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GLOBAL TRANSACTIONS GET EASIER WITH FIRSTBANK’S CARD OFFERINGS

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As in many developing countries, cash has been the most prevalent mode of payment in Nigeria until 2012 when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the cashless policy with the aim of promoting the use of electronic payment channels instead of cash.

Since then, banking services in Nigeria have shifted from physical and tangible distribution to technology-enabled, such as internet, automated teller machine (ATM), mobile phones, point of sale (POS) and mobile money channels.

African economies are also in support of driving cash out of the financial system and the introduction of digital payment solutions is in line with their cashless strategies.

It is also worthy of note that one of the prerequisites for the development of national economy is to encourage a payment system that is secure, convenient, and affordable. In this regard, developed countries of the world, to a large extent, have moved away from paper payment instruments toward electronic ones, especially payment cards.

Looking at data from the CBN official website on E-Payment transactions from 2012 to 2018, it is clear that there has been an exponential increase in the volume of transactions carried out through various channels.

For instance, the volume of ATM transactions carried out in 2012 was approximately at 375.5 million compared to 875.5 million recorded in 2018. Also, the volume of transactions recorded from the POS and Internet channels rose from 2.58 million to 295.89 million, and 2.27 million to 50.8 million in the review period respectively.

This suggests that, the e-payment channels, if well implemented will help achieve the CBN‘s objective of expanding, deepening and modernizing the payment system in Nigeria, and also galvanize the apex bank in ensuring that Nigeria ranks among the top 20 economies of the world in line with the nation‘s vision 2020 aspirations.

To this course, and in line with its pioneering strategy and focus at smartly improving payments infrastructures and greater usage of non-cash means in the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited recently launched Visa Multi-Currency card, the first of its kind to be offered by any financial institution in the country.

This All-in One-Card has by all means added to the array of FirstBank’s card offerings: Naira MasterCard and Visa Gold card.

The FirstBank Naira MasterCard, a chip and PIN Debit Card, offers a convenient alternative to the use of cash, and cheques. It is a naira denominated card linked to customer’s current or savings account, and can be used to make purchases online, pay bills and access cash at ATMs point worldwide.

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With it, cardholders go cashless, have zero need for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) or Business Travel Allowance (BTA), and also have increased limits for international transactions up to $5000 monthly on all channels with a daily ATM cash withdrawal limit of $300.

While the FirstBank Visa Gold card, an international premium credit card, is a U.S. Dollar- denominated card, secured also by chip and PIN technology. Its higher daily spending limits on ATM, POS, and Web are $1,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively, anywhere in the World.

However, in addressing challenges many Nigerians faced while travelling abroad, FirstBank has introduced the Visa Multi-Currency card with some unique features. Before now, the major pain points for travelers have been how to source different currencies with high and non-transparent exchange rates.

In today’s businesses where expectation is significantly increasing, consumers have to embrace innovative new technology made available, such as the FirstBank Visa Multi-Currency of card, for global transactions.

The newly launched FirstBank Visa Multi-Currency card is an enhancement to the existing Visa Debit Dual Currency card. Having other unique features, the card can be linked to either or all customer’s NAIRA, USD, EURO and GBP accounts. It is designed to enhance customer experience when transacting globally outside Nigeria, and to address challenges many Nigerians faced while travelling abroad thereby positioning the bank at meeting the needs of its increasingly global customer base.

Besides other benefits are POS and Online purchases, access to and use of ATMs worldwide, and no cash collateral requirement prior to its issuance.

It is an international card secured by Chip and PIN technology with a lifespan of 3 years, and it has additional protection for web-based transactions with “Verified by Visa” (VbV). In fact, it is a one card that enables access to funds throughout the world, providing maximum protection for all card users.

It has a daily withdrawal limit of N150,000 and $1,000 for local and International transactions on the ATM channel, and N1,000,000 and $6,250 for local and international on Web. While on POS, Current account cardholders have a withdrawal limit of N2,500,000 and Savings account cardholders N500,000 distinctively for local, but $2,500 parallel for International transactions.

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In the words of Mr. Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Product, “FirstBank takes pride in pioneering the Visa Multi Currency Card in the country, as we remain committed to providing products and services that are designed to ensure the banking convenience of our customers regardless of their location.”

“This card is designed to make traveling fun for our customers and ensure they have a seamless transaction experience during their vacation, tourism and other business-related trips around the globe,” he added.

True and true, FirstBank has shown itself to be a digital innovating bank since the craze of technological transformation in the financial sector, with various Awards, achievements, and recognitions.

This Nigeria’s Bank of first choice was named the first financial institution in the country to achieve sustained alternative channels transaction volumes of 100 million transactions in December 2015 and May 2016.

In 2015, FirstBank won two awards in the eBusiness category: MasterCard Cardless Champion award for International acceptance across all POS channels; and MasterCard Cardless Champion award for Mobile POS (MPOS) merchant acquisition.

In 2016, it won three awards also in the eBusiness category, viz: Asian Banker award for Best Mobile Payment Product for West Africa; Asian Banker award for Credit Card of the Year for West Africa; and Global Finance Award for ‘Digital Bank of Distinction – Emerging Markets, Africa Category’.

For two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017, the bank was honoured with the Digital Bank of Distinction, Nigeria award in the Global Finance Best Digital Banks Awards.

While still counting, in 2017, FirstBank won the Cashless Champion Award of MasterCard International on POS International transactions acquiring, and same year won Interswitch awards on Fastest Mobile Penetration in Africa; Highest Card Transacting Bank in Nigeria; and Highest Verve Issuing Bank.

For FirstBank to sustain its relevance and be part of the banks of the future, it must continue to be proactive to customers’ goals, their ‘next big thing’, and invest heavily, rediscover and reassert its core role in society, while securing ongoing support of policymakers.

By EHIME ALEX

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Keystone Bank partners Nilayo Sports to host Valuejet Remo Ultra Race

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L-R: Mr. Yemi Odusanya, Executive Director, Keystone Bank Limited; a guest and Prince Dapo Abiodun, Executive Governor, Ogun State at the maiden edition of the Valuejet IAU African Championship, Remo 2019 competition, held at Shagamu, Ogun State, recently

As a way of demonstrating its commitment to promoting fitness and healthy living amongst Nigerians, Keystone Bank Limited, recently partnered with Nilayo Sports Management Limited (NSML), to host the maiden edition of the Valuejet IAU African Championship, Remo 2019 competition.

The 50km ultra-distance race event held on Saturday December 7, 2019 at Sagamu, Ogun State, was the first African championship in IAU’s 35-year history. The three-in-one championship had about 4000 athletes from across 35 IAU member countries.

The race which took off at the Gateway International Stadium had in attendance dignitaries including the governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, president of IAU in Africa, Solomon Ogba, executive director, Keystone Bank, Yemi Odusoya, ex- Nigeria athlete, Falilat Ogunkoya amongst others.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Bukola Olopade, the managing director of NSML said the race is one of the company’s numerous ways to create bond among Nigerians and the world at large. “The ultra-marathon is first of its kind in Africa and we are elated that our company is responsible for bringing youths together to harness their talents. “Valuejet IAU African Championships is a trendsetter. The ultra-race has set an excellent example for ultra-running on the continent”, he concluded.

Commenting on the bank’s involvement in the event, executive director of Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Yemi Odusanya said the lender recognises the importance of health to nation building, stating, “A healthy workforce is considered the most productive workforce. Good health is critical to economic development and therefore, health remains one of our core CSR pillars in the bank. Keystone Bank will continually strive to promote advanced healthcare in Nigeria.

“The competition showcases the bank’s commitment to community investment and project financing.

“Therefore, sponsoring the Valuejet IAU African Championship, Remo  2019 competition is in line with our vision to promote a healthier   nation as a whole.”

At the event, winners of the 50-kilometre ultra-race in both foreign and local categories pocketed $2,000, while the second and the third placed runners received $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

For the Nigerian local five-kilometre run, the winner received N500, 000, runner-up N300, 000, while the second runner-up went home with N150, 000.

Nigerian musical artistes, CDQ, Slimcase and Naira Marley were also on ground to add glamour to the event.

While Nilayo Sports Management is a sports management and marketing company, working with some of the biggest names in the world of sports like IAAF, CAA and AFN aimed at promoting sporting activities from grassroots level to international level in Africa, Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers

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Girls Dominate 2019 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition as Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini is declared the winner .

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It was an all-female top three affair, as 14 year-old Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini of Louisville Girls High School, Ogun State, emerged the overall winner of the 2019 edition of the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition, winning the grand prize of an educational grant of N2,000,000.00 to study in any African university of her choice.

Oluwatoroti clinched the first position at the Grand Finale of the Competition which was held on Monday December 9th, 2019 at the UBA Head Office, Marina Lagos. Her essay was declared the best out of over 5000 entries received by the UBA Foundation from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.

This year’s NEC had12 finalists made up of eight girls and four boys with over 500 per cent increase in participation from pupils across every single state of the federation.

Oluwatoroti who was visibly elated expressed her profound excitement as the winner of the competition, adding that the experience has given her more confidence with which she can face great challenges in the years ahead. She noted that the grant will help in the pursuit of her dream towards becoming a pediatrician.

2019 National Essay Competition 1: l-r: Tutor, Louisville Girls High School, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Mrs Josephine Oladipo; 1st Runner-up and student of Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oyo, Precious Ifeoma Okey; Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka; Winner of 2019 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria, and student of Louisville Girls High School, Ogun State, Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini; Jolaosho’s Mother, Mrs Jaiyeola Jolaosho; 2nd runner-up and student, Beautiful Beginning Academy, FCT Abuja, Miss Aimeé Okoko; and CEO, UBA Foundation, Mrs Bola Atta, at the grand finale of the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria, held at UBA House in Lagos on Monday

“This is something I worked very hard to achieve. I read and studied very hard for this competition, and I am very happy that my hard work paid off in the end. I am indeed very grateful to UBA and the UBA Foundation for this huge opportunity and for making me believe in myself, and I would like to encourage other students not to stop trying,” Otokini said.

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Her mother, Mrs Jaiyeola Jolaosho, said, “This grant will go a long way to support my bid for quality education for Oluwatoroti. Now our dream to give her an education at the African Leadership Academy will be fulfilled with this grant. I am so happy about this, because I noticed that she has a penchant for writing, and we are so elated that she won. I will encourage all her siblings to apply for  for this competition going forward.”

The second prize was bagged by Precious Ifeoma Okey, aged 15, of Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oyo State, who won a N1,500,000 educational grant, whilst the third prize of N1,000,000 went to Aimeé Okoko, 18 years old. Aimeé attends Beautiful Beginning Academy, FCT Abuja. All 12 finalists received brand new laptops from the UBA Foundation.

This year, the Foundation introduced a prize for the school with the highest number of essay entries and the Livingstone College, Lagos came tops. They will  be receiving gifts worth over N1m from the UBA Foundation  for their participation in the competition.

Congratulating the winners at the event, the MD/CEO of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, commended them for their exceptional brilliance.  “Every student who sent in an entry is a winner. To be confident about your writing skills and ambitious enough to enter a competition to further enhance your educational path is laudable.  For those that did not win, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter for the competition again in 2020” she said.

According to Atta, UBA Foundation, being the CSR arm of UBA Plc, makes it a point of duty to give back to communities where UBA operates. Education in any capacity, Atta noted, remains  the Foundation’s focus area as it is the bedrock of any nation.

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In his remarks the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said UBA was very happy to be touching lives and making a solid impact through its Foundation’s National Essay Competition and the grant it gives out annually to those who emerge winners. He specifically commended the fact that more females emerged winners this year, adding that it is in line with the bank’s commitment to women empowerment.

Uzoka who is also the Chairman, UBA Foundation said, “What we are doing today in unique in Africa, we are doing this to continue to encourage our young ones to study hard because we noticed that overtime, the level of education has been going Southward.  For 9 years now, we have been supporting students with grants to further their educational pursuits’.

Uzoka informed the gathering made up of parents, students and the media, that the essay competition has produced well over 100 winners, since its inception in 2011 in Nigeria – many have already graduated, and a few are studying varied courses at Universities in Nigeria and across the African continent.

He encouraged the winners to be of good character, and ensure that apart from striving for academic excellence, to avoid any negative action that might dent the foundation’s image and that of their families as they are now UBA ambassadors.

The judges, led by Professor of English (Gender Studies) and Director of Pre-degree Studies, University of Uyo, Mrs. Ini Uko, stated that they were impressed with the participants who showed great promise, noting that most of the students wrote intelligently and their ideas were well articulated, new and refreshing. She added that the judges were also encouraged by the fact that entries came in from students from all parts of the country.

The UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition initiative has been operational in other countries in Africa including Ghana and Senegal whilst Mozambique and Kenya are expected to kick off in 2020. The initiative .is mapped out to spread to more African countries in the very near future.

UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. It also has presence in the global financial centres, London, New York and Paris.  UBA provides banking services to more than 15 million customers globally, through diverse channels.

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Improve the Business Environment to Drive Industrialisation, Wealth Creation in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries, Elumelu Tells ACP Presidents in Kenya

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Wealth Creation

Tony O. Elumelu, CON, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman, Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Group, urged African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Heads of State to improve the business environment in their countries to drive industrialisation and wealth creation in ACP member states.

 

He said this while presenting the keynote speech on the theme “Industrialization and Private Sector Engagement for Economic Transformation of ACP States” at the Presidential Dialogue of the 9th ACP Business Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

Elumelu stated that industrialisation will not be achieved without support for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and improved access to electricity. “We cannot hope to industrialise if we do not fix the issue of power, if our entrepreneurs spend so much of their resources to power their businesses, how then are they expected to make the investments necessary to upgrade and industrialise? If we do not tackle these pertinent issues, we will be unable to achieve industrialisation, wealth creation and poverty reduction,” he said.

 

He highlighted infrastructure development as another critical area needed to achieve sustainable development, highlighting the key role the United Bank for Africa Group plays in achieving this. “UBA is a force for development in Africa through infrastructure investment and leading the way in cross border payments and services, with the objective of encouraging trade across the continent,” he said.

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While citing the impact of the flagship Entrepreneurship Programme of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Elumelu highlighted the critical role partnership between the private and public sectors, as well developmental organisations, play in achieving industrialisation. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, a private-sector-led philanthropy,  is on a mission to catalyse the economic transformation of the continent by empowering young African entrepreneurs – over 7,500 beneficiaries across 54 African countries thus far – through its Entrepreneurship Programme. Elumelu shared stories of beneficiaries in Kenya including Dr. Peter Gichuhi Mwethera, who has developed a contraceptive gel, Uniprin, which aims to prevent HIV infection, and Maureen Amakabane whose company, ‘Usafi Sanitation’, is bridging the sanitation gap in schools by providing waterless toilets.

 

 

He said: “To date, we have 497 beneficiaries in Kenya, 596 in Uganda, 187 in Tanzania and 194 in Rwanda. This brings the total number of TEF Entrepreneurs in East Africa so far to 1,474, so far. Organisations such as the UNDP, African Development Bank, the ICRC, and GIZ have helped increase the number of young entrepreneurs we can support “.

 

 

The President of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta shared the same approach to development, while highlighting his country’s private-sector-focused plan which has propelled the country’s ease of doing business rank from 129th position out of 190 economies in 2013 to the 56th position in 2019.

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President Kenyatta said: “Our young people are tech-savvy and indeed with a huge entrepreneurial spirit. They are ready to embrace the digital revolution. We are experiencing a flourishing digital innovation ecosystem which can stimulate the rate of growth of ICT and technology innovations, and nurture vibrant tech startups and incubator hubs as Tony [Elumelu] has mentioned, of those young men and women he has supported through his family and Foundation”.

 

 

In closing, Elumelu stressed the importance of including women in the development agenda of the ACP region, commending the European Investment Bank (EIB), for its initiative “She Invest”, which is focused on mobilising 1 billion Euros for women across Africa. “We at the Tony Elumelu Foundation strive to reach the same goals of uplifting women out of poverty and empowering them with knowledge and resources. This is an invitation to join forces as we have done with the UNDP to lift 100,000 young African boys and girls out of poverty, thereby stemming migration challenges,” he said.

 

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