By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
First Bank of Nigeria Ltd says it has processed transactions worth over N6 trillion on its FirstMonie Agent network as at July 2020.
Dr Adesola Adeduntan, FirstBank Chief Executive Officer, disclosed this on Thursday, at the bank’s FinTech Summit 4.0 webinar in Lagos.
The 2020 edition of the summit, was themed; “How Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will Disrupt FinTech in Nigeria”.
“With more than 60,000 Firstmonie Agent Banking locations, we have to date processed over 320 million customer transactions worth over N6 trillion on the FirstMonie Agent Network as at July 2020, further cementing our leadership in the agency banking space,” Adeduntan said.
He said that FirstBank had become the foremost financial inclusion solutions provider with over nine million USSD users, processing over 200 million transactions to date.
“At FirstBank, we provide an array of digital financial services with the use of our various payment channels to reach carefully segmented audiences with tailor-made financial solutions.
“Some of these channels, which have become the toast of customers and the industry, include: FirstMobile app, USSD (*894#) and FirstMonie, with the popular Firstmonie Agent Banking Network that is at the forefront of the national financial inclusion revolution,” the CEO said.
Adeduntan noted that the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic had provided a ready canvas for stretching the bank’s FinTech readiness and exploits.
“Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for the accelerated technology and digital transformation that we are witnessing across so many industries and areas of human endeavour.
“There is no doubt that the FinTech industry is currently the fastest growing sector within Nigeria, which is mostly run by a sizeable number of young entrepreneurs.
“Since the inception of the FirstBank Digital Lab, we have established relationships with companies like PiggyVest, Terragon, VoguePay and PayStack within the Fintech sector, which have positioned FirstBank as your Fintech partner of choice,” he stated.
He recalled that FirstMobile App was awarded the Best Mobile Banking App in Nigeria in 2019 by the UK-based Global Business Outlook.
Adeduntan noted that the bank recently revamped the FirstMobile App to include new features such as inflow and outflow dashboard, beneficiary management and profile personalisation.
“We have equally deployed new capabilities such as insurance payment, pay your electricity bills with *894# on our USSD platform.
“The business world and the workplace have changed. However, I would like us to see the COVID-19 era from a positive lens – a period of new opportunities.
“Therefore, the era calls for a more deliberate approach in reviewing and identifying new opportunities,” he said.
Adeduntan assured that the bank would continue to provide first class customer service, business advisory and financial support to grow its customers businesses.
He said it would also continue to expand the vistas of innovations in its products and services, to boost customer experience and grow the national economy.
Speaking at the webinar, Mr Chinedu Echeruo, founder of HopStop and the keynote speaker, commended the bank for being innovative in all its products offerings and services.
Echeruo said the world had entered a new age with the fourth industrial revolution, noting that organisations should use technology to create new values for their customers.
He explained that AI enables one to predict something as well predict what would happen in future, noting that disruptions bring about opportunities.
According to him, companies should find a way to use blockchain to harness AI to collapse risk in the system.
Mr Aminu Maida, Executive Director, Technology and Operations, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), one of the panelists, stressed the need for innovative and collaborative effort to achieve the desired growth.
“The reality of today’s consumers is that they want everything now and they want to achieve their experience at the same time,” Maida said.
He said that NIBSS had adopted AI in tackling fraud and enhancing security, to enable their customers to have confidence in their services.
Maida stated that technology was ahead of reguation, noting that they needed to be open to allow customers inform them on what they need.
Mr Musa Jimoh, Director, Payments System Management Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, said the apex bank had instituted a five-year strategy 2025 with new initiatives to strengthen regulation.
Jimoh said that COVID-19 had increased exposure that we can make payments without physical contact.
Mr Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank Group Executive, e-Business and Retail Products, said over 65 per cent of its customer base bank with FisrtBank through its digital channels and 10.6 million active cards.
Ezirim explained that the bank was a technology company offering financial services, adding that it processes 90 customers-initiated successful transactions per second.
Also speaking, Mr Callistus Obetta, Group Executive, Technology and Services, said the best platform to build was people.
He said that the bank would continue to build its people to ensure efficient service delivery. (NAN)