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How FirstBank Is Making Customers Stay-Connected Through Its e-Channels

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BY FUNKE OSAE-BROWN

Folarin is a smart entrepreneur who is in touch with technological advancement and the digital age. He has different apps on his mobile phone which he uses to organise both his business and private lives.  He has a food app which he uses to order for his breakfast and lunch, he has another one that takes care of his love for music and another which he uses to manage his transactions online without stepping into a bank. He tells me, his bank is forward looking and futuristic enough to make banking easy for him and his clients.

 “I have been banking with FirstBank since I was in school as an undergraduate, says Folarin. My mum opened the account for me. That was where she sent my monthly allowance.  After school, I didn’t close the account I simply continued with the tradition.”

It was not difficult for Folarin to decide he would open his corporate account with FirstBank when he started his business a few years ago. He says the ease at which he gets his transactions done on FirstBank’s application, FirstMobile, endears him to the bank.

“I can do many transactions with FirstMobile. I can do bank transfers, check my balance, receive alerts on any transaction I do. There is also a beneficiary section that enables me save the account numbers of people close to me for future transactions.”

The FirstMobile App has over the years offered succour to FirstBank customers.

Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank says “FirstBank wanted a truly branchless experience forits customers and thus enhanced the app to deliver an instant, remote, self-enrolment feature. Hence, in 2015, onboarding process on FirstMobile was improved with self-service feature; empowering customers to remotely complete their onboarding process on the App without visiting a branch.”

In addition, Chuma Ezirim, Group Head, e-Business, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said the soft token was also launched to satisfy the needs of customers who did not want to carry the hard token about. “It serves the same purpose as the hard token but provides the advantage of convenience and mobility as it is installed in the customer’s mobile phone,” he noted.

Another interesting digital service platform by FirstBank is the FirstBillsPay, a biller aggregator platform. It aggregates various billers through a secured connection to the bank, to avail its customers a single payment point for all bills from their accounts.

“In addition to FirstMobile and FirstBillsPayis FirstCheckOut. This is an additional payment option that can be integrated to merchant website that will allow customers pay bills directly from their bank accounts as a substitute to cards. We also have the 894 USSD Quick Banking service as part ofour financial inclusion drive. The *894# USSD service makes banking services available across all GSM networks, on any type of device, anywhere and at any time; this gives it a unique selling point,” explained Ezirim.

There are also the Emerging Channels (USSD Collections, mCash, MVISA). These platforms are to ensure FirstBank gets its customers connected in a seamless way in the digital driven age.

“Our FirstBank mVisa is an innovative mobile payment solution that allows consumers to pay for goods and services via FirstMobile by scanning a QR code using a smart phone or by dialing a USSD number on a phone. Payment goes directly from the consumer’s account into the merchant’s account and both parties get real-time notification.  The USSD Collections allow merchants to receive payments from customers simply by using 894 USSD string for FirstBank customers. The focus segments for USSD Collections are Manufacturing/FMCGs/ Value Chain Businesses, Petrol Stations, Network Marketing Companies, Transporting Companies, Churches, Schools and others,” says Ezirim.

Furthermore, FirstBank Agent banking was launched towards the end of 2017. The bank recruited Firstmonie Agents and empowered them to carry out basic financial services within their vicinity.  Firstmonie Agents are literally human extensions of almost all the banking activities, they are strategically positioned within communities with large population of unbanked and underbanked individuals. With the large network of Firstmonie Agents spread across the length and breadth of the country, financial inclusion is significantly promoted by FirstBank.

Now, the new kid on the block for FirstBank is the chat banking on WhatsApp. With this, FirstBank’s customers can leverage on the real-time messaging capabilities of the WhatsApp Business solution to check their account balances as well as perform simple banking queries.

“Customers’ expectations are constantly changing and it’s our duty as a customer focused bank to ensure that our customers are provided with the means to carry out banking services through any channel they desire,” says Ezirim. “We are constantly seeking new ways and opportunities to meet customers at their preferred touch points and we understand our customers are actively engaged on WhatsApp.”

With FirstBank chatbanking on WhatsApp, it is not just about staying connected with friends and loved ones, but also keeping in touch with FirstBank anytime and anywhere you are.

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Banking

SHAREHOLDERS COMMEND FBNHOLDINGS FOR A SUCCESFUL AGM AS MANAGEMENT ASSURRES OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE

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The shareholders of FBN Holdings Plc have been assured of brighter future and enhanced dividend at the 7th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos.

Speaking at the meeting in Lagos, Dr Oba Otudeko,  FBN Holdings Group Chairman, assured the shareholders that the company had mapped out strategies aimed at ensuring enhanced value creation for the future.

Otudeko said that the board and management would work together to create shareholder value and build strong foundation for the future.

“We are not resting on our laurels, and our renewed approach to synergy and innovation will be major drivers to unlocking earnings potential for our group.

“We believe that our efforts to integrate our offerings and provide end-to-end solutions for our customers will create a competitive advantage in our markets,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Urum Kalu Eke,  Group Managing Director FBN Holdings, said that the company was committed to greater exploits in the future in its drive to deliver value to its shareholders.

” I would like to reiterate our promise to you and the entire market that 2019 represents for us the year of inflection.

“All leading indicators, derived from our numbers, point to the commencement of growth across businesses, markets and indices.

“As we transition to a new strategic planning cycle post-2019, we are confident that the focused execution  of our strategy, investment in future-enabling technologies, development of our talents and our re-engineered processes to repositioning the group for ultimate benefit of the shareholders,” Eke said.

He also commended the shareholders for their unwavering support to the group over the years.

The company for the period under review posted a profit after tax of N59.7 billion compared with N45. 5 billiin achieved in the comparative period of 2017, an increase of 31.4 per cent.

Profit before tax stood at N65. 3 billion against N54.5 billion recorded in 2017, representing a growth of 19.7 per cent.

Gross earnings stood at N583.5 billion compared with N595. 4 billion in 2017, a decrease of two per cent.

Its total assets rose by 6.3 per cent from N5.2 trillion in 2017 to N5.6 trillion during the review period.

Similarly, customers deposits expanded by 10.9 per cent from N3.1 trillion in 2017 to N3.5 trillion in 2018.

The year also recorded reduction in impairment charges which declined to N87. 3 billion from N150.4 billion, representing 42 per cent drop and a proof to the improving loan book of the commercial bank.

He assured the shareholders that the board and management had restructured the entire group for more sustainable growth.

“For liquidity perspective,  you have a strong institution that would pay dividend on a regular basis.

“We have built capital buffet at the commercial bank and the other entities are well capitalised also.

“2019 promises to be a much better year than 2018; all operating entities are in safe hands with good management teams.

“NPL ratio should be at single digit by end of 2019, we will pursue recovery and when it happens the commercial bank will contribute to dividend payment,” he stated.

Eke noted that significant growth in the bottom line was due to several factors including the improved risk management processes which endured that impairment changes dropped year-on-year.

He , also, attributed the growth to implementation of servers cost containment initiatives during the period.

Also speaking, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Chief Executive Officer,  said that recovery efforts on all accounts provisioned were in progress.

Adeduntan said that the bank would ensure that no kobo would be left in the hands of third party, noting that, they bank would work harder to resolve all the legacy NPL.

He said that the number of banking agents had increased to 20,000, adding that the figure processed through  agency banking platform reached N1 trillion as at last week.

The shareholders at the meeting approved a total dividend of N9.3 billion, which translated to 26k per share.

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Banking

More Winners Set to Emerge in UBA Wise Savers Promo: N90m still up for grabs

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Pan-African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has again announced that another set of  20 loyal customers will get a chance to win N1,500,000 each, in the second edition of its quarterly drawfor the ongoing UBA Wise Savers Promo, which would hold in April at the bank’s Corporate head office.

This development more than anything is an opportunity for potential and intending customers to take their chance and add to the growing number of millionaires who have benefitted from the ongoing Wise Savers Promo as a whopping N90Million is still up for grabs.

To qualify for the draws, new and existing customers of the bank are expected to save at least N10,000 each month for three consecutive months, or N30,000 for 90 days in the  promo, which will run for the rest of the year. Apart from the N30 million, won by 20 customers last month, January to be precise  another N90 million is still expected to be won by 60 more loyal customers in the remaining three quarters of the year.

Already the following winners, who cut across all regions of the country; Nnadumije, Ebube Dawn; Onwochei Christiana Okwukwe; Eze Mathias Nnaji; Christian N Orie; Uka, Okwudiri; Okata Stephen Uche; Okafor Onyinye Esther; Nwanekezi Chimezie Jude; Ayomide V Yahaya and Olanegan, Oyetunde Keji, have already claimed their cash prize and are currently spreading the news so others can take advantage of the once in a life time opportunity.

Others winners doing same are Emmanuel Onu Chidozie; Mohammed Fatima; Aminu, Mustapha; James Nanre; Pahinti Albert; Emmanuel O Adeniji; Jaki Movihinze Mercy; Saminu Muritala Mohammed; Ezeh Raphael Uballa; Uchenna Iheji.

The Group Executive, Digital and Consumer Banking, Mr. Anant Rao, while speaking on the forthcoming Raffle draw, noted that a lot of lives have been positively impacted, following the previous draw where 20 people went home with N1,500,000 each totaling, N90 million.

According to Rao: “there is no better time to give back and delight customers than this challenging economic period where people need all the support they can get to make life more meaningful. With this in mind we decided to prioritise them as we always like to do at UBA by giving them plenty to cheer about and that is the reason for the ‘Wise Savers Promo”.

“I have been privileged to visit some of the customers who won in January, and was more than fulfilled to see happiness and gratitude on the faces of the fortunate 20 when their cash prizes were presented to them. That feeling is indescribable, to this end we are more than motivated to do more so our customers can better achieve their dreams and goals in life, I am happy this cash prize can go a long way, to this end, enjoin many more customers to participate in the promo, you never can tell, it could be you”

Head Retail Liabilities, Tomiwa Sotiloye, also explained that the promo was consistent with the bank’s novel initiatives in prioritizing customers and this was necessitated because our customers are invaluable to all that we do.

“He continued, we would continue to listen and give them nothing short of the best that they deserve. UBA will not relent, because we are impressed with the impact this has made so far and would continue to touch the lives of our loyal customers positively”. Sotiloye noted

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More millionaires to emerge in UBA Wise Savers Promo

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As part of UBA’s commitment to support the savings culture in Africa, the bank is rewarding its loyal customers for saving towards their goals.

So far, twenty customers have been rewarded with N1.5 million each has since the promo began in September 2018.

At the second draw happening in April, 20 lucky savers will also win N1.5 million each. The draws take place every quarter and there is still a chance for 60 lucky people to win.

The wise savers promo is open to both new and existing customers of the bank who make a N10,000 monthly deposit into their savings accounts for 3 consecutive months before each draw date. Alternatively, they can make a one-time deposit of at least N30,000 to be saved for 90 days before each draw date. The promo will run all through 2019 and a total of 80 people will become millionaires.

Speaking at the official launch of the promo, the Head, Retail Liabilities, Tomiwa Sotiloye explained that the promo is part of the bank’s promise to put customers first and reward their saving efforts. “We continue to encourage people to have a saving culture to help meet their needs and better prepare them for a rainy day”

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