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FIRSTBANK LINKS GROWTH TO INNOVATIONS, SERVICE DELIVERY

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By NAN (Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma)

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has attributed its success story to innovations and reinvention of products and services aimed at satisfying customers’ needs and aspirations.

Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the Bank’s Managing Director, stated this on the sidelines of the second anniversary of FirstGem, a female focused product in Lagos. “At FirstBank, our purpose is to put our customers and stakeholders at the heart of our business. For over 124 years of our existence, we have focused on providing excellent financial services to meet the needs of our esteemed customers. We continue to improve on our products and also create new ones that suit their specific financial needs. The reason why we have been successful is our ability to invent and reinvent ourselves. You can only be successful like that when you put your customer at the centre piece of all your actions. That is the secret of our success.

“In designing our FirstGem product, we are very clear on the space we want to occupy,” he said.

Adeduntan further said that FirstGem had been designed on the path of what was discovered two, three years ago to fill the gap in ensuring women achieve active participation in economic development. He noted that FirstGem is not just a product but a complete lifestyle support designed solely for women.

Also speaking, Dr. Doyin Salami, Lagos Business School, urged investors in the Nigerian stock market not to panic about the forthcoming elections, assuring them the market would rebound after the general elections.

Salami said that Nigerians should stop dwelling on uncertainties surrounding 2019 elections, noting that election would come and go.

Speaking on the topic “New frontiers for businesses in 2019”: Salami said that Nigerians should tap into sectors with huge activities instead of dwelling on 2019 elections.

“Election is coming and it comes with uncertainties, there are over a 150 million Nigerians and I’m sure that their lives will continue after the election.

“I’m optimistic of where we are, election will come and go and we hope we don’t fight aftermath of the election. Whoever wins will manage the economy,”
Salami said. He further opined that the stock market which had gone down presently by about 15 percent would rebound after the elections. Salami added that Treasury Bills would offer higher returns next year, noting that people with risk averse could invest in it. Salami said that Nigerians should look inwards and tap into opportunities provided by the fast moving sectors with huge activities. According to him, the sectors are agriculture, manufacturing, telecommunications and ICT, healthcare and oil and gas.

Salami said that experience and knowledge would help entrepreneurs to identity new frontiers for business in 2019. He noted that many businesses collapsed because of lack of understanding and wrong pricing.

Also speaking, Ms Arunma Oteh, World Bank Vice President and Treasurer, identified Nigeria’s greatest challenge as extreme poverty, inequality, climate change, anti globalisation and high population, among others.

Oteh said that Nigeria would not achieve sustainable growth without tackling these challenges with strong sense of urgency. She said that one way to tackle these problems was to broaden economic participation by closing the gender gap.

Oteh said that globally, countries were losing $160 trillion in wealth because of differences in lifetime earnings between women and men. She said that “this amounts to an average of $23,620 for each person in the 141 countries studied by the World Bank Group”. Oteh noted that women were important for economic development and were the economic power house for society today. (NAN)

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Google, UBA Collaborate to Provide Free Wi-Fi to Customers

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Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has collaborated with Google and ISP partner to launch Google Station in 11 key UBA branches in Lagos State as part of plans to roll out 200 stations in the country.

Google Station, a platform for providing free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in public places, began in Lagos last year, and extended to Abuja in December in partnership with Backbone Connectivity Network.

This google-powered initiative would allow customers access to internet connectivity within the 11 branches and its environs, thereby facilitating their day-to-day businesses and activities, while ensuring unhindered connectivity.

The 11 branches where the hotspot will be located are: UBA Bank Road, 810-811 Bank Road, Daleko; UBA Matori, 21 Fatai Atere street; UBA Surulere, 152 Ogunlana Drive; UBA Allen, 13 Allen Avenue, Ikeja; UBA Tisco Plaza, Alausa; UBA Apapa, 11-13 Warehouse Road, Apapa; UBA Marina, 55 Marina, Lagos Island; UBA HQ, Broad Street, Marina; UBA Lekki Admiralty; UBA Oke Arin and UBA Aspamda Plaza, Trade Fair.

At the official launch which took place in UBA’s Head Office on Wednesday, UBA’s Executive Director/ Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Chuks Nweke, expressed UBA’s excitement over the collaboration, adding that the move will go a long way to present opportunities far beyond the imagination of both organisations.

He noted that the challenges of financial inclusion which the USSD platform has not been able to solve will be eased through the Google Station, as the financially excluded will now be able to access the internet and enjoy the services provided free of charge.

L-R: Group Head, Corporate Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Akinyemi Muyiwa; Group Head, Online Digital Banking, UBA Plc, Austine Abolusoro; Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor; Executive Director/ Group COO, UBA Plc, Chukwuma Nweke; Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, Dupe Olusola; Head, NBU Partnerships SSA, Google Nigeria, Saidu Abdullahi; and Group Executive, Digital & Consumer Banking, UBA Plc, Anant Rao, at the launch of Google Station, a Collaboration between Google and UBA to provide free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots at UBA Business Offices for the use of customers and publics, starting with 11 UBA branches in Lagos, at the UBA Head Office, Lagos yesterday.

He said, “It is an interesting platform which will ultimately benefit everyone. It is a win-win for everyone. Customers will have ease of doing businesses, especially with the growing use of smart phones, and the 52 million Nigerians who have otherwise been financially excluded will now have access to data through this collaboration and can carry out their transactions with ease.

“Interestingly, SMEs, who previously had challenges with funding can now do other things which they couldn’t achieve before, such as accounting services and others. Also, UBA recently launched an educational app, and so, students will be able to use these Google Station platform to carry out their necessary research from the comfort of their homes, it is an awesome opportunity with benefits for everyone which we are presenting to our customers in line with our customer 1st philosophy.

Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, Dupe Olusola said in addition to the 11 locations, the organisations are looking to expand beyond the shores of Nigeria to other African countries where UBA operates. She added that by the collaboration, the initiative will help ease the burden off customers while also presenting them with opportunities to excel beyond boundaries.

Google Station is a simple set of tools to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots, and aims to provide fast and reliable Wi-Fi in more places where more people spend time, such as bus stations, shopping malls, airports and public transit stations.

Specifically, the Wi-Fi service is available free of charge and partners leverage Google Station’s business model, which enables venues, system integrators, businesses and ISPs with access to fibre to setup, maintain and monetise their Wi-Fi networks.

Google Nigeria’s Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor noted that the institutions remained focused on providing internet services to users for free.

She said, “With the help of our partners, we are offering high-quality internet access in heavily-trafficked areas like airports, markets, malls and bus stations throughout the country, especially in areas where there were no internet connections before.

“Even with the amazing progress on expanding mobile internet, we are finding that public Wi-Fi remains a crucial step in getting free, high quality internet to everyone,” she explained.

Josh Woodward, Director, Product Management, who spoke generally on the benefits of the high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in public places said the collaboration will aim to solve a basic need and allow customers access to connectivity to assist them in their day-to-day businesses and activities.

He said, “Deploying Google Station in collaboration with UBA and 21st Century is an important step to connecting the next billion users. As a result of the locations enables us to be up-and-running in no time. Even more, their WiFi signal ensures connectivity to Google Station hotspots so users can do a lot of things online and be constantly connected.”

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS AZURI TECHNOLOGY TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

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By Stellamarris Ashinze (NAN)

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, last Thursday signed a partnership with the Azuri Technologies to provide solar energy solution for the low-income areas.

The Deputy Managing Director of the Bank, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, said in Lagos that the partnership was aimed at proffering solutions to one of the major challenges facing the country today.

Shobo, represented by Tunde Owolabi, the Bank’s Group Executive, Retail Banking Group, Lagos & West, said that the focus is delivering power to millions of Nigerians; while at the same time enabling access to financial services in rural and low-income areas.

According to him, financial inclusion is a priority to FirstBank. “This is why we are excited about this partnership; because our customers will be able to access a wide range of services that address the real problem of access to power.

”This partnership with Azuri Technologies is one out of several of FirstBank’s partnerships. We have a track record of partnering with individuals and institutions to help meet the needs of our customers (children, women, youth, SMEs) and promote sustainable development in our host communities. Our partnerships cut across the Arts, Sports, Education, Health, among others; FirstBank has been at the forefront in ensuring ease of banking and convenience for its customers.

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L-R, Ini Ebong, Group Executive, Treasury and Financial Institutions, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Simon Bransfield-Garth, Founder & CEO Azuri Technologies Ltd; Tunde Owolabi, Group Executive, Retail Banking Group (Lagos & West) First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Vera Nwanze, General Manager, West Africa, Azuri Technologies Ltd at the partnership agreement signing between FirstBank and Azuri Technologies Ltd held at Lagos InterContinental Hotel recently.

”Our Agent Banking Network (Firstmonie Agent) and digital banking offerings like Chat Banking on Whatsapp, FirstMobile app, Firstonline, and USSD banking, are some of the channels we have put in place to make this happen. We are therefore, very excited about the FirstBank-Azuri partnership and the positive boost it aims to bring to the nation’s economy through inclusive services.”

”Indeed, this is part of FirstBank’s 125 year-long passion for partnerships that are woven into the fabric of society,” he said.

Also, Mr Simon Bransfield-Garth, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Azuri Technologies, said that the company “is a leader in pay-as-you-go solar technology”.

Bransfield-Garth said: “Azuri brings affordable, modern consumer goods and services to the millions in sub-Saharan Africa without access to conventional power.

”Of the one billion people who lack access to electricity around the world, over 600 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. Pay-as-you-go solar power is connecting off-grid households to the modern digital world. From home lighting to satellite TV, Azuri-designed solutions deliver world class performance at an affordable price for customers who live away from mains power.”

”Azuri’s vision is to create a level playing field where all consumers can access and benefit from the digital economy, wherever they live” he concluded.

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FirstBank Partners Azuri to Provide Solar Services and Deepen Financial Inclusion in Nigeria

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By: Segun Lawal

First Bank of Nigeria Limited is out with a new service to make banking a continuallyrewarding experience for its customers. The bank has entered into as partnership with leading pay-as-you-go solar technology outfit, Azuri Technologies, in a unique partnership that will help deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria while making reliable and clean power to millions of Nigerians affordable.

Azuri’s solar home TV product will be co-branded under the partnership and co-marketed by FirstBank and Azuri. Pay-as-you-go customers will be able to pay for their solar via FirstBank’s Firstmonie agent network and mobile payment solution. Firstmonie agents are positioned within rural and semi-urban locations across the country and provide basic financial services such as account opening, cash deposit, cash withdrawals and bills payment More than 60 million of Nigeria’s roughly 200 million people do not have bank accounts and as little as 6% of people have a mobile money account. (World Bank figures 2018).

Speaking on the partnership, Azuri CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth and FirstBank CEO Adesola Adeduntan stated the partnership was a positive step in providing much needed energy and enabling access to financial services in rural, low-income areas.
“This partnership combines the reach of FirstBank with Azuri’s technology and pay-as-you-go solar expertise to bring next generation power to off-grid consumers in Nigeria” said Azuri CEO, Simon Bransfield-Garth.

“Azuri and FirstBank share the vision of a level playing field where all consumers have the ability to benefit from modern financial and digital services, regardless of where they live and this agreement is another step in making that vision a reality.”
According to FirstBank CEO, Adesola Adeduntan, “Financial inclusion is a priority with FirstBank and we are excited that with this partnership, our customers are able to access a wide range of services that address real problems such as access to power. With our over 16,000 Firstmonie Agents spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria, our customers are at an advantage in enjoying seamless financial services from the Bank that puts them first.”

From solar home lighting to solar satellite TV, Azuri systems are designed to deliver world class performance at an affordable price for all customers that experience irregular power supply. Customers make small weekly or monthly payments to unlock their system and power.
Pay-as-you-go solar is transforming lives by providing energy for lighting, phones and TVs while helping boost local economies with new employment opportunities and connecting off-grid households to financial and digital services that are helping improve productivity and increase income.

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