First Bank of Nigeria Limited has recorded giant strides in its Financial Inclusion services delivery, via its 894 quick banking, a USSD based channel that enables customers to access banking services using any type of phone and without data/internet. The 894 banking scheme, which is the fastest growing USSD scheme in the market, grew by about 250% in 2017 to now over 4.5million customers with a target base of over 6.5million before the end of this year. Over N1 trillion worth of transactions have been processed using the 894 services, with over N3 trillion worth of transactions projected to be processed this year alone.
Customers who use 894 are able to check their balance, send/transfer money to any bank account in Nigeria, buy airtime for themselves and for their loved ones, confirm payments (up to last 5 transactions), open accounts, and do lots more. The “894 Collection & CashOut” service is effectively designed for businesses to receive payments for goods and services, and to address their cash management challenges. It is also a very viable channel for government to collect taxes and other statutory payments.
According to FirstBank’s Group Head, e-business, Chuma Ezirim, a major element of the Bank’s strategy is to make payments and collections easier for businesses around the country. Digitizing payment and collections processes not only improves transparency and efficiency, but also helps a business to grow. “That’s why our 894 service is very useful for our Corporate and SME customers because every Nigerian can pay using 894 irrespective of the type of phone he/she uses, and without the barrier of internet access”, he enthused.
Speaking on the impact of the Bank’s Financial Inclusion services on customers and the economy, Mr. Ezirim said that in addition to providing FirstBank customers a more convenient and faster way to carry out basic banking transactions, the 894 banking service has led to the creation of over 500 new jobs for young Nigerians who assist customers to adopt digital platforms at the various branches of the Bank nationwide. The 894 service is simple, secure, and easy to use, which is why the adoption rate by customers is very high. The channel is enabling the Bank to provide more efficient banking services to its customers, and offers a cost effective growth of the Bank’s retail and commercial banking businesses.
Over 60% of FirstBank’s customers currently use the Bank’s digital platforms (FirstMobile, Firstonline and 894 Banking) to transact and this accounts for about 21% of transactions on the NIBSS Instant Payment platform.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is Nigeria’s premier and most valuable banking brand, and largest financial services institution by total assets and gross earnings. With more than 12 million customer accounts, FirstBank has over 750 branches providing a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services. 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 its 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, optimized 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, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 – by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; and “Most Innovative Bank in Africa” in the EMEA Finance African Banking Awards 2014. Recently, for the sixth consecutive time, the Bank clinched the “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” award by The Asian Banker. 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.
Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications