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The First Bank in Nigeria: Focus on First Bank of Nigeria Limited

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First Bank Of Nigeria

The First Bank in Nigeria

When discussing banks in Nigeria, it is virtually impossible to avoid mentioning the banking giant that is First Bank of Nigeria Limited, known as First Bank. It was the very first bank to be established in Nigeria. The bank is a force to be reckoned with across Nigeria, and has a solid reputation among citizens and residents of the country.

History of First Bank of Nigeria

The Bank was initially founded in 1894, by Sir Alfred Jones who was a shipping tycoon from Liverpool, England. The Bank had its first head office in Liverpool, but started business on a medium scale in Lagos, Nigeria under the name Bank of British West Africa (BBWA).

In 1912, the Bank obtained its first competitor, the Bank of Nigeria (previously known as the Anglo-African Bank) which was established by the Royal Niger Company in 1899. In 1957, the Bank of British West Africa (BBWA) became the Bank of West Africa (BWA). In 1966, the Bank underwent another name change after its merger with Standard Bank of the UK, adopting the name Standard Bank of West Africa Limited. In 1969, the Bank was also incorporated locally as the Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited, in accordance to the Companies Decree of 1968.

There were more changes to the name of the Bank in 1979 and 1991, with the 1979 change seeing the name turn to First Bank of Nigeria Limited and the 1991 change seeing the name become First Bank of Nigeria Plc. In 2012, the Bank went ahead to change its name once again to FirstBank of Nigeria Limited as part of a restructuring process which resulted in FBN Holdings Plc, after detaching its commercial business from other businesses in the FirstBank Group, in line with the new regulation established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

In December 2012, First Bank had great leaps. It had 1.3 million shareholders around the world, was quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as one of the most capitalized companies, and also possessed an unlisted Global Depository Receipt (GDR) programme, all of which were transferred to the Bank’s Holding Company, FBN Holdings in December 2012.

The Growth and Operation of First Bank

The Bank built on its solid foundation and has consistently broken new ground in the local financial sector for over 120 years. FirstBank is currently present in the United Kingdom and France through its subsidiary, FBN Bank Limited with branches in the popular cities of London and Paris; and in Beijing with its Representative Offices there. In October 2011, the Bank purchased a new subsidiary, Banque International de Credit (BIC) which was one of the top banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In November 2013, the Bank went on to acquire ICB in countries like Sierra Leone, Ghana, Guinea and The Gambia before acquiring ICB in Senegal in 2014.

These acquisitions represented major landmarks in the Bank’s plan to grow its footprints in Sub-Saharan Africa, and all the African subsidiaries now carry the FBN Bank brand.

As the operating environment continues to evolve around the world, FirstBank keeps up with these changes as it continues to respond to the specific needs of its customers, investors, regulators, host communities, employees and other stakeholders. Through a balanced take on plan execution, the Bank has strengthened its leadership of the financial industry by maintaining an appeal which cuts across generations. This has made the Bank to further bolster its customer base which spans across different segments in terms of sectors, structure and size.

Through the usage of experience which spans across more than one hundred years of reliable service, FirstBank builds relationships and partnerships with vital sectors of the country’s economy which have been strategic building blocks for the growth, development and overall well-being of the country. With the Bank’s large asset base and wide branch network coupled with consistent reinvention, FirstBank is Nigeria’s strongest banking franchise, maintaining market leadership in all areas of the country’s financial services industry.

The Bank has more than 750 business locations across Nigeria, all of which operate online and in real time, the Bank possesses one of the biggest domestic sales networks in the country. As a leader of the market in the financial services sector, FirstBank led initiatives in international money transfer as well as electronic banking in the country, serving well over 14 million customer accounts.

The Bank’s strategy has been focused on restructuring the business to take proper advantage of growth opportunities within the financial services industry, following business line expansion across strategic business units, continuously implementing a systematic international expansion plan, and building synergies across the FirstBank Group.

In terms of international expansion, the Bank’s focus is the financial services markets in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa.

Important Milestones of First Bank

  • 1894 – Incorporated and Headquartered in Marina, Lagos as the Bank of British West Africa (BBWA)
  • 1912 – The second branch in Nigeria was opened by King Jaja of Opobo in Calabar, with a branch also opened in Zaria as the first branch in the northern part of the country
  • 1947 – BBWA gave the first long-term loan to the colonial government at the time
  • 1955 – Partnered with the government to expand railway lines
  • 1957 – Became the Bank of West Africa
  • 1966 – Became Standard Bank of West Africa Limited, after a merger with the Standard Bank of the UK
  • 1969 – Became locally listed as Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited
  • 1971 – Bank’s first listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange
  • 1979 – Became the First Bank of Nigeria Limited
  • 1991 – Became First Bank of Nigeria Plc
  • 1994 – Launched the first university endowment programme in Nigeria
  • 2012 – Became a Subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc.
  • 2013 – Completed the acquisition of ICB assets in Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Ghana as part of an expansion program

Leadership of FirstBank 

Chairman – Tunde Hassan-Odukale

Tunde Hassan-Odukale is a graduate of the University of London and City University, London. He joined the board of First Bank of Nigeria Limited as a Non-Executive Director in 2011, and is currently the Managing Director of Leadway Assurance Company Limited. His management experience spans over 22 years and includes asset management, finance, life insurance operations and IT.

Managing Director/CEO – Adesola Adeduntan

Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan has been the Managing Director/CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and its Subsidiaries since January 1 2016. Before this, he was the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Bank since 2014 when he was given an appointment on the Bank’s board. He was a Director and the pioneer Chief Financial Officer/Business Manager of Africa Finance Corporation.

He has also served as a Senior Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer at Citibank Nigeria Limited, a Manager at Arthur Andersen Nigeria and a Senior Manager in the Financial Services Group of KPMG Professional Services.

Deputy Managing Director – Olugbenga Francis Shobo

Olugbenga Francis Shobo joined the board of First Bank of Nigeria Limited in 2012. He was formerly the Executive Director overseeing the Retail Banking/Public Sector businesses in the Lagos, West and South Directorate before his appointment as the Deputy Managing Director of the Bank. He is the first person to be given an appointment as the Deputy Managing Director of FirstBank in the Bank’s history which spans over 120 years.

Executive Director, Public Sector Group – Abdullahi Ibrahim

Abdullahi Ibrahim was appointed as an Executive Director at First Bank back in 2017. Prior to his appointment as Executive Director, he served as Group Executive Retail banking north from December 2012 until he was appointed as Group Executive, Technology and Services. He was the first Group Head, Manufacturing Group in the Institutional Group of the Bank.

Executive Director, Corporate Banking – Remi Oni

Remi Oni was appointed as the Executive Director, Corporate Banking in April 2016. Prior to his appointment, he was the Executive Director, Corporate & Institutional Banking for Nigeria and West Africa at Standard Chartered Bank.

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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Enriches Customers, Holds Second Draw of GAIM 5 Promo

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Fidelity Bank

Leading African financial institution, Fidelity Bank PLC, has announced the second set of millionaires in its Get Alert in Millions Season 5 promo (GAIM 5) which held recently in Victoria Island, Lagos.  

The event was witnessed by representatives of regulatory organisations which include: Ms Oyinkan Kusamotu, Senior Legal Officer, Lagos State Lotteries & Gaming Authority; Mr Tanko Mohammed, Head, Monitoring & Enforcement, Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority; Mrs Susie Onwuka, Head, Lagos Office, Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and Ms Chioma Amanoh, Lagos Office, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC).

Since the commencement of the fifth season of the promo in November 2021, the bank has enriched over 460 customers with various cash prizes. So far, 10 lucky customers have been rewarded with a million naira each. This month, Fidelity Bank has continued its tradition of rewarding loyal customers which has seen Ajoma Rachel, Stanley Sunday, Musbahu Kabiru, Usman Abdulkadir, John Uchechukwu, Oluwatayo Oladipupo, Esther Eloho, Sophia Sefera, Amarachi Sarah Anyacho, and Obi Chinelo emerge as the next set of millionaires in the promo.

Commenting on the event, Dr. Ken Okpara, Executive Director overseeing the Bank’s Lagos and Southwest Directorate, stated that, “As a bank that places our customers at the centre of everything we do, we are always looking for opportunities to help our customers grow. Two months ago, we kicked off the GAIM 5 promo to reward our customers and demonstrate our commitment to improving their lives and wellbeing. Today, we are excited at how happy we have made some of our most loyal customers. We remain committed to providing rewarding experiences and best-in-class services for our clients.”

Also speaking at the event, the Divisional Head, Product Development, Osita Ede stated that: We have earmarked the sum of N125million for total cash rewards this season which we would be giving out in weekly, monthly and grand draws till the campaign ends in July 2022. We encourage our customers to save up to increase their chance of winning and those yet to open an account to do so today. At the end of the campaign season, we want to celebrate customers who make savings second nature.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria, with about 6million customers who are serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank is known for exceptional customer service and digital innovation.

L-R: Tanko Mohammed, Head, Monitoring & Enforcement, Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority; Osita Ede, Head, Product Development, Fidelity Bank Plc; Cynthia Ogbonna, Team Lead, Brand Management, Fidelity Bank Plc; Meksley Nwagboh, Divisional Head, Brand & Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc; and Susie Onwuka, Head, Lagos Office, Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC); at the second month draw of the Get Alert in Millions Season 5 (GAIM 5) Savings Promo held in Lagos on Thursday

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Banking Sector

Parallex Bank Debuts As Newest Commercial Bank In Nigeria

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Parallex Bank

Parallex Bank, a licenced Microfinance Bank, has successfully transited to a commercial bank after 14 years of operations.

According to the bank’s chairman, Dr. Adeola Phillips, the bank is delving into the commercial banking space, to drive consumer-centric innovation that will propel the banking industry to greater heights.

The bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Olufemi Bakre, who spoke during the launch of the bank’s commercial operations, affirmed that the bank’s promise to its customers is to be an enabler of limitless banking. According to him, the vision of the bank is to be the preferred financial solution provider redefining customer experience through innovation.

The bank revealed its plan to disrupt the market and delight customers with very attractive offers. It noted that most transactions on Parallex mobile app are free but beyond that, customers will have the freedom to do much more with the app.

Parallex bank converted from Parallex Microfinance Bank (a National Microfinance Bank incorporated in 2008 as a Unit MFB) to a commercial bank duly licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to carry out commercial banking services. This is a first-of-its-kind achievement in the Nigerian banking space.

The bank noted that it is “poised to be the preferred financial solutions provider redefining customer experience through digital innovations.

“This we will achieve by leveraging the best talents and technology to deliver unparalleled value to our stakeholders. With a strong ecosystem anchored around the customer, we offer a superior product portfolio that is customer-focused and innovative, yet simple”.

With a vision to leverage the best talent and technology to deliver unparalleled value to all its stakeholders, the bank noted that it is open to working with various stake holders to amplify its impact and capability.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Rewards Customers in Transact and Win Promo

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First Bank Of Nigeria

Getting rewarded for spending money is a dream that is probably going to remain exciting for many people, but not for the Firstmonie Wallet users. In a two month Transact and Win campaign that started on November 22, 2021, First Bank of Nigeria Limited is rewarding several customers for carrying out transactions on its Firstmonie Wallet application. 

The e-wallet is useful for conveniently paying utility bills, purchasing airtime and data, transferring and receiving money, and many other digital transactions. Just for using the mobile-friendly wallet app, Customers got rewarded with mouth-watering prizes both in cash and kind. The number of transactions done on the app determines the price a user could win.

100 customers who had done 1-15 transactions through Firstmonie Wallet within the month won N10,000 cash price; 53 25kg bags of rice and 50 units of standing fans were also won by customers who carried out 16 – 30 transactions with the Firstmonie Wallet; 2 units of power generating sets, 1 unit of Air Conditioning systems and 1 unit LED Televisions went to customers who carried 31 – 50 transactions; while 2 units of iPhone 12 were won by customers who had carried out over 50 transactions on the app within the month.

Victor Nnanna Onyedikachi, a student of the University of Abuja was one of the winners of the iPhone 12, and while receiving his gift, he admitted that he did not expect to win the prize.  “I used the Firstmonie Wallet App, and just like that, I was told that I had qualified. I did not believe it until I saw it myself. I am truly grateful to FirstBank” he said.

Other winners also expressed their pleasure at being rewarded for using a completely user-friendly app. “There is no issue of service error when using it for any transaction. The service is seamless and the app is easy to use” one of them said.

The Group Executive, e-Business & Retail products, Mr Chuma Ezirim had noted that the promo was targeted at appreciating customers for their patronage; and in line with the Bank’s December-is-a-Vybe campaign. “This promo is hinged on the need to appreciate our customers for their patronage, especially as we have had an increased engagement and usages of the various services offered by our mobile-friendly wallet product,” Ezirim said when the promo was being launched.

Interestingly, the promo also includes new customers and users of the app. By simply downloading the mobile app from the play store, or using the *894# USSD string to sign up, anyone can qualify for the promo. The promo runs till January 22, 2022, so what are you waiting for as you could be the next winner of any of these fantastic prizes.

As the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has remained at the forefront of promoting digital payment in the country, and the Firstmonie Wallet is one of the channels for digital transactions.

Little wonder FirstBank was named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” and “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International.  FirstBank also bagged the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years.

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