Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with her customers, focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and effective leadership. These, amongst others, are the reasons the Bank has dominated the financial market for over 126 years.
The Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructural development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialization schemes, and entrenchment of the cashless policy which gave rise to electronic cards being a veritable entity in the day to day transactions among the bank’s customers. Consequently, the use of its wide range of cards, developed with the ‘man on the move’ in mind, come with far reaching benefits and rewards, connecting the remotest of places even as the world is plagued by the novel Corona virus disease today.
The world as we know it today, is a global village, and its connectivity is at the tip of an individual’s finger. That aside, it also revolves around the use of ‘ordinary’ but highly customised cards and FirstBank is a confirmed Leader in this space. There’s no gainsaying the fact that for 126 years and counting, FirstBank, Nigeria’s premier bank, with accolades and awards trailing its existence, has continued to blaze the trail in certainly every financial innovation. And as the name signifies, has continued to be the first in virtually everything banking and finance. Little wonder that in December 2015 and May 2016, FirstBank was named the first financial institution in the country to achieve sustained alternative channels transaction volumes of 100 million transactions. Subsequently in 2017, the Bank also attained the Milestone of 10million card base, a feat that is first of its kind in West Africa and Second in Africa.
There is hardly any banking innovation, which is not traced to the company that has overtime woven itself into the very fabric of the society. Commenting on FirstBank’s strides, the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, disclosed that the bank’s 53, 000 agents across the country processed about N512 billion worth of transactions with differing values while the lockdown lasted. He noted that the bank was “able to actively support her customers, their families and businesses through these challenging times.” This is nothing short of the FirstBank advantage.
Adeduntan reiterated the faith Nigerians have in the use of FirstBank cards, saying that during the period of the lockdown, Nigerians with FirstBank cards used them 105 million times to make payments or withdrawals worth about N1.18 Trillion as they relied on the Bank to settle their banking needs. In addition, the Bank’s CEO noted that approximately 12.6 million withdrawals to the tune of N156 billion were carried out across FirstBank’s ATMs nationwide.
“Our customers made transfers over 106 million times with a total value of about N8.18 Trillion across our digital channels. We have also recorded over 275,000 new sign-ups to alternative channels covering our Firstmobile, USSD and First-Online platforms,” the CEO informed.
While calling on lovers of stress-free banking to get on board, the FirstBank CEO further assured existing customers of the bank’s relentless efforts to ensure that banking transactions continue seamlessly, adding that COVID-19 will not slow down her activities and efforts at staying true to her brand promise to her customers.
FirstBank cards come in a wide range of categories, each fulfilling tasks that are better imagined, but nevertheless are flexible and offer comfort, stress-free banking and wholesome peace of mind. It is therefore not a coincidence, that FirstBank is and remains Nigeria’s highest card transacting bank; a product of carefully thought out process, hard work and the quest to keep its customers first in all things. This is especially important at a time when movement and business activities were largely hampered by the lockdown, with the maintenance of social distance and the potential increase in the use of the Bank’s alternative channels – which is facilitated by its cards – for various transactions and business activities, thus staying safe to win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The range of cards available to customers of FirstBank are categorised into three broad groups, viz; DEBIT, CREDIT and PREPAID Cards. The grouping covers outstanding cards offerings such as Naira MasterCard, Verve Card and the pioneering Visa Multi-Currency Card. Others are Expressions MasterCard, Platinum MasterCard, Visa Infinite Credit Card, Visa Gold Credit Card, Naira Credit Cards (Visa Classic and Platinum), Visa Prepaid Card and Verve Prepaid Card.
FirstBank’s Naira MasterCard & Verve Card are Secured by Chip & PIN technology with local POS/Web limit increase available upon request. The Naira denominated MasterCard comes with various benefits such as online purchases, bills payments and cash withdrawals at ATMs world-wide. The various transaction limit(s) on Naira MasterCard issued by the Bank are N150,000 for ATM transactions, N2,500,000 for POS and N1,000,000 for Web transactions.
The FirstBank Verve Debit Card works with Chip and PIN technology to secure transactions. It allows the cardholder to conveniently pay for goods and services and is accepted by all ATMs, POS, Web, Mobile, Kiosk, and Bank Branch connected to the Interswitch network in Nigeria. It is available to all account holders and enables daily transaction limits of N150,000, and N500,000 on ATM and POS channels respectively. Customers can transact up to N1 million on the Web in a single transaction.
FirstBank cards also offer the Card Protection Transactions feature, which allows the cardholder to activate or deactivate it for all types of transactions, channels and locations, through the Card-in-Control Service on the Firstmobile app. The steps are few and simple: On the Firstmobile app, go to Self Service > Card Services and choose card type (Debit, Credit, or Prepaid) to be activated or deactivated.
Another card innovation service by FirstBank is the Visa Gold Card, which offers higher daily spending capacity and limit on ATM, POS and Web. With the Visa Gold Card, the customer is assured of $1,000 daily ATM withdrawal, $10,000 POS transaction and $5,000 on the Web at any location around the world. It is a dollar denominated international Premium Credit Card issued in partnership with Visa International.
Moreso, it guarantees access to international emergency services such as Emergency Card Replacement & Emergency Cash Advance in situations where the card gets lost or damaged. The Visa Gold card comes handy when making airline bookings with its smooth seamless purchase options.
Yet another, among the FirstBank’s super cards, is VISA Debit Multi-Currency Card. It is by all intent and purpose, the first of its kind to be offered by any financial institution in Nigeria. It is an enhancement to the existing Visa Debit Dual Currency card and can be linked to any or all NAIRA, USD, EURO and GBP accounts. It is an international card with Chip and PIN technology which can be used to make payment anywhere in the world and across all channels – ATMs, POS & Web. With the Visa Debit Multi-Currency card, cardholders can make daily withdrawals to the tune of N150,000 (local) and $1,000 (international) from the ATM. However, on the Web, a total of N1,000,000 is permitted locally while $6,250 is allowed on the international corridor daily. POS transaction limit is N2,500,000 (local) and $2,500 (international).
The Platinum Debit MasterCard is a premium Debit Card denominated in Naira. It is linked directly to a customer’s Naira denominated Current and/or Savings account. It offers a convenient alternative to the use of cash, and cheques by giving direct access to funds in cardholders’ accounts across all channels like ATM, POS, and WEB etc.
Like other card types, its transactions are easily monitored via the FirstBank FirstMobile App or FirstBank Internet Banking service and offers 24-hour access support for all card-related complaints through First Contact. It is a card linked to a Naira denominated account, and it is valid for three years.
It is designed to suit the lifestyle of senior and management executives of multinational companies and leaders across various industries and sector of the global economy. Its daily limits include; ATM: N300,000; POS: N3million; Web: N2,000,000 as well as Cross-border TXN limit: $500 monthly.
For a brand that has consistently remained on top of its game, FirstBank Cards have received global recognition, as well as multiple honour for its reliable and trusted services.
Speaking further, Adeduntan highlighted that the contactless capability of the bank’s Visa and MasterCards support less human-to-human contact in executing transactions, in the same way that the Debit Cards have remained the base channel for self-onboarding to any digital channel such as USSD, Firstmobile, FirstOnline etc. It is therefore, imperative that customers get a Debit Card because of its peculiar nature to get enrolled on FirstBank’s digital channel for the best of services.
FirstBank’s benevolence did not end with making cards available to customers, but has initiated value added services attached to the cards including ‘discount at Merchants location such as Jumia Friday, Health Plus, among others. These are, without an iota of doubt, exclusive to FirstBank cardholders. This is why you must get your card(s) if you are yet to. Email us at email@example.com, or call your Relationship Manager/Private Banker for whatever card options you require.
Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte canvass use of tech to rescind effects of Covid-19, tackle fraud
Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.
Speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.
Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.
Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”
In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.
Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.
“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.
She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.
Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.
According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.
“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.
Yetunde Oladeji, Director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.
Heritage Bank’s MD calls for more impactful role in banking to aid speedy economic recovery
In the quest to aid speedy economic recovery and impactful service delivery to stakeholders caused by macro-economic headwinds and Covid-19, banking sector’s players have been charged to maximize the opportunities by re-strategizing its roles that will address emerging risks.
The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo made the call during the 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) with the theme “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” held virtually on Microsoft Team’s platform, which was organized and hosted by the Heritage Bank, at the weekend.
Sekibo who was represented by his Executive Director, Jude Monye, whilst addressing internal auditors of banks, inquired from the bankers on the readiness of the Internal Audit function to lend the necessary support in exploiting and maximising the opportunities without impairing their independence.
He, however noted that with the rapid changing developments forced by the pandemic sweep across globe that have upended organisations in every sector of the economy, banking inclusive; internal auditors would notice that their modus operandi are outdated.
To this end, he stated that this was the most auspicious time for Chief Audit Executives to rethink how they perform various aspects of their audit assignments.
Sekibo suggested that auditors must “become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”
He further hinted, “Embracing new processes and tools to modernize and maximize the audit function helps not only with the perception of internal audit’s value, but also the reality of its contributions. Opportunities to evaluate include virtual auditing, electronic workflow management, and distance team-building and development.”
According to him, it becomes imperative for audit teams to embrace change, harness it and use this season to strategize on what internal audit can be in the future, whist noting that only Chief Audit Executives that maximize the opportunity to refresh and reposition will make their role more relevant and impactful for stakeholders.
Meanwhile, he commended auditors for their contributions to the industry including inputs made in shaping policy directions by regulators and the fight against fraud and other financial crimes which helped in no small measure in deepening confidence of the banking public.
In the same vein, the Chairman of ACAEBIN, Yinka Tiamiyu, reiterated the need for internal auditors to maximize opportunities of the current challenges facing the industry, as each day brings new developments that directly influence the likelihood and potential impact of banking future.
According to him, there are challenges on our part as Bankers in meeting up with the needs of our customers and the general public, and we must ensure that such challenges are surmounted.
He stressed on the need for regular annual audit plan to be reviewed quarterly to address current events that have significant impacts on the business, whilst ensuring that the key players continuously provide banking services to customers in a convenient and safer way.
“On our part, the need for improvement in service delivery and safety of customer’s funds as we digitalized our product offerings are concerns facing the industry, as such we must not relent in our efforts to get strong authentication mechanisms as we make our services more convenient and easier for Customers. Banks should strive to find solution to the problems associated with identity theft as we pursue digital products and inclusive banking. This is to ensure that customers are happy with us and complaints minimized,” Tiamiyu urged internal auditors of banks.
Lagos Explosion: How BBC Ignored NNPC Explanation
A plot may be afoot to damage Nigeria’s interests by attacking the integrity of certain institutions of government to discredit them for yet unknown reasons.
A recent report by the BBC Africa Eye on the pipeline explosion that occurred in Sabo, a Lagos suburb, on March 15, 2020 appear to fit a pattern of media blackmail of critical government institutions, especially the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The report said the BBC Africa Eye had obtained new evidence which contradicted NNPC’s official explanation on the cause of the explosion which claimed 23 lives.
NNPC had claimed at the time that the explosion occurred as a result of a truck that hit gas cylinders around the petroleum pipeline, where people had turned into a residential and commercial area contrary to regulations and in blatant disregard for the pipelines right of way.
But the media house said its evidence – a five-minute video and three sources (said to be experts in petroleum pipeline safety) – showed that there was a leak of “vaporized liquid” from the point of explosion on the pipeline.
The media house then said the evidence indicated that there was inadequate protection of the pipeline from soil erosion and that the NNPC failed to maintain industry standard.
The BBC Africa Eye, in the tradition of true journalism, sent a questionnaire to the NNPC requesting for the Corporations response to the allegations, including claim that victims of the explosion were not compensated.
But the medium breached all rules of balance and objectivity when it published the report of its investigations without reflecting the position of NNPC to all the allegations raised.
The media house portrayed the report as premeditated when it sent it out to some local media in Nigeria, including this website, with a plea to help republish.
But the NNPC response to the BBC Africa Eye questionnaire, dated August 28, obtained by this website, contained details of its own investigations and conclusions which were ignored.
The Corporation responded to all the five allegations put to it in details, insisting on its initial explanation that the explosion was caused when a truck heavily laden with stones hit gas cylinders around the pipeline..
In a detailed response addressed to Marc Perkins, editor of the BBC Africa Eye, the Corporation insisted that a truck, heavily laden with stones, was in the vicinity of the explosion, which clearly “indicated that it was instrumental to the explosion. A close look at the area would show that most of the people carrying out their businesses there were in breach of the Corporation’s Pipeline Right of Way which is 15 meters on either side of the pipeline.”
The NNPC stated further that residents of the area engaged in LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) vending, saw-milling, cement trading,
“The eye-witness reports we
On the claim that there was a leakage on the pipeline which released vaporized liquid that caused the explosion, the Corporation stated that there was no leakage of PMS or any other vaporized
Instead, it said, “At about the time of the explosion (0852hrs to 08S7hrs), a pressure drop from 42 to 8 bar was observed during our pumping operations and the pipeline was immediately shutdown. Any leakage prior to the incident would have resulted in a drop in pressure. But that was not the case.
“It must also be noted that both Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) are petroleum products that essentially burn the same way. Since there was an LPG vending shop at the location, it is more likely that the incident was caused by LPG explosion. The incident was typical of gas explosion.”
But curiously, a report on the explosion circulated in the local media by BBC Africa Eye made little or no reference to the official response of the Corporation, but instead repeated claims made by its sources which were at variance with the official explanations it requested from NNPC.
Its only reference to Nigeria’s official explanation was to its third and fifth allegations that the pipelines were not well protected and that the Corporation did not pay compensation to victims of the explosion.
But even the NNPC’s responses to the allegations were largely ignored, and got only a passing mention.
The Corporation had described claims of inadequate protection of the pipeline against erosion as incorrect, and that the pipeline was not exposed at the vicinity of the explosion, but that “the pipeline was excavated to enable repair works after the incidence and the area has since been restored and the pipeline re-commissioned for operations.”
According to the document, the Corporation insisted that its pipelines were designed “operated and maintained in strict compliance with the safely and regulatory guidelines of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and API/ANSI/ASME standards,” maintaining there was no issue of negligence in terms of ensuring the integrity of the pipeline.
In conclusion, the Corporation stressed that despite the fact that the explosion was not caused by any negligence on its part, it still worked “closely with the Lagos State
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