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REINVENTING FIRSTBANK THROUGH CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION

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Financial Inclusion

For a financial institution of FirsBank’s pedigree, it is not uncommon for its top managers to be creative and constantly innovative.

Indeed, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, attributes the Bank’s consistent growth in the past 125 years to innovation and reinvention of its products and services aimed at satisfying customers’ needs and aspirations.

An elated Adeduntan recently said the Bank was driven by the desire to put its customers and stakeholders at the heart of its business.

“For over 125 years of our existence, we have focused on providing excellent financial services to meet the needs of our esteemed customers.

“We continue to improve on our products and also create new ones that suit their specific financial needs.

“The reason why we have been successful is our ability to invent and reinvent ourselves. You can only be successful like that when you put your customer at the centerpiece of all your actions. That is the secret of our success,” said Adeduntan.

According to him, the Bank leverages Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to improve overall service delivery levels across all key infrastructure parameters: speed, performance, availability, security, and scalability.

“This will enable us to deliver great customer experiences, take advantage of new digital technologies to reduce costs, improve quality, ensure transparency, and create value. We are building the next-generation digital bank.

“It is in our DNA to continuously transform and project for the future by reinventing ourselves, re-engineering and creating value for our customers by rethinking next-generation solutions ahead of our peers in the industry.

“We are positioned to always put our customers’ current and future needs at the core of our business,” Adeduntan stated emphatically.

He noted that the Bank was also transforming the way it communicated and executed its corporate strategy through rethinking the approach to implementing projects, collaborating, measuring the outcomes and realising value from all of its transformation investments.

“The transformation programme is ongoing, and a lot of employees are already fully involved at various levels, leading and contributing to these transformation initiatives,” Adeduntan added.

He highlighted some of the laudable achievements of the Bank to include the first bank to launch the cash deposit ATM in Nigeria in 2011, the second bank in Africa and the first in Nigeria to issue 10 million cards.

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Adeduntan said the Bank was also recognised by Interswitch as the first financial institution in Nigeria to achieve 100 million sustained monthly transactions in electronic payment in December 2015 and in May 2016, respectively.

He explained that the Bank, in line with its financial banking drive, instituted agent banking with over 27,000 agencies – so far achieved – across the country to reach the unbanked.

According to him, the Bank in 2008, was the first Nigerian bank and first quoted company in the country to hit two trillion naira market capitalisation.

Mr. Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank’s Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, said, during the Bank’s launch of Chat Banking on WhatsApp recently, FirstBank would continue to offer endearing services to its customers.

To him, creativity and innovation are not new to FirstBank, and the twin virtue has fueled the Bank’s foray abroad.

He said in furtherance with the Bank’s innovation drive, it acquired a new subsidiary, Banque International de Credit (BIC), one of the leading banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2011.

Similarly, in November 2013, it acquired ICB in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Guinea, and in 2014, the Bank added ICB in Senegal to its prized acquisitions.

The Bank, which changed its name from BBWA to Bank of West Africa (BWA) in 1957 also adopted the name, Standard Bank of West Africa in 1966, following its merger with Standard Bank, United Kingdom.

Incorporated in 1969 as Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited, the first name change occurred in 1979 and again in 1991 to First Bank of Nigeria Limited and First Bank of Nigeria Plc, respectively.

In 2012, the Bank changed its name again to First Bank of Nigeria Limited as part of a restructuring resulting in FBN Holdings Plc, having detached its commercial business from other businesses in the FirstBank Group, in compliance with the new regulation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

As the global operating environment evolves, FirstBank has kept pace, responding to the dynamic needs of its customers, investors, regulators, host communities, employees and other stakeholders.

Through a balanced approach to plan execution, FirstBank has consolidated its industry leadership by maintaining a trans-generational appeal.

Thus, the Bank has continuously boosted its customer base, which cuts across all segments in terms of size, structure, and sectors.

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Leveraging experience spanning over a century of dependable and appealing services, FirstBank has continued to build relationships and alliances with key sectors of the economy that have served as strategic building blocks for the well-being, growth, and development of the country.

By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma (NAN).

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading banking services solutions provider in Nigeria for 125 years. With some 15 million customer accounts, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services with over 750 business locations. 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.

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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Ibukun Awosika’s Other Love

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Ibukun

 

Love for children naturally come with women. This is a fact.

 

However, there are women whose affection for children is exceptional and unexplainable.

 

Respected Ibukun Awosika, the Chairman of First Bank Nigeria and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Center Group is such a woman.

 

A success story in several business fronts, the woman has found a way of effectively finding time for her other love, children.

 

Renowned for her women conferences, her undying love for children has also drawn her into the board of some primary schools. 

 

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FIRST BANK: TOWARDS REVIVING NIGERIA’S TEXTILE INDUSTRY

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By Chinyere Joel- Nwokeoma (NAN)

For many years, until the early 1980s, the Nigerian textile industry was the highest employer of labour, after the public sector. Sadly, the industry is in dire straits battling for survival in recent times.

Among the challenges that confronted the sector were policy inconsistency leading to closure of many textile companies occasioned by poor power supply, smuggling, poor access to finance and high operating cost, among others.

It is unarguable that the closure of many textile companies contributed to the rise in the country’s high unemployment rate, rising insecurity and other social vices.

It is against this backdrop that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, recently lamented the country’s descent from being a textile giant to a mediocre player in the world economy.

Emefiele said Nigeria used to be home to Africa’s largest textile industry in the 1970s and early 1980s with the employment of over 450,000 people.

“The textile industry at that time was the largest employer of labour in Nigeria after the public sector, contributing over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector.

“The industry was supported by the production of cotton by 600,000 local farmers across 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states.

“This sector supported the clothing needs of the Nigerian populace, as our markets were filled with locally produced textiles from companies such as the United Textiles in Kaduna, Supertex Limited, Afprint, Texlon, Enpee and Aswani Mills, among others.

“In addition, the cotton growing sector has gone dead, thereby depriving thousands of smallholder farmers the chance to earn a living.

Furthermore, a large proportion of our clothing materials today are imported from China and countries in Europe,” Emeifele stated.

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It is against this background that First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, in line with its celebratory 125th anniversary , themed, “Woven into the Fabric of Society”, on Oct. 2 commemorated the country’s independence with a locally made textile attire.

Specifically, the bank set aside Oct. 2 to have all staff wear a locally made textile attire adorned in its 125 anniversary logo and over 18,000 staff across the bank and FBN Holdings participated.

The bank in a statement attributed the initiative to moves to celebrate the country’s 59th Independence anniversary and at the same time support the textile industry.

“The native attire fashion statement by FirstBank and the FBN Holdings Group is rooted in our trust in the diverse opportunities the textile industry provides.

“And indeed its contribution to national growth and development, vis-à-vis the job opportunities, youth and women empowerment, as well as the entrepreneurship driven influence its creates cannot be overemphasised.

“The bank is indeed honored to have been woven into the Fabric of Society in the last 125 years and is committed to keep promoting activities and opportunities that contribute to the growth of the textile industry.” it added.

Apart from the above intitative, FirstBank also provide access to market and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Small Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) of the fashion industry with an initiative tagged Fashion Souk.

The bank partners with Eventful Nigeria Ltd with Fashion Souk, a platform that creates an opportunity for players in the fashion industry to exhibit and sell their wares to the thousands of event participants.

Textile Industry

FirstBank Chairman, Ibukun Awosika The Octopus News

The bank also in a bid to ensure sustainability of the industry recently introduced fashion design loan specifically designed to offer financial support to the participants in the textile industry.

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The bank’s fashion design loan with a single obligor limit of up to two million naira is targeted at tailors, dressmakers and traders in clothing accessories with no tangible collateral required.

Textile Industry

CEO, FirstBank, Adesola Adeduntan

To be eligible for the loan, applicants must have been in line of business for a minimum of three years.

Commenting on the development, Mr Moses Igbrude,  Publicity Secretary,  Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), described the initiative as a wonderful concept.

“I hope those in the local textiles value chain will key into it and take advantage of this initiative.

“FirstBank should also ensure that the concept is properly communicated to the larger audience to ensure more patronage of locally made textile,” Igbrude said.

He noted that the Federal Government on its part should encourage institutions that are supporting our local industries by way tax incentives.

Also speaking, Mr Shehu Mikail, National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, commended the bank’s support for local fabric and the textile industry.

Mikail said that the initiative would boost the morale of interested bodies who would like to venture into local fabric in promoting our culture to the world.

He said that the bank should focus on the fashion designers who would be ready to promote Nigerian mode of dressing to meet the world class in fashion design.

“This will help in promoting Made in Nigeria fabric and it will also encourage an interested investor to venture into textile industry business and this will tranform our economy,” Mikail stated. (NAN)

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UBA Honours Kola Jamodu after 12 Years of Service; Assures of Solid Governance Processes

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Kola Jamodu

 

Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has assured investors and shareholders of her continuous adherence to solid corporate governance processes as the bank honoured its ex-director, Chief Kola Jamodu.

In a glitzy cocktail event and dinner in his honour at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, on Thursday, Jamodu was celebrated for his service on the bank’s board for 12 years as a non-Executive director. Accolades were poured on him, for his remarkable contributions to the group over the period that have helped solidify the bank’s footprints in its many countries of operations. 

Speaking at the event, UBA’s Group Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu, commended Jamodu’s efforts at contributing towards the strong corporate governance policies which UBA currently boasts of.

He said, “Chief Jamodu is a great Nigerian, a respected man and a great non-executive director to UBA. He has been wonderful and instrumental to today’s current standing of UBA across our 20 presence countries in Africa as well as in America, United Kingdom and in Paris. He was on the board of UBA for 12 years, and in line with corporate practices, which says at the end of 12 years, you retire from the board, he is retiring and we are here to celebrate his contribution to the bank.”

While reeling off some of Jamodu’s many achievements, Elumelu said, “He has been extremely supportive to UBA; he served as Chairman of Board Risk Committee, and he has all the experience – a chartered accountant, extremely astute, chairman of Nigerian Breweries, chairman of PZ, chairman of Nutricima; former minister of industry; a great tax expert, financial and management expert and UBA has been extremely lucky to have him on our board for 12 years. So to him and his family, we say thank you for all the support, for the teachings, for being generous with knowledge and for asking those hard questions that made us solidify our governance processes here at UBA.”

On his part, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, explained in fine details the impact that Jamodu’s experience has had on the bank, adding that he was able to help UBA navigate through some challenges that have now made the bank come out even stronger.

He said, “Chief Kola Jamodu is a very astute financial manager with diverse experience; he is someone that has helped us as managers to look into areas that we may not have looked into. During his time, he helped us to navigate critical issues, and now UBA America is a bank on its own as is UBA UK. He was always asking the right questions which others would have missed, and this is what helped us be where we are today. He started with us when we had just a few countries of operation and now today, UBA is operating in 23  countries. Kudos to Jamodu, he will be missed.”

Jamodu, who attended the event with his beautiful wife Funmilayo, thanked the bank for the opportunity given to him to contribute to the growth of the UBA Group, adding that as a board member one should be able to have an impact in the way things are being done, in governance principles and much more.

Speaking on his most memorable achievements on the board, he said, “I am very happy today that loan loss provisioning in UBA is one of the lowest because of the way we have handled those issues. My door is quite open and I will continue to offer what I can to ensure that this bank which I am still very much a part of continues to flourish.  My advice to the board, is that they should continue to ensure good succession planning which is very important.”

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