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Callistus Obetta, Group Executive, Technology & Services, FirstBank; Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank; Victor Asemota, Founder, Swifta Systems & Services and Keynote Speaker at the event; Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank and Abdullahi Ibrahim, Executive Director, Public Sector, FirstBank at the FirstBank FinTech Summit 3.0 held in Lagos today.


By Bala Augie

As financial solution providers continue to face stiffer competition globally from Fintech startups and emerging technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrency and crowdfunding, and the increasing level of disruption in the traditional mode of payment and business models, technology holds the key to unlock the potentials in the financial service sector across Africa through Fintech.

As the banking sector continues to find newer ways of engaging and providing customer centric services to bridge the current level of unbanked and under banked population to achieve Nigeria’s 2020 financial inclusion target, the fallout of the recently held FirstBank Fintech Summit 3.0., is that technology is the growth to financial institution in Africa.

“Customer experience and innovation are key in our approach to satisfying our customers. As a leading banking services solutions provider, FirstBank has continued to set the pace in the financial services industry, coming up with new initiatives to provide financial products and services with greater speed, accountability and efficiency,” said Adesola Adeduntan, the CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited at the recent FirstBank Fintech Summit 3.0.

Adeduntan opined that the third edition of the FirstBank Fintech Summit indicates the Bank’s commitment to putting its customers first. According to him, FirstBank is keen at offering excellent financial services by devising new ways of effectively and efficiently meeting customers’ financial needs.

Evidently, financial technology is causing positive disruption in the financial services industry. The impact of technology in lifestyle business and other areas of today’s customer is huge. We are therefore following global trends in collaborating with Fintechs and other big technology companies on several transformational initiatives to be able to satisfy our customers’ needs,” said Adeduntan.

According to Adeduntan, the main purpose of the FirstBank Fintech summit is to converge thought leaders in the FinTech space to champion discourse around financial technology and proffer solutions that will shape the future of banking.

He stated further that key areas of interest for the bank, is to champion the propositions around e-business and digital offering, agent banking, wholesale or transaction banking product suite, retail and consumer lending and SME productivity.


“I am optimistic that every organisation represented here will be empowered to provide services with greater speed and solve real societal problems to the advantage of the Nigerian populace through the insights that will be gained from this event.

“At FirstBank, our promise is to always deliver the ultimate ‘gold standard’ of value and excellence. We will therefore stop at nothing to provide excellent and innovative financial services to our esteemed customers,” he concludes.

Victor Asemota, keynote speaker at the summit said the essence of Fintech is the ability to deploy technology towards solving human problems with tools and processes. According to him, innovation simply means the ability to effectively combine and deploy tools, process and people together to achieve an aim.

Asemota opined that Fintech will help to end the deficit narrative associated with human centered innovation. Hence, people plus innovation will result into solving real life problems, real time.

Chuma Ezirim, the Group Executive, eBusiness and Retail Products, said Fintech is an enabler in solving real problems in the financial sector. However, building a strong digital franchise in the financial ecosystem will be driven by successful partnerships.

In rolling out the figures, Ezirim said, “Over 18m customer accounts, over 10m cards issued (processes about 25% of card transactions in Nigeria). Highest number of Verve transacting cards; Visa debit multi-currency card. Over 8 million users (80% of customer base) with an average of 2.1 million transactions worth over N7 billion is processed daily.

“Over 3.3 million customers; over 500,000 transactions worth N23billion are processed daily. Over 36,000 active agents in Nigeria with a dominant presence in 754 local governments in the 36 states. Over 600,000 transactions worth over N9billion are processed daily,” said Ezirim.

According to him, in developing digital innovation lab, the banking sector must create new digital experiences for customers by enhance existing channels and products. Therefore, banks and the financial sector should leverage Fintech and non-Fintech ecosystem in Nigeria by promoting open innovation, collaboration and co-innovation in the Nigerian financial services sector.

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According to Ezirim, in offering banking as a service to its customers is leveraging its API infrastructure. FirstBank is today offering payments through accounts, wallets and cards. However, he is of the view that there are growth areas and opportunities in Fintech.

According to him, Fintech allows banks to offer real time processing of transaction (instant payments and settlements). Mobile payments/acceptance channels through mobile Apps, USSD, QR Code, E-/M commerce, and others that are out-growing cards usage.

Similarly, Fintech has contributed to the digitalization of person to person, person to business, business to person and business to business payment transactions. And, it allows for new approaches to assessing risk in underserved segments especially with consumer and SME Loans.

Callistus Obetta, the Group Executive, Technology & Services, FirstBank, said financial technology has made positive disruption in banking and other financial services; and financial institutions will do well to take advantage of Fintech.

According to him, FirstBank is taking giant strides in the digital space. “In a short time, we have become the foremost financial inclusion solution provider with over 36,000 agents in all states of the federation. We have done over N2 trillion in transaction value from inception to date.

“The FirstBank Agent Banking Network is currently doing over N8 Billion daily. This is helping us reduce poverty in the country. Our Firstmobile application has become the foremost mobile banking application in the country with over 3 million users doing over 14 million transactions monthly,” said Obetta stating that FirstBank has been able to achieve this feat due to its ability to embrace technology.

However, Obetta urged participants at the Fintech summit to leverage on the insights shared by speakers. “We will continue to adopt the best technology and collaborate with the best partners to deliver value to our customers,” Obetta stated.

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Over 60 frontline workers benefit from Health Workers Fund



Sterling Bank

The N1 billion Health Workers Fund set up to support frontline health workers combating the COVID-19 pandemic has supported more than 60 frontline health workers since it launched in March.

Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, Chairman, Governance Board of the Fund, disclosed this in a statement issued in Lagos over the weekend. The seasoned public health expert and former Commissioner of Health in Ogun State said almost N59 million has been donated to the Health Workers’ Fund by public spirited corporate organisations and individuals.

“We are very proud of our strides so far, and are excited by the opportunity to provide succor to frontline health workers in the country. More than 60 health care workers from different parts of the country have been paid tokens in appreciation of their service at this critical time. We want them to be motivated when they walk into COVID-19 Isolation centres because some of their basic needs are sorted.


“With the rising cases of infections daily, we urge Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to donate now in support of frontline health workers wherever they are in the country. They are doing whatever it takes to protect us. We can all play a part in empowering and motivating to function effectively on the job”, Dr Olaokun Soyinka appeals.


He called on public-spirited Nigerians to contribute their quota by visiting to make donations. Leading the donor’s chart, Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, supported the N1 billion Health Workers’ Fund with N25 million.

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that it has reinforced its technology infrastructure to enable anyone in the country open a FirstBank account through their mobile phones, without visiting any of its branches nationwide.


The investment in the Bank’s mobile banking infrastructure is in furtherance of the need to deepen financial inclusion in the country, enabling account opening to be carried out on its *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile (self-service telephone banking), its website – – as well as the Bank’s staff, through the Direct Sales Executive (DSE) application installed on their mobile phone, ATMs and the bank’s over 55,000 FirstMonie Agents spread across the country. Opening an account with FirstBank through any of these means is seamless, convenient, fast, and user-friendly.


The DSE App is an end to end encrypted mobile application installed on the phone(s) of FirstBank staff which enables them to open an account for to-be customers. Upon the completion of the account opening process via the DSE App, the customer is notified of his or her account number through a text message on the mobile phone used to register the account.


With FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking, various banking activities are carried out on a mobile phone – across the four major GSM network operators in the country – without the use of the internet. To open an account via this means, dial *894# then select ‘open an account’ to provide the information required or by simply dialling *894*0#. The Bank currently has over 9.5 million of its nearly 20 million customers on its USSD banking platform.


The FirstMonie Agent Banking is an agent banking initiative from the bank that is designed to take banking closer to people, thereby bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked. FirstMonie is a channel through which various banking activities like FirstBank account opening, funds transfer, bill payments, data and call credit recharge services, amongst others are carried out. The Agent Banking initiative has also contributed to reducing poverty, being responsible for the indirect employment of over 150,000 people across the country.



According to Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “beyond opening an account in any of our over 700 branches, we are delighted with the investments at reinventing our business processes over the years, especially with the use of technology. This has been critical to staying relevant in the industry for over 126 years and being the financial partner of the first choice to all our customers and Nigerians, irrespective of where they are.”


Creating these virtual ways of opening a bank account with us – thus; the staff DSE App, ATMs, FirstMonie Agents, *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile and our website – reinforces our resolve to ensure that more Nigerians and residents have access to banking, especially through our state of the art financial services and we remain resolute to being the key to banking, enabling business and financial activities that would continue to propel the country’s economic growth and development.

About FirstBank

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 55,000 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.

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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 9.5million people on its USSD banking service through the nationally renowned *894# banking service and over 3.5 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.

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Its Official: Manchester United Finally Seal Odion Ighalo’s Loan Extension Deal



Manchester United

Manchester United has finally sealed a loan extension deal for striker Odion Ighalo.

Recall that Ighalo’s six months loan deal with the UK-based expired May 31.


However, with a ban on international footballers returning to the country till October, United sought a loan extension with Ighalo’s parent club, Shanghai Shenhua.

The deal will expire in January 31, 2021.

In a statement, the club said: 

“Manchester United have reached agreement with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua to extend the loan deal for Odion Ighalo.

“The Nigerian striker’s stay was initially due to end on 31 May but he will now remain with the Reds until 31 January 2021, enabling him to build on an impressive start to life with the club he supported as a boy.

“Ighalo’s tally of four goals in eight appearances so far includes at least one strike in each of his three starts – against Club Brugge, Derby County (2) and LASK.

“Today’s confirmation is a timely boost for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he continues to prepare his squad for this month’s resumption of competitive football.”

“They [Shanghai Greenland Shenhua] have been great towards us, allowing him to play for his dream club,” Solskjaer said.

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“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish what he started and win a trophy with us.”

Ighalo scored four times in eight appearances in all competitions before the suspension of the Premier League.


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