. The CBN’s mandate to ensure the availability of affordable financial products and services to all individuals and groups of people in Nigeria, regardless of location, literacy level, familiarity with technology or accessibility to modern infrastructural facilities, has been wholly embraced, supported and promoted by FirstBank.
FirstBank’s unmatched commitment to financial inclusion is informed by the bank’s undivided focus on making real impact across Nigeria.

“The key strength of our franchise is our ability to look at gaps in the society and develop products and services that [address those gaps],” says Adesola Adeduntan, the Chief Executive Officer of the premier bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years.

“We believe that by significantly working with the Central Bank to improve the financial inclusion index of the country, we would, as FirstBank, be assisting [the] country to address poverty, to address hunger, thereby also promoting security of life and property because when people are gainfully employed, the implication is that they think less of crime,” he says.

It is therefore not surprising that FirstBank has driven the financial inclusion initiative much more vigorously than any other bank in Nigeria, with its Firstmonie Agent channel, which crossed the 100,000 Agents mark a few days ago, being among the bank’s many initiatives to expand financial access in the country.

The 100,000 Agents feat in itself speaks volumes about the bank’s strides in the financial inclusion space. No other bank comes anywhere close to FirstBank in terms of number and spread of agents in their agent banking networks. FirstBank’s Firstmonie Agents and the thousands of staff they employ are in all the 774 local government areas in Nigeria save two and, in 2020 alone, processed over 295 million transactions with a total value of N6.65 trillion and opened more than 196,000 accounts. However, for FirstBank, it is not about number or competition with others or even being the largest bank-led network in Africa, but the impact the Firstmonie Agents channel it is creating, as Adeduntan highlighted above.

Francis Shobo, Adeduntan’s deputy, agrees, saying FirstBank is looking beyond numbers and considering impact.
“We are trying to make those Agents the centre of the financial ecosystem in the country,” he says.

This probably explains why Firstmonie Agents are considered by the bank as community heroes that it is planting all over the nation. And this is the sense one gets in interviews with Agents and customers across the country.
Aiyetoro is a riverine community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State. It has no banks, according to Stephen Adeleye, a Firstmonie Agent serving Aiyetoro community. He recounts how Firstmonie has impacted his community.

Adeleye says Firstmonie has provided easy access to banking ensuring that “people in the community now have this kind of savings habit” – a reference to the growing savings culture in Aiyetoro.

One of his customers, Tina Farodoye, who operates a grocery store in the community, says Firstmonie has helped her business to grow. She can now buy her stock in bulk all the way from Lagos where they are relatively inexpensive (even with transport costs added) compared to her community, all because she is able to transfer funds through Agent Stephen to the wholesalers in Lagos. This has improved her business profitability by increasing the profit margin in her business.

Ephraim Osinachi is a Firstmonie Agent in Obehie, Asa Ukwa West, Abia State. He serves customers across all ages, including the very aged, as all customers are assisted with their transactions, unlike the use of ATM where the customer is practically on their own. He says market traders take advantage of his presence in the community to make lodgements at the end of the day’s trade.

He and his staff wait until traders are done at the market (unlike your regular banks which shut their doors to customers at four o’clock, generally). The advantage this offers the people is invaluable. He cites a case where a customer’s house was raided by robbers in their absence and all the robbers could find after ransacking the entire house was N50 cash and old phones valued at N3,000. His services are enabling his community to avoid keeping bulk cash at home and the consequent risk of being robbed and traumatised by men of the underworld.

Orode Hesse, Firstmonie Agent in Ubeji, Warri South, Delta State is both emphatic and ecstatic about impact Firstmonie has had on her life. She enthuses that it has really impacted and empowered her financially and enabled her to empower others, especially other women. She has six employees, five of whom are female. So she sees Firstmonie as a business or platform to employ and empower women. Interestingly, Orode is part of the 26 percent of Firstmonie Agents that are women, a fact that points to the important role Firstmonie is playing in driving women economic empowerment.

Abubakar Aki Bolaji is a Firstmonie Agent along Karishi Road, Orozo in FCT, Abuja. He points out that the nearest bank to his community is 15km away. He is pleased that his presence as an Agent in the community has cut out the costs of transportation his people would have continued to incur in order to access banking services. His sentiment and delight are shared by the teeming customers he serves.

This situation is very common in the North given its landmass and the dispersed nature of human settlements. Adeduntan relates how a senior government official in Jigawa State highlighted how important the presence of Firstmonie Agents was when he informed him that all across a 70km stretch from Gumel, where there was the branch of a bank, there were no banks anywhere in sight. All he saw were at least two Firstmonie Agents in that long stretch of 70km, no banks. Without those two Agents, all the people in the settlements along that 70km stretch would be without access to banking services.

Another Firstmonie Agent, Mohammed Tatari, serving Tudun Wada in Bununu, Bauchi State, says his services are helping to drive commerce in his community as traders are now able to transfer funds to the wholesalers elsewhere from whom they buy. His services are helping traders to avoid carrying large cash with them given the dire security situation. He noted that the people used to travel elsewhere just to access banking service. His presence has changed all that now. He concludes that Firstmonie is changing his community (for good). One woman who would agree with him is Halima, a housewife and petty trader in the outskirts of Abuja. She discovered Firstmonie through her co-tenant, during the recent lockdown due to COVID-19, and was excited that she could access funds at the Firstmonie Agent outlet close to her and send money to her mother in far away, Maiduguri in Borno State. She had been unable to move to Garki where her bank branch was because of the lockdown.

Besides ensuring that individuals in the suburbs do not have to travel for long hours to the city for their banking activities, Firstmonie Agents are also bridging the gap between the tech-savvy and the low-literacy clients as the Agent network represents the convenient and comfortable alternative for customers that are unacquainted with sophisticated digital channels. And as Firstmonie Agents give their best, FirstBank, on its part, has been doing everything to encourage the Agents.

In its inaugural Firstmonie Agent Banking Awards, FirstBank rewarded 37 leading Agents that have promoted financial inclusion in the country. Thirty-one (31) Agents each won the sum of N250,000 at the state level while five Agents won the sum of N1,000,000 at the regional level. At the national level, the grand prize of N2,500,000 was won by Zayyanu Hassan Ishaq, an Agent from Abuja (North Central), who described it as a miracle and noted that it would spur him to work harder.

As further encouragement and to promote the business activities of Firstmonie Agents, the bank announced the provision of loan facilities of up to N1,000,000 to the Agents. This new credit scheme, which they can access 24 hours a day, can be processed in less than two minutes. The scheme means more empowerment and business expansion for Firstmonie Agents. And the expansion can go beyond Nigeria as Adeduntan says FirstBank is looking beyond Nigeria to other African countries where FirstBank operates, like Ghana and DRC – a country with over 80 million people – to promote financial inclusion and begin to address poverty on the African continent through the Firstmonie platform

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