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Raising the Bar in Digital Banking

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  • Raising the Bar in Digital Banking

As part of efforts to improve its digital banking operation, FirstBank Nigeria Limited recently launched the What Chat Banking platform, writes Ugo Aliogo

“We have optimised our digital banking offerings to ensure ease of banking and convenience; our FirstMobile app, Firstonline, FirstMonie and USSD banking are some of the channels we have put in place to make this happen.

“FirstBank Chat Banking on Whatsapp is our latest addition. We have gone Live with this product and I am pleased to formally introduce this product to our media partners today.”

When the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, gave the above statement, he was not trying to chronicle an episode in movie, but to tell the success story of his financial institutions in the country in the digital banking space.

The excerpt was part of his presentation during the WhatsApp Chat Banking Launch in Lagos recently.

The WhatsApp chat banking platform is a recent innovation introduced by the bank to drive excellent financial services to their esteemed customers.

Adeduntan, explained that the FirstBank chat banking on whatsApp is another significant milestone in the bank’s mission to provide convenient and fast payment solutions to their customers.

He said: “FirstBank Chat Banking on WhatsApp is another significant milestone in our mission to provide convenient and fast payment solutions to our customers.

“It is one of the ways FirstBank puts You First and enables you stay connected with your contacts, loved ones, friends and finances all on the GO whilst you chat with them because at FirstBank we are driven to bolster relationships on all fronts anywhere and anytime.”

The FirstBank boss further noted that the WhatsApp platform is one of the ways the bank is putting the customer first.

He also said the platform enables the customer to stay connected with your contacts, loved ones, friends and finances all on the go, adding that whilst the customer chats with their contacts, “because at FirstBank we are driven to bolster relationships on all fronts anywhere and anytime.”

Adeduntan added that it was a new channel for customers to access their services; a convenient way to make payment and an easy-to-use banking application.

He expressed confidence that banking with FirstBank on WhatsApp is secure, accessible and convenient, noting that customers can carry out basic banking transactions such as inter and intra bank funds transfer, pay bills, buy airtime, buy data and check your account balance on your WhatsApp platform.

According to him, “You will be able to generate a WhatsApp banking PIN and all your transaction authentications will be done using a safe link, thereby ensuring the security of your banking details.

“What is our rationale for doing this? We will be 125 years celebration anniversary of our bank. There is something unique about our institution. It is the ability to reinvent ourselves continuously, as the market in which we operate also continuous to evolve.

“You will recall that not only are we the oldest bank, we are the longest existing cooperated entity. Engrained in the DNA of our bank, the ability to rapidly reinvent ourselves and ensure that as far the developments in the market are concerned, we are in the forefront of those changes.

“Since the advent of digital technology, we have been playing a very pivotal role in this space. Today, I state with a lot of pride our achievement when it comes to the USSD Code, where we currently have 6.3 million customers and we are clearly number.

“When you look at the volume of businesses that we process on our USSD platforms, it is second to none. Not only do we have customers, we also have the fund and capital. When I look at the breakthrough achievements we have made in the area of agency banking, it is also second to none.

“This is an area where a lot of banks in the country have attempted to make headway, but has not been successful, as speak today, First Bank agents are spread all over the country, we are in 754 local Government Area, which is almost 90 percent of the 774 Local Government Areas. The only Local Government Areas where we are not available are places where they have security issues.

“Again, for us at First Bank, staying at the cutting edge of innovation and technology are synonymous with our DNA. First bank digital lab is integral part of our business and we will give all the resources that is needed to strive. This is the first and among the many innovative products that we are working on.

“Our strategic is that on a regular basis, there will be new things that we will be introducing to the market that will keep our customers very happy. The entire customer journey ensures that the quality of experience whenever the customers come in contact with us is excellent. We stand here and commit to exceeding our customers’ expectations from time.

In his remarks, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Francis Shobo, said there are various segments of the market, adding that for convenience, it was important to focus on the youths, who are on WhatsApp always.

He stated that they are consistently looking for what their customers are doing and the channel that are most convenient for them to do transaction.

“You don’t want them to leave one channel and go to another channel; you want to encourage them to use the channel they are used to start doing banking transaction. We are consistently looking for what our customers are doing and the channel that are most convenient for them to do transaction,” he noted.

Also speaking, the Team Lead Product Design, FirstBank Digital Lab, Munachi Duru, said with WhatsApp platform, customers would be able to make couple of transactions, check their balance, buy airtime, send to both first bank and non-first bank accounts, and buy data.

He also noted that they have also introduced a much secured process for customer’s accounts for digital transactions by ensuring that customers’ pin are entered secured securely that way, “the pin is not exposed to anyone who may pick up your phone.”

Duru explained that what the bank has done using the platform is that instead of going through the lists of all the banks, all the customer needs to do is to enter their account number, select the bank they are transferring, select the amount transferring and then click on the link to authenticate the process.

According to Duru: “With the WhatsApp platform, you will be able to make couple of transactions, check your balance, buy airtime, send to both first bank and non-first bank accounts, and buy data.

“We have also introduced a much secured process for our accounts for digital transactions by ensuring that your pin is entered secured securely that way, the pin is not exposed to anyone who may pick up your phone. “What we have done here is that instead of going through the lists of all the banks, all you need to do is to enter the account number, select the bank you are transferring, select the amount you are transferring and then click on the link to authenticate the process.”

From the event, it was learnt that the WhatsApp being the most used and informed messenger platform in the country, informed the bank’s decision to invest it to drive digital banking.

The platform has helped the bank to take that banking businesses down to the place where the customers are having discussion about the money. The bank is concerned about the security of customers as a result; the platform is vested in the security of customers to ensure that the transactions, starting from on-boarding process is secured end to end.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Transcorp Hotels Expand into Marketplace, Launches Aura to Connect People, Hoteliers, Others

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Transcorp Hotels Plc, on Thursday, announced it has launched a new digital platform, Aura, through which people can book accommodation, restaurants and experiences.

Aura, Transcorp’s first in the alternative accommodation segment, is part of the company’s asset-light model, leveraging technology to deliver true hospitality, exciting experiences, and drive shareholder value.

It’s a new dawn in the hospitality industry! I am thrilled to introduce you to Aura by Transcorp, the digital platform we are using to connect people to quality accommodation, great food, and awesome experiences,” Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc. Dupe Olusola said.

For more than 30 years, Transcorp Hotels Plc has been at the forefront of creating a superior guest experience at our locations. Today, our commitment to innovation has offered us an opportunity to extend this beyond the hotel premises,” Olusola added.

The launch of Aura by Transcorp is one of the most significant developments in the company’s history as it seeks to transform the travel and tourism industry in Africa by focusing on three important components of travel, whether for leisure or business — where you stay, what you eat and how you spend your time. With its people-driven hospitality model, Aura is set to revolutionise travel and help remind Africans of our deep history of hospitality.

Speaking on the launch of Aura, Obong Idiong, Chief Executive Officer at Africa Prudential Plc, Aura’s technology partners, expressed his excitement. “Finding the right accommodation when you travel can be incredibly complex. Options available for the right prices are often limited, and travellers sometimes end up with accommodation that taints the travel experience. Transcorp Hotels Plc has been able to fix that with Aura and we are proud to be associated with them.”

To ensure topnotch user experience, we built a solution to drive digital transformation through the adoption of shared living spaces for the Aura business. With an advanced search algorithm powered by artificial intelligence, Aura determines the relevance of locations taking into consideration, the customers’ preferences and requirements to meet them at the point of their needs,” Idiong added.

Priscilla Adeboye, a travel enthusiast and early adopter of Aura, said the global pandemic has pushed international travel down her list. “But I still want to be able to take some time off work or spend a weekend away from home with the family. I have found incredible homes on Aura that meet my need for space and privacy.

 

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Siemens Energy Nigeria Appoints Seun Suleiman as Managing Director

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Seun Suleiman is the New Managing Director of Siemens Energy Nigeria

Mr. Seun Suleiman is the new managing director of Siemens Energy Nigeria, the company announced on Wednesday.

According to the statement released by the energy company, Suleiman will be responsible for the entire management of operations and decisions on business policies and corporate strategy.

Commenting on his appointment, Suleiman said, “It is an absolute honor to lead the business for Siemens Energy Nigeria and I look forward to delivering on the brand’s promise of excellence.

Suleiman joined Siemens Energy in 2014, bringing over 15 years’ experience and deep expertise in the private sector across Europe and West Africa.

The statement said, “He is an accomplished business strategist and success-driven leader with strong business acumen. Suleiman has also been a core member of the executive management team at Siemens Energy serving in roles as Sales Director West Africa – Service Distributed Generation Oil & Gas and Vice President Service & Digital.

“Prior to this, he also held various functional and managerial positions with ABB Ltd UK, ABBNG Nigeria, Schneider Electric Nigeria and Dresser-Rand Nigeria Ltd.

It added that Suleiman was experienced in establishing operational excellence with specific competence in the power, oil and gas sectors.

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

The Federal Government on Monday said the Osubi Airport in Warri has been reopened for daylight operations.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, disclosed this in a tweet.

The airport was closed in February 2020 over mismanagement and debt allegation involving aviation service providers and airport management.

However, Oberuakpefe Afe, a lawmaker representing Okpe/Sapeie/vaie federal constituency, recently moved a motion for the Federal Government through the ministry of aviation and relevant authorities to reopen the airport for flight operations.

On Monday, Hadi Siriki said “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.

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