How FirstBank is bridging financial exclusion gap

FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, owned by FBN Holdings Plc, leveraging on its 750 business locations including international presence in eight countries, as well as leadership in electronic banking services, has been at the forefront of bridging the financial exclusion gap in the country.

FBN has been at the forefront of ensuring that the majority of the adult population in the country have access to affordable financial services through its massive deployment of digital banking channels as well as unique services that has enabled it to reach more people.

Speaking at a function in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria, Adesola Adeduntan, said the bank will continue to drive digital banking in order to improve customer experience, and promote seamless online banking across its branches worldwide.

According to him, the need to provide affordable, accessible, and easy to use formal financial services to the bottom of the pyramid market segment has always been the driving force of the bank.

“For us at FirstBank, our customers remain the first in all that we do. In over the 126 years of our journey as a leading financial institution in Nigeria, this has been our approach which is why we keep re-inventing ourselves in a dynamic manner, irrespective of the demand of the times.

“Through the Firstmonie agents, we have offered banking services to our customers, other banks’ customers, and even non-account holders. Such services include Cash Deposit, Fund Transfer, Cash Withdrawal, Airtime purchase, Bill Payments, Account opening and BVN enrollment. It is still growing.

To further deepen the Financial Inclusion drive, FirstBank also developed another product called the Firstmonie Wallet. It is a bank gnostic and telco-agnostic product that provides opportunities for those at the bottom of the pyramid to access financial services with minimum KYC requirements.

“In specific terms, our approach is to stay ahead by being the bank of first choice for whatever financial services our customers can think of. Innovation is at the core of what we do and that is why FirstBank Digital Innovations Lab established in 2017 serve as a hub for creativity and implementation of digital solutions that will greatly improve our customers’ experience on our digital platforms.

“We are currently responsible for about 20 percent of the industry’s interbank transactions nationwide, and over 25 percent of the card transactions. In 2020, our mobile banking App, FirstMobile, won the Best Mobile Banking App award in the Global Finance Best Digital Bank Awards and the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions Awards respectively.

The bank has issued over 10 million cards, while it has more than 10 million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the *894# banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.

Among other things, FirstMobile app is configured with modern banking functionalities which are regularly upgraded and designed with self-service features to ease the navigation capability and proficiency of customers to carry out their respective transactions with no hassles.

There is also the LIT Application, created to revolutionise the culture and experience of mobile banking in Nigeria.

According to the bank, “The LIT application is not just

about bills payment, funds transfer or airtime recharge, but also the app is equipped with several other exciting features that reiterate the bank’s resolve to continually expand its digital architecture to modernise its interaction with customers, irrespective of where they may be across the world.

“These functions of the LIT app include: multiple transfers which allow customers to select several beneficiaries at once for a single transfer; account opening opportunities for non-customers as well as account management, enabling customers to identify their relationship managers for immediate assistance, should the need arise.

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.