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FirstBank Driving Dollar Remittance, Economic Growth Via IMTOS

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

For centuries, there have been heated debates over the sources of economic growth in developing economies and why some countries reflect strong economic growth compared to others.

The hypotheses have often centered around crude oil, agriculture, revenues, private capital, bubbling stock market, stable security, low unemployment rate, high standard of living amongst others. But in recent times, one factor that has been added to this list is diaspora remittances as it is one of the major international financial resources, which sometimes exceed the flows of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Remittances promote economic growth by increasing household income and increasing income creates the opportunity to boost consumer spending, accumulation of assets, promotion of self-employment, and investment in small business.

Data from the World Bank in 2014 indicates that global remittances stood at $430 billion dollars in 2011 and was 0.31 percent of global GDP in 2009. The impact of remittances on any economy is more profound in developing countries because they receive $307.1 billion of the total N416 billion inward remittances, amounting to about 74 percent.

Remittances also account for about 27 percent of the GDP of developing countries. According to the World Bank, remittances flows to the developing world have reached $414 billion in 2013 (up 6.3 percent over 2012), and are now, behind the foreign direct investment, the second-largest source of external financial flows to developing countries.

Daily Sun investigations reveal that the enormous upward movement in remittances payments may be attributed largely to two factors, namely; immigration between developing and developed countries which increased dramatically in the past 20 years and decline in transaction costs as technological improvements have allowed for faster, lower-cost mechanisms for the international transfer of payments between individuals.

This means that it is different from other external capital inflows like foreign direct investment, foreign loans and aids due to its stable nature. Little wonder why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled a new policy in 2020 that granted unfettered access to forex from the diaspora and other money transfer remittances like Western Union and MoneyGram.

The bank also clarified transactions that are eligible under the policy in line with global best practices. The policy allows beneficiaries of diaspora remittances through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) to henceforth receive such inflows in the original foreign currency through designated bank of their choice. It explained that the new regulation was part of efforts to liberalise, simplify and improve receipt and administration of diaspora remittances into Nigeria.

Under the new policy, recipients of remittances may have the option of receiving such funds in foreign currency cash (US Dollars) or into their ordinary domiciliary account.

“These changes are necessary to deepen the foreign exchange market, provide more liquidity and create more transparency in the administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria,” the apex bank stated.

It explained that the changes would help finance a future stream of investment opportunities for Nigerians in the Diaspora, while also guaranteeing that the recipients of remittances would receive a market-reflective exchange rate for their inflows.

Backed by these words, several commercial banks swung into action to tap into this virgin zone by introducing a variety of offers that yield fruits as more remittances started coming in.

However, the CBN in March 2021, in a bid to encourage more inflows, introduced a new incentive tagged “Naira 4 Dollar Scheme”. In a circular signed by Saleh Jibrin, CBN ‘s Director, Trade and Exchange Department, said, the scheme would allow all recipients of diaspora remittances to be paid N5 for everyone dollar received.

This explains why First Bank of Nigeria Limited chose to expand diaspora remittances inflow into the country by increasing its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) targeted at easing accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner.

Before then, it was on record that FirstBank has maintained a long-standing partnership with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The Bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs including Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflows into the country, thus putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the bank’s 750 branches, especially in this Yuletide season.

For potential customers without an existing domiciliary account, can have their dollar account automatically created for their remittances and can also receive inflow directly into their account through Western Union.  In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, and FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Gbenga Shobo said, “At First Bank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are across the world.”

Having been at the forefront of pioneering international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago, it is safe to say the bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market.

With its total principal standing at N100 billion and over one million customers to service in 2020, FirstBank is providing prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand, a credible financial partner, thus promoting economic growth and development.

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Banking Sector

Foreign Exchange: First Bank to Discontinue Dollar Transactions on Naira Card

First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022

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First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022. 

In a recent email that First Bank sent to its customers, the bank stated customers will no longer be able to perform international transactions on First Bank Naira credit card, virtual card and visa prepaid card. 

The message read, “Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on 30 September 2022,” First Bank said. 

The message added that customers can only use their multicurrency and other permitted cards to make international transactions. 

“Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000.” The statement concluded.

It could be recalled that in July 2022, Standard Chartered Bank also suspended international transactions on its naira visa debit card. 

Other banks that have suspended international transactions on naira cards include Flutterwave, Eversend and other financial technology platforms.

Investors King had earlier reported that Nigerian banks have reduced international transactions to $20 on Naira cards due to the ongoing foreign exchange scarcity in Nigeria.

The reduction started in 2020 from $500 to $100 in 2021. In March 2022, many of the financial institutions subsequently reduced international transactions on naira cards to $20. 

At the 364th Bankers Committee Meeting in Abuja in 2021, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed that the apex bank will stop supplying foreign currency to Deposit Money Bank (DMBs) otherwise known as commercial banks by the end of the year.  He, therefore, urges them to source for their foreign exchange from export proceeds.

 

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Banking Sector

Islamic Finance: Move Towards Open Banking Set to Accelerate

Leading Islamic finance professionals expect the sector to move rapidly towards greater use of open banking over the next three years.

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New research shows that most leading Islamic finance professionals expect the sector to move rapidly towards greater use of open banking over the next three years.

In the research conducted to support the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2022 (GIFF2022), 90 per cent of Islamic finance professionals believe the adoption of open banking by financial institutions, Governments, fintechs and other stakeholders will increase by 2025, with nearly two out of five (38 per cent) expecting a dramatic rise in adoption.

Growth of open banking in Islamic finance will partly be driven by more and better regulations, the study also found. Almost a third (32 per cent) of Islamic finance professionals who were questioned predicted a dramatic increase in regulation, with another 59 per cent forecasting a slight increase in regulation.

The study found that Islamic finance professionals working across a wide range of sectors believe open banking will mean greater use of fintech innovations in Islamic finance such as Waqf, Zakat and Sadaqah. More than half (62 per cent) questioned, strongly agree open APIs will enable the platforms to access customer accounts in Islamic finance, with the result that customers can make contributions through the platforms. Another 30 per cent slightly agree.

Islamic finance professionals believe that the key benefit of open banking in the Islamic finance industry is to meet strong customer demand and offer more choice with the ability of banks to offer more innovative products. Other benefits include being able to manage the escalating costs of launching new digital services at scale and developing strategies to monetise customer data to generate new revenue streams. The growth of open banking will also enable institutions to meet regulatory requirements to provide higher transparency for reporting data.

Chief Executive Officer of Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia said,Increased adoption of open banking in Islamic finance brings a wide range of benefits to the sector and research shows Islamic finance professionals are expecting rapid developments in the sector over the next three years. There is a clear need for more and better regulation around open banking and open finance in Islamic finance, and that is recognised by Islamic finance professionals who are expecting strong progress.”

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Banking Sector

First Bank CEO, Adesola Adeduntan Ranked First on Nigeria Banks CEOs Media Performance Report

Adesola Adeduntan topped the Nigerian Banks’ Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) media performance report for August. 

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Dr. Adesola Adeduntan - FirstBank CEO - Investors King

It is another testimony to the sterling performance and media engagement of the First Bank helmsman, Adesola Adeduntan as he was ranked top in the Nigerian Banks CEOs Media Performance Report for August. 

An independent analysis of the media performance and prominence of Nigeria Commercial Banks CEOs placed Adesola Adeduntan ahead of Yemisi Edun of FCMB, Ademola Adebisi of Wema Bank and Abubakar Suleiman of Sterling Bank. 

According to the analysis which was carried out by MATE+, using various data gathering and PR Metrics, the prominence of the bank CEOs was tracked both in the online and print media. 

FirstbankThe Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria, Adesola Adeduntan sits at the top of the leaderboard with a 44% media share. 

He was followed by Yemisi Edun of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) with 23%, while Ademola Adebisi of Wema Bank and Abubakar Sulieman of Sterling Bank completed the chart with 19% and 14% respectively.

In June, First Bank also topped the list of Nigerian Banks in the media while it was also ranked first in promotional media content in May. 

Meanwhile, the report also tracked the media prominence of the CEOs in the Nigeria Insurance sector. 

The performance report revealed that the MD of AIICO Insurance, Babatunde Fajemirokun had the most media exposure with 45%.

He was followed by Eddie Efekoha of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance with 17%, Kunle Ahmed of AXA Mansard Insurance with 14% and Tunde Hassan- Odukale of Leadway Assurance with 11% media exposure.

Investors King could recall that Mr. Adesola Adeduntan was appointed as the CEO of First Bank of Nigeria by the central bank in April 2021 to stabilise the bank after a brief controversy. 

Adeduntan has since been repositioning the bank. It is not a surprise that First Bank has now generated enough public interest which includes the purchase of a majority stake in the bank by one of the foremost Nigerian billionaires, Femi Otedola.

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