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By: Segun Lawal

FirstBank has announced its FirstEdu educational solution specifically designed to support schools in need of improvement and growth in meeting their medium and long-term goals. The FirstEdu product includes FirstEdu portal and FirstEdu loan.

FirstEdu loan is targeted at private Nursery & Primary, Secondary and A-Levels schools. The product offers opportunity for private schools to access flexible funding to meet urgent cash flow needs, replace old furniture and equipment, as well as refurbish dilapidated buildings and classroom blocks. With this product, school owners/proprietors can stay ahead of competition in providing educational services and support to the target population by maintaining acceptable standard infrastructure at all times.

The product enables customers access up to N20 million facility with no tangible collateral, apart from domiciliation of school fees account with the Bank. This reduces the cost of borrowing to the customer and eliminates the challenges posed by the provision of additional demanding collaterals.

On the other hand, FirstEdu portal is a robust web-based enterprise portal that enables educational institutions (private Nursery & Primary, Secondary, A-Levels schools and Tertiary Institutions) manage academic, administrative, professional, logistics and payment challenges. The basis for its robustness is to take the stress of logistics and payment challenges off schools, as they focus on meeting the year-long and medium-term objectives of their school(s).

The product features and benefits include; e-Learning, virtual library and facilitation of exchange programmes with foreign educational institutions; academic & student events/time-table/calendar management; school fees payment via the internet; online information and result checking; interactive community forum between students and teachers. It also affords applicants the opportunity of enrolling from the comfort of their homes or any location around the world; no licensing, installation and maintenance cost and plugs avenues for revenue leakages amongst others.

According to Abiodun Famuyiwa, Group Head, Products & Marketing Support, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, with FirstEdu, private schools across the various tiers of education in Nigeria; elementary, secondary and tertiary, have the right tool to boost their business to the level they desire.

Customers and stakeholders are enjoined to visit any FirstBank branch or contact us on our social media channels for further information on FirstEdu.

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Banking

FIRSTBANK UPGRADES ITS MOBILE BANKING APPLICATION, REINFORCES ITS EDGE AT PUTTING CUSTOMERS AHEAD IN ELECTRONIC BANKING

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that its mobile banking application, FirstMobile has been upgraded with new and improved features to promote safe and convenient Mobile Banking experience for customers.

 

The Bank’s award-winning and dynamic mobile banking application has been redesigned with improved security and self-service features to ease the navigation capability and proficiency of customers. Its unique cool blue colour background gives it a more appealing interface for customers to enjoy a unified and streamlined banking experience whilst going about their day to day activities.

 

FirstMobile is now embedded with a card protection service for customers to enable and disable cards on channels, account switch off as well as second-factor authentication and device registration.  With the upgraded FirstMobile, customers can remotely initiate the request for a new debit card as well as the replacement of a lost or damaged one, whilst managing activities on their card and account, thus balance enquiry and statement, amongst others.  

 

The biometrics for transactions is another innovative security upgrade on the application to validate transactions. This feature includes fingerprint for transactions, allowing the customer to use his or her fingerprint to consummate all transactions.  

 

Other added features include frequent transaction; dashboard flexibility and personalisation; smoother transaction experience and improved beneficiary management.

 

With the frequent transaction feature, the user is able to easily access his or her frequently completed transactions – airtime, transfers and bill payments – and reinitiate such with the clicks of a button. This is an additional menu which can easily be accessed from the dashboard.  Airtime top-up and data purchase have also been improved, as customers are able to select phone numbers directly from their phone contacts.

 

The application has been upgraded with a smoother experience on funds transfer, bill payments and airtime transactions as customers can add and delete beneficiary without having to repeatedly enter the recipients’ details over and over again. Users can also take a photo or select from the Avatar (available icons) to personalize their dashboard and beneficiaries for Transfers, Bills Payment & Airtime Transactions by uploading a picture to associate with their beneficiary, especially the more frequent ones.

 

The dashboard has been designed to reflect the lifestyle and social pattern of the user as it can be customized by adding any profile picture of choice. The dashboard also enables users to monitor their spending patterns over a period. It shows the inflow and outflow of funds on their account.

 

In need of a loan to meet that pressing need, FirstMobile has you covered and puts you at an advantage with the FirstAdvance and Nano Loan features.

 

Keen on watching the next blockbuster in your favourite cinema, with FirstMobile, you can book for movie ticket(s) ahead of time, thereby averting the risk of being told the movie is sold-out upon getting to the movie theatre. You can also book for flights at your earliest convenience on FirstMobile.

 

“The upgraded FirstMobile is built to reflect FirstBank’s resolve at reinforcing the digitisation of our payment systems, whilst putting our customers at an edge to conveniently meet their everyday needs at any time, irrespective of where they are. Indeed, this upgrade makes the application new, as it is designed to suit the social pattern and lifestyle of our customers.” said Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products.

 

“With over 3.7million active users on FirstMobile across android and ios devices, we remain steadfast at regularly reinventing our services on the App with dynamic and innovative capabilities to resonate our focus to deliver state of the art digital solutions to all our customers at all times, irrespective of where they are” he concluded.

 

Only recently, FirstMobile was awarded the “Best Mobile Banking App” in the country at the Global Business Outlook Awards.

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Banking

COVID 19 Rebound: We are building Entrepreneurs and supporting financial Inclusion through Xpress Point Agents – Ecobank

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Ecobank Nigeria has reiterated that its agency banking scheme, also known as Xpress Points, is building entrepreneurs and pushing financial inclusion to the large unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria. The Ecobank Xpress Point enables eligible Agents to carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com) and earn commission on every transaction processed. The consumer experience is very good as customers can do simple deposit, payment and transfers in their own neighbourhood rather than travel for hours to a bank branch. Ecobank Xpress Points is also a channel that can be used for the deployment of national social intervention programmes of the Government.

The aim of the Xpress Point is to let every Nigerian and household have access to Ecobank services within their neoghbourhood to provide easy banking services.

Speaking in Lagos, Nike Kolawole, Head, Agency Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, said unemployed and retired persons should avail themselves the opportunity to earn extra income by keying into services offered by the bank as Xpress point agents. According to her, the Ecobank Xpress point which are in various neighbourhoods across the country, are well positioned to facilitate basic financial transactions, with the process and services simplified to attend to a broad spectrum of the society.

She further disclosed that agency banking in general, brings about economic and youth empowerment by way of job creation and earning extra income, adding that small savers can easily do their savings at home or near their home. This leads to financial inclusion of the underbanked in the country.

For now, Ecobank has over 43,000 agents across Africa. The agents carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank and earn commission per transaction processed. Xpress Points can also be used as a channel for the deployment of national social intervention programmes, especially at this time that we are fighting the impact of lockdowns due to the COVID-19.”

Kolawole listed the services offered by the Xpress point agents as; cash in, cash out, fund transfer, bills payment, airtime recharge, remittance and account opening, among others. She added that the services are available for “sole proprietors, partnerships, co-operative societies, microfinance banks, companies with large distribution network – like petrol stations, FMCGs, telecommunication companies, super agents, aggregators and unregistered businesses such as petty traders, hair saloon and others.”

Ecobank boasts of a bouquet of digital channels comprising solutions aimed at delivering convenient, accessible and reliable financial services. For instance, users of the bank’s USSD code, *326# carry out transactions without paying session charges. The USSD platform, *326#, makes it possible to open an Xpress account and Xpress Save account instantly. The bank’s mobile banking app, Ecobank Mobile offers the option of generating a virtual card; this comes in handy as customers are continually turning to web payments for their shopping and payments. The Ecobank virtual card offers the flexibility and convenience of creating a shopping card that is not linked to a customer’s account but is fully capable of carrying out online payments. The virtual card can also be shared with loved ones as a gift card for their own shopping.

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UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition 2019 to Reward Schools with Highest Entries

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UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has commenced the 2019 edition of its annual National Essay Competition in Nigeria with a call for entries.

Now in its 9th year, the essay competition, targeted at senior secondary school students in Nigeria is organised annually, as part of UBA Foundation’s education initiative which is aimed at promoting the reading culture and encouraging healthy and intellectual competition amongst secondary school students in Nigeria and across Africa.

At the media launch which took place at UBA headquarters in Lagos, the call for entries was announced today. Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta, said the essay competition, which is in its ninth edition, will provide an opportunity for students in secondary schools across the country to put in their entries and to win prizes in the form of educational grants to study in any university of their choice on the African continent.

Beginning from last year, the prize money increased significantly as the UBA Foundation emphasises that education remains one of the foundation’s key initiatives.

Group Head, Brand Management, United Bank for Africa(UBA) Plc, Mr. Lashe Osoba; English Teacher, Holy Child College, Ikoyi, Mrs Ezechukwu Ngozi; Managing Director /CEO, UBA Foundation, Mrs Bola Atta; Group Head, Direct Sales Agency, UBA Plc Ogechi Altraide; Group Head, External and Media Relations, UBA Plc, Mr. Ramon Nasir, flanked by students and teachers of some selected secondary schools in Lagos during the commencement Ceremony for the 2019 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition for senior secondary school students in Nigeria held at UBA House on Tuesday

The first prize for the UBA National Essay Competition is a N2 million educational grant, while the second and third prizes are N1.5 million and N1m educational grants respectively.

Speaking to the students and participants at the event, Bola Atta said, “To us at the Foundation, this is our drive to improve the quality of education across the continent. It is also our way of giving back to the society.  The competition is a key aspect of our investment drive in human capital, as we seek to improve knowledge base, allow students to express themselves and write creatively. We will continue to sustain the initiative because education is very important to UBA and we are more than committed to providing the necessary support for students in Nigeria and across the African continent,” she noted.

“We are driven by the mantra to do well and do good and we will not relent in our efforts to touch lives through our various projects, and initiatives,” Bola Atta told the excited students.

Explaining the modalities for the competition, she stated that entries received from students for the competition will be reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges made up of professors from reputable Nigerian Universities, who will then shortlist 12 best essays for further assessment.

Following this, a second round of the competition will involve the 12 finalists who will write a second supervised essay from which three best essays will be selected as the overall winners from the 12 finalists emerged from the first round of the competition.

Atta explained that the choice of essay for this year’s competition is one that helps promote creative and analytical thinking in students and helps them to be problem solvers. This year, the topic is “What do you think the government should do to control fraud in Nigeria?”

It is important to note that apart from Nigeria, the national essay competition has been taken to other African countries including Ghana and Senegal. More  countries including Mozambique and Kenya will kick off the initiative this year. A unique component of this year’s edition is that, schools that turn in the highest number of entries will be recognised and rewarded a special prize by the Foundation.

Also speaking at the call to entries today, the Group Head, Direct Sales Agency, Ogechi Altraide, who spoke on the benefits of reading and writing essays, motivated the students to research into the topics and give it their best shot, adding that there is the need for them to focus on adapting themselves to happenings in their generation, and to have a growth mindset. This she explained, will ensure that they can apply themselves and conquer whatever challenges they are faced with.

According to her, reading and writing go hand in hand, and so it is important for students to keep abreast of how the economy can develop through reading and writing.

An English teacher from Holy Child College, Ikoyi, Mrs Ezechukwu Ngozi, gave the students tips on how to write good essays, and advised them to keep to the proper tenets of essay writing to come out tops in the competition.

As the CSR platform for the UBA Group, UBA Foundation embodies the Group’s CSR objectives and seeks to impact positively on societies through a number of laudable projects and initiatives.

Each year, the bank donates thousands of books to students in Nigeria and across Africa, under the ‘Read Africa’ initiative to encourage and promote the reading culture in secondary schools.

 

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