…Thumbs up mobile banking (FirstMobile) and USSD (*894#) platforms
By Bolaji Israel
Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said technology, innovation and enhanced capabilities have become necessary to achieve significant business growth in the post-COVID-19.
Adeduntan made this remark on Thursday during a Digital Disruption Series webinar organised by the Surrey Business School of the University of Surrey, England.
The webinar was themed: “Digital Disruption: How Can Companies Thrive in Africa Post-COVID-19.”
According to the FirstBank boss, it is about studying the environment and leveraging the digital space to proffer solutions tailored to suit emerging challenges
Adeduntan cited FirstMobile, the Bank’s mobile banking and *894# USSD platforms as some of the digital disruptions that had impacted positively on the financial institution, the banking industry and the financial ecosystem as a whole.
“We have the largest bank agents – close to 90,000 – of them spread across the country, helping to bring in people that were financially excluded into the financial system,” he said.
On barriers to growth in creating innovative and indigenous knowledge, the CEO cited capital constraint, social infrastructure and cultural approach as some of the limiting factors encountered by businesses in Africa.
“In Nigeria, to solve the capital constraint, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Banker’s Committee contribute certain percentage of our profit to a pool of fund to serve as equity for entrepreneurs,” he said.
According to the FirstBank CEO, absence of social infrastructure in African countries has denied citizens the ability to lead better and quality life, thus leading to the migration of many young and brilliant minds from the continent.
He said the bank evolved a deliberate approach in its employment, remuneration, exciting work roles and talent development to inspire and retain its young workforce.
Dr. Adeduntan added that there were significant opportunities in Africa, with over one billion population, while noting that opportunities were available for young and innovative people willing to work smart and hard.
The FirstBank boss noted that the bank had been in existence for 127 years, and had been strategically positioned for exponential growth through its ability to leverage innovation to reinvent itself.
Also speaking at the event, Prof. Kenneth Amaeshi, Thought Leader, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, said COVID-19 had unravelled the need to realign Africa’s institutions, and convert challenges to opportunities.
Amaeshi said African governments should evolve more favourable policies and incentives that would encourage renewed innovation, increase investment in education, research and development and intellectual property protection.
“As much as we want to celebrate technology development in Africa, we need Africans to participate and contribute to the knowledge going on in the digital space,” he said.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider, has graduated 28 successful candidates in its inaugural FirstBank Management Associates Programme (FMAP), virtually held on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 via the Zoom video conferencing application. The programme which commenced in 2018 had a total of 48 candidates selected from thousands of entries and applications received nationwide.
FMAP is a 24-month fast-track comprehensive developmental programme targeted at young, dynamic, self-motivated and highly driven individuals that possess the right skill set and excellent leadership potential among Junior and entry-level cadre staff. Entries and applications for the programme enrolment was also extended to the public
Speaking about the programme, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank said “It is an intensive skill development programme structured to enhance acute thinking, financial, methodical skills of staff.
The bank would continue to reinvest in its human capital to create a kind of leadership needed for future growth and development
“This is part of the Bank’s strategic objectives of infusing and developing leadership at requisite levels across its staff hierarchy, aimed at building the next generation of leaders who will be groomed to drive the Bank’s vision of being Africa’s Bank of first choice”, he concluded.
At the end of the programme, successful candidates are moved to middle management, becoming Management Associates irrespective of their grades at the point of entry.
Cross country postings and secondment opportunities is also offered to such staff to provide them with global exposure and network.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.
With over 750 business locations and over 57,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 9million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 3 million people on FirstMobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
First Bank Plc., one of the leading banks in Nigerian financial sector is embroiled in miss-management and internal crisis that could disintegrate the bank if proper actions are not taken urgently.
According to findings, the confusion rocking the bank is connected to billionaire philanthropist and Chairman of Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko, who is reportedly indebted to First bank to the tune of N75billion and tries to write it off by allegedly projecting his son, Obafemi, as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank.
Meganews.com.ng learnt that the controversial businessman is allegedly scheming to win over the control of the bank and positioning his son to possibly take over the mantle of leadership of the bank.
The alleged loan, which was dubiously acquired about 7 years ago with his status as the Chairman of the bank, has remained un-serviced till date, an insider claimed, stating that non-performing loan is currently putting the bank and its management in tension as the economic hardship facing the country bites harder on all financial institutions.
To cover up for his indebtedness to First bank, Otudeko was said to have installed one of his sons, Obafemi Otudeko, as a non-executive director in the bank. It was reliably learnt that more pressure is now on the Managing Director of the bank, Adesola Adeduntan to take a drastic step against his chairman over the non-performing loan.
The alleged loan has gotten to the ears of a human rights group, the Social and Economic Rights Derivatives Centre, and strongly-worded petition has been sent to various governmental agencies and the National Assembly, asking the management of First bank to explain how a number of multi-billion naira loans is not reflecting on the bank’s financial records anymore.
Specifically, the group called for the investigation of Otudeko for allegedly obtaining a N29 billion facility from the bank through FBN Trustees, which he claimed was written off without the knowledge and consent of the bank’s shareholders.
It would be recall, late businessman; Aare Arisekola was the largest shareholder in the bank. But before his death, he sold his shares to Oba Otudeko, who has the second largest stake in the bank.
How this scheming and politics will play out, is not yet known, but industrial experts are of the opinion that such action, which may have cost the bank its leading position as Zenith Bank Plc., emerged the biggest bank in Nigeria with First band coming second in the recent rating.
They noted that First Bank which prides itself as “Truly The First Bank” is now the second bank, warning that the financial giant could collapse if nothing drastic is done to arrest the situation, which is bound to cause a stroke to Nigerian biggest elephant.
It will be recalled that Otudeko is in court with Ecobank over an alleged N5.5billion loan availed Honeywell Flour Mills Plc., Siloam Global Services Limited and Anchorage Leisures Limited, which he personally guaranteed.
So, disgruntled was Ecobank’s management that it recently sought a receiving order against Otudeko’s estate, funds, investment and shares in Honeywell Group, Honeywell Flour Mills, among other companies, as well as an order declaring him bankrupt.
However, all efforts made to speak with Corporate Affairs of the First Bank failed as neither SMS nor mails sent were responded to as at press time.