Ahead of the yuletide season, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited had announced the expansion of its diaspora remittance network to ensure that customers and the public at large are at an advantage in receiving money from anywhere in the world, irrespective of where they are, across the globe. With the expansion, funds can be accessed from close to 200 countries. Courtesy of the Bank’s over 750 branch network, individuals in expectant of funds from abroad, remain at an edge in receiving that extra fund to add more glamour, buy that extra gift and generally celebrate the Christmas and New Year with a bold smile and in memorable ways.
FirstBank pioneered international money transfer services in Africa’s largest economy by partnering with Western Union International, the first-ever International Money Transfer Operator (IMTO) in Nigeria. This partnership ensured Nigerians evolved with global diaspora remittance practices, as the Bank introduced US Dollars Payout in 2002, an initiative that has now been adopted by many other financial institutions.
Keen on easing the challenges by many Nigerians to make instantaneous oversea payments and support their wards studying abroad with stipends, FirstBank once again reinvented itself and introduced an outbound service in 2014 spearheading an avenue to promote Person to Person (P2P) transactions such as feeding allowances to students abroad, support, payments, and do so just-in-Time on a global scale.
Since the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced the ‘CBN Naira 4 Dollar Scheme’ on March 8, 2021, FirstBank’s expanded network of International Money Transfer Operators’ include new entries like Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes and Venture Garden Group with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit being amongst its already existing IMTOs. Interestingly, recent investigations revealed that efforts are underway by FirstBank to have more IMTOs onboarded to provide seamless service to its esteemed customers.
Speaking on the Bank’s expanded network of International Money Transfer Operator (IMTOs), Mr. Gbenga Shobo, the Bank’s Deputy Managing Director said, “at FirstBank, 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.”
To put things in perspective, in 2020 alone, FirstBank processed diaspora remittance valued at N100 billion while in total, the bank served over one million customers across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria
It is important to mention that FirstBank also launched an Auto Creation of USD Account following changes in remittance policy to ensure diaspora remittances sent to recipients’ Naira accounts are automatically credited into their USD Accounts. At FirstBank, customers determine whether they want their USD as cash or directly into their accounts.
Over the years, FirstBank has received several awards and recognition for promoting and leading the forex remittance charge in Nigeria.
To mention a few, FirstBank won the “Fastest Growing Money Agent Award” in 2010; MoneyGram’s “Highest Receiving Agent in Nigeria and the Most Compliant Agent in West Africa”. In 2016, MoneyGram recognised the bank as the “1st Agent in West Africa & 2nd largest Agent in Africa to process transactions that generated a revenue of $10 million on the MoneyGram platform”.
Parallex Bank Limited Promises Limitless Possibilities
The latest entrant into the commercial banking industry in Nigeria, Parallex Bank has officially launched on Friday, January 14, 2022, with the promise to redefine the banking landscape in Nigeria and Africa at large. The bank launch was graced by several dignitaries from both the private and public sector. Also in attendance were several celebrities who witnessed the unveiling of the bank’s logo.
Introducing the bank to the gathering at the bank’s headquarters in Victoria Island Lagos, the chairman of the bank, Dr. Adeola Phillips said Parallex Bank is here to make a unique statement about what innovation can do in an industry that is constantly reinventing. She further stated that the bank will operate broadly with a competitive mindset, to disrupt the market and delight customers with very attractive offers. The goal is to empower the banking public and to drive convenient and efficient commerce through the bank digital platforms. She added that the Parallex mobile app offers customers the freedom to do much more. The app will eliminate inconveniencies and hardships often faced by customers while carrying out transactions.
Corroborating the Chairman’s claims, the Managing Director of Parallex Bank, Mr. Olufemi Bakre, popularly known as Mayor, said the bank’s promise to its customers is to be an enabler of limitless banking. He established that Parallex Bank is the first bank in Nigeria to migrate from a microfinance bank to a commercial bank. He is convinced that Parallex Bank limited will achieve more as the bank partners with customers to explore more business opportunities.
Mr Olufemi said the vision of Parallex Bank is to be the preferred financial solution provider redefining customer experience through innovation. He assured customers of excellent banking products and services stating that the bank offerings are designed to address the yearnings of Nigerians. With a strong ecosystem anchored around the customer, Mr Femi informed the guests that the bank has a robust product portfolio that is customer focused, innovative and simple.
According to him, the Parallex mobile app has unique features and benefits that are quite rare in this market. On the app, customers can choose to create their unique account numbers, increase their transfer limits, make five free transfers per day to any bank in Nigeria. They can request for free debit cards, which will be delivered to them for free. They will receive prompt responses to enquiries.
Beyond the app, Mayor added that customers will enjoy zero maintenance fees while current account holders will further enjoy up to 5% interest rate provided, they maintain a minimum average balance of N100,000.
Stanbic IBTC Seeks Approval to Establish a Fintech Subsidiary
In a bid to cut costs and turn around its declining profitability, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc has announced plans to seek regulatory approval for the establishment of a Fintech subsidiary.
This is coming a few days after Standard Chartered Bank announced it was shutting down 50 percent of its Nigerian branches in a move to digitalise operations and reduce operating costs.
According to Stanbic IBTC, the new fintech company will operate as a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) upon regulatory approvals, including licensing by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc reported a 40 percent decline in profit in the first nine months of 2021, its lowest in four years. Profit after tax dropped from N66.2 Billion reported in 2020 to N39.9 billion in 2021. Profit before tax also dipped by 41 percent from N76.9 billion in 2020 to N45.3 billion in 2021.
Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC, who commented on the bank’s performance and plans for the future in October 2021, hinted at the bank’s plans to go digital and restructure some of its key units.
He said “in line with our core value of delivering value to our shareholders, the restructuring will advance the execution of our digital business transformation and enable us to achieve accelerated future readiness for the business and growth through effective mining of the client ecosystems propelled by a future-ready workforce. We continue to make progress in supporting the financial needs of our communities in the third quarter of 2021. Investing to advance tree planting exercise, youth, and women empowerment through donations, sponsorships and partnerships, library upgrade and renovation, hospital unit refurbishment, amongst others.”
As expected, using financial technology to deliver banking services would help Stanbic access the unbanked population, improve quality of service, enhance delivery and most importantly cut costs across the board.
FirstBank Holds 2022 Economic Outlook Webinar
First Bank of Nigeria Limited is set to hold its ‘Nigerian Economic Outlook Webinar’ which is aimed at reflecting on national and global economic trends that shaped 2021, and predicting the economic outlook of 2022.
According to a statement from the bank, the virtual event themed ‘A rearview look at 2021, lessons learnt – Outlook 2022’ would set the tone for the year by providing an opportunity for participants to learn directly from economic experts.
With Nigeria’s economy projected to grow by 2.7 per cent in 2022 as predicted by the International Monetary Fund, based on an expected recovery in crude oil prices and production, Nigeria will see economic activities normalising.
“Key economic activities to watch out for in 2022 include the global market trends, removal of subsidies, and floatation of the naira. However, recoveries in the oil sector and maximisation of the e-Naira could help keep the parallel market in check”, the statement reads.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane is the keynote speaker of the event while other speakers include the Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking, First Bank of Nigeria, Ini Ebong.
According to the Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications of FirstBank, Ms Folake Ani-Mumuney, the bank’s commitment to nation-building is anchored partly on its thought leadership role designed to relentlessly drive growth and scale for all through engagements that showcase versatile subject matter experts endowed with expertise, knowledge and valuable insights.
She noted that the webinar provides a platform for cross fertilisation of ideas and opportunities to learn and grow.
This webinar essential as it is coming at a time the World Bank projected the global growth to decelerate markedly from 5.5 percent in 2021 to 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3.2 percent in 2023, no thanks to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant which is one of the major indices.
Recall that Investors King, in its report on Wednesday, revealed that growth is expected to drop from 6.3 percent in 2021 to 4.6 percent in 2022 and 4.4 percent in emerging and developing economies in 2023. Also, for Sub-Saharan Africa, growth is forecast to accelerate slightly to 3.6% in 2022 and rise further to 3.8% in 2023 while growth in advanced economies is expected to decline from 5 percent in 2021 to 3.8 percent in 2022 and 2.3 percent in 2023.
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