Amid shuttering of social activities especially commercial services, through various lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, FirstBank has proven that as long as its customers require services, the Bank will be waiting right in front of them.
As key enablers of the economy, banks are providers of essential services to customers and communities.
Sequel to the pandemic outbreak, the Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria obtained Presidential approval to permit critical financial services to function during this period.
CBN further urged the general public to limit their use of cash and avail themselves of alternative payment channels such as mobile banking, internet banking, mobile money, Point of Sale (POS), and USSD banking; assuring that financial institutions will remain operational during this period and therefore people should guard against panic withdrawals from their banks.
The assumption that banks will be able to deliver services during this period, was no doubt predicated on the fact that institutions like FirstBank already had a fully functional digital infrastructure, to serve its customers through electronic channels.
In a statement to customers, FirsBank’s CEO Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, categorically made this promise to them: “COVID-19 will not slow us down”.
“These are unprecedented times,” acknowledges Adeduntan “We therefore promise that now more than ever we will remain steadfast, showing up for all Nigerians; we would always be there for you.
“As I reflect on the last two weeks, I am comforted by the resilience of our people. I look back at our commitment and contribution to keeping commerce going and enabling businesses.”
These reassuring words of Dr. Adeduntan, do not go without tangible proofs of the bank’s unrelenting efforts to stay ahead of the situation many customers feared would cripple banking transactions and further exacerbate the pains brought on by the pandemic.
Indeed, since the enforcement of the lockdown measure, regular and unique ancillary services continue to be seamlessly delivered by FirstBank.
The impressive achievements of FirstBank in service delivery, during this unexpected disruption to lives and businesses on a global scale, has been nothing short of the extraordinary.
Or how would you explain over 53,000 agents bringing banking services right to your doorsteps, processing over 5 million transactions with different and large monetary values in the week preceding 10 April.
How about an approximate 2.5 million withdrawals amounting to N35billion across FirstBank’s ATMS in a single week?
On record, FirstBank’s larger corporate customers have done over 1,700 transactions successfully on the bank’s e-bills platform worth N6.8billion during this challenging period.
Nigerians with FirstBank cards have used them 21 million times for payments or withdrawals, worth N268 million.
Customers have made transfers over 10 million times with a total value of about N615billion naira across FirstBank’s digital channels all in one week.
How does a bank get all these done under the prevalent lockdown and disruption of regular routine?
“Expertise and resilience are in our DNA,” explains the Bank’s CEO, “we are working tirelessly to ensure that your banking transactions continue seamlessly and will remain so; COVID-19 will neither slow us down nor defeat us.
We are holding up our side, and now more than ever we will uphold our promise to you to be here for you and put You First.”
Indeed, the capability of banks to render uninterrupted digital services and investment advisory across many channels, especially during a crisis, projects economic stability.
More than ever before, the importance of the services banks provide to individuals and communities extends beyond commercial interests, especially now that cash withdrawals far outstrip deposits.
As an unprecedented challenge to financial institutions like banks, the current coronavirus pandemic serves as a litmus test for them to prove their role as systemic stabilizers, delivering services at least in part for social good.
As the crisis lingers with no end in sight, FirstBank staff remarkably are in place to attend to customers’ needs, in spite of the social distancing measure.
The bank continues to maintain all pre-existing channels of communication including receiving emails through its firstcontact@firstbanknigeria. com address and urging customers to contact their Relationship Managers or Private Bankers for banking services guidance and advisory.
Despite the extra efforts banks may put into rendering uninterrupted services in times like this, they are doing nothing more, than to meet the expectations of customers and maintain economic stability.
From a tactical level, financial institutions like banks can do a lot to reduce consumer and business stress, because as deposit gatherers, credit grantors, and payment facilitators, banks play a vital role in the functioning of the economy.
However, delivering solutions tailored to each individual customer at this critical time, also engenders trust and brand loyalty.
“We recognize our role in keeping the engine going, keeping society going and recognize further, it is our responsibility to remain at the forefront of this; true to our name and in keeping with the incontrovertible fact that we are fully woven into the fabric of society. Our unparalleled network and total coverage of this nation serve us all well at this time ensuring service across the country via our safe, user friendly and convenient alternative channels are available for you 24/7,” says Adeduntan.
While Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, large portions of the economy are in the informal sector and depend constantly on cash movement.
As the financial consequences mainly for MSMES become more serious due to paucity of inflows, (some major players in the economy – oil, aviation and tourism too are not spared) people will expect their banks to look out for them and protect them from imminent financial catastrophe.
Indeed, bank clients would like to see the pandemic brought under containment as soon as possible, in order to resume work and commercial activities. For them, a stable and reliable financial partner like FirstBank that has shown resilience and reliability would be an institution that can be leveraged on, to get business back on track and rolling as fast as possible, once this is over.
Adeduntan in concluding his statement says to the bank’s customers: “Rest assured that we are in this together, and together we will emerge stronger at the end of this period because this too shall pass. We have all it takes; your support, patronage and trust. We will always put You First”.
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FIRSTBANK EMPOWERS WOMEN THROUGH FIRSTGEM ONLINE COMMUNITY
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that its all-female online community www.firstgem.com.ng , offers mentoring, support and capacity building opportunities for all to create a new generation of financially literate women.
With the aim to increase its engagement and reach a wider audience, an online repository for its FirstGem product was created and designed to provide a virtual online community where like-minded women irrespective of where they are in Nigeria and abroad, gather to connect, grow and share knowledge on everything about lifestyle, parenting, career development, entrepreneurship, health, work and family. Financial empowerment and wealth creation ideas are shared to encourage women to play their part in providing financial support for their families.
The portal provides varied contents ranging from Blog stories to Vlogs, Newsletters, Chat rooms which are built on 6 pillars – Health, Wealth and Finance, Food and Recipes, Events, Entrepreneurship, Lifestyle and Beauty. The FirstGem online community presently has over 61,634 members drawn from all walks of life sharing ideas, insights and experiences.
According to Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “FirstGem is suited for the Nigerian woman, and we are using this online community as the ideal opportunity to position the Bank’s gender initiatives to meet the required needs on a wide range of issues affecting women from lifestyle, skills acquisition, finances, wealth acquisition and management, business support, etc.
We encourage all women to join the community by signing up via this link https://firstgem.com.ng/community to enjoy this experience.
FirstGem is a gender specific account designed to meet the needs of women, aged 18 years and above.
It is targeted at a broad spectrum of women, working professionals, entrepreneurs and MSMEs with a view to promoting growth via an array of benefits, from free business advisory services, regular information or insights on business opportunities in various sectors and industries, as well as mouth-watering discounts at partnered stores and outlets.FirstGem has successfully empowered women in states across the geo-political zones in Nigeria and the UK.
FBNHoldings wins World Finance Best Corporate Governance in Nigeria Award
Nigeria’s leading financial services group and holding company, FBN Holdings Plc, has won the 2020 Best Corporate Governance in Nigeria Award by the World Finance. World Finance is renowned for its comprehensive coverage and analysis of the global financial services industry, international business, and the global economy.
FBN Holdings Plc is winning this award for the second consecutive year on the back of its strong corporate governance practices and outstanding leadership in the Nigerian financial services industry
Commenting on the award on behalf of FBNHoldings, UK Eke, MFR, its Group Managing Director said; “winning the award in quick succession is a demonstration of not only the strength of our corporate governance practices but also its resilience. As a holding company, we emphasize the highest standards in corporate governance across all operating entities in our quest to deliver value to our numerous stakeholders”
For the past thirteen years, World Finance has been celebrating corporate achievements in the areas of corporate governance, innovation, and market leadership in the financial services sector across all the regions of the World.
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