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How FirstBank is Making Customers Stay-Connected Through Its e-Channels

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Folarin is a smart entrepreneur who is in touch with technological advancement and the digital age. He has different apps on his mobile phone which he uses to organise both his business and private lives. He has a food app which he uses to order for his breakfast and lunch, he has another one that takes care of his love for music and another which he uses to manage his transactions online without stepping into a bank. He tells me, his bank is forward looking and futuristic enough to make banking easy for him and his clients.

 

“I have been banking with FirstBank since I was in school as an undergraduate, says Folarin. My mum opened the account for me. That was where she sent my monthly allowance. After school, I didn’t close the account I simply continued with the tradition.”

 

It was not difficult for Folarin to decide he would open his corporate account with FirstBank when he started his business a few years ago. He says the ease at which he gets his transactions done on FirstBank’s application, FirstMobile, endears him to the bank.

 

“I can do many transactions with FirstMobile. I can do bank transfers, check my balance, receive alerts on any transaction I do. There is also a beneficiary section that enables me save the account numbers of people close to me for future transactions.”

 

The FirstMobile App has over the years offered succour to FirstBank customers.

 

Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank says “FirstBank wanted a truly branchless experience for its customers and thus enhanced the app to deliver an instant, remote, self-enrolment feature. Hence, in 2015, onboarding process on FirstMobile was improved with self-service feature; empowering customers to remotely complete their onboarding process on the App without visiting a branch.”

 

In addition, Chuma Ezirim, Group Head, e-Business, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said the soft token was also launched to satisfy the needs of customers who did not want to carry the hard token about. “It serves the same purpose as the hard token but provides the advantage of convenience and mobility as it is installed in the customer’s mobile phone,” he noted.

 

Another interesting digital service platform by FirstBank is the FirstBillsPay, a biller aggregator platform. It aggregates various billers through a secured connection to the bank, to avail its customers a single payment point for all bills from their accounts.

 

“In addition to FirstMobile and FirstBillsPay is FirstCheckOut. This is an additional payment option that can be integrated to merchant website that will allow customers pay bills directly from their bank accounts as a substitute to cards. We also have the 894 USSD Quick Banking service as part of our financial inclusion drive. The *894# USSD service makes banking services available across all GSM networks, on any type of device, anywhere and at any time; this gives it a unique selling point,” explained Ezirim.

 

There are also the Emerging Channels (USSD Collections, mCash, MVISA). These platforms are to ensure FirstBank gets its customers connected in a seamless way in the digital driven age.

 

“Our FirstBank mVisa is an innovative mobile payment solution that allows consumers to pay for goods and services via FirstMobile by scanning a QR code using a smart phone or by dialing a USSD number on a phone. Payment goes directly from the consumer’s account into the merchant’s account and both parties get real-time notification. The USSD Collections allow merchants to receive payments from customers simply by using 894 USSD string for FirstBank customers. The focus segments for USSD Collections are Manufacturing/FMCGs/ Value Chain Businesses, Petrol Stations, Network Marketing Companies, Transporting Companies, Churches, Schools and others,” says Ezirim.

 

Furthermore, FirstBank Agent banking was launched towards the end of 2017. The bank recruited Firstmonie Agents and empowered them to carry out basic financial services within their vicinity. Firstmonie Agents are literally human extensions of almost all the banking activities, they are strategically positioned within communities with large population of unbanked and underbanked individuals. With the large network of Firstmonie Agents spread across the length and breadth of the country, financial inclusion is significantly promoted by FirstBank.

 

Now, the new kid on the block for FirstBank is the chat banking on WhatsApp. With this, FirstBank’s customers can leverage on the real-time messaging capabilities of the WhatsApp Business solution to check their account balances as well as perform simple banking queries.

 

“Customers’ expectations are constantly changing and it’s our duty as a customer focused bank to ensure that our customers are provided with the means to carry out banking services through any channel they desire,” says Ezirim. “We are constantly seeking new ways and opportunities to meet customers at their preferred touch points and we understand our customers are actively engaged on WhatsApp.”

 

With FirstBank chatbanking on WhatsApp, it is not just about staying connected with friends and loved ones, but also keeping in touch with FirstBank anytime and anywhere you are.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

AfDB Blacklists Nigerian Firm, Its MD for Alleged Fraudulent Practice

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African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has announced the debarment of Lutoyilex Construct Limited, a construction company registered in Nigeria and Mr. Bamidele Obiniyi (also known as Mr. Bamidele Abayomi), its managing director, for a period of 36 months.

 

An investigation conducted by the Bank’s Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption established that Lutoyilex Construct Limited engaged in fraudulent practice while bidding for a construction contract under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase One in Nigeria (ATASP-1).

 

According to the AfDB, while participating in a tender for the construction of social infrastructure in Niger State of Nigeria, the company misrepresented its experience in conducting similar construction contracts.

 

The debarment renders the company and its Managing Director ineligible to participate in Bank-financed projects during the debarment period.

 

The debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Debarment Decisions, including the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group.

 

ATASP-1 is financed under the African Development Fund administered by the African Development Bank Group.

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Man Allegedly Hacks into Wema Bank Account, Steals N4m

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Nonso Okereke, a 29-year-old man has been being arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for allegedly hacking into a Wema Bank account and stealing N4 million.

 

Okereke, allegedly committed the offence in connivance with Emeka Onumba, 36-year-old man.

 

Inspector Ingobo Emby, the police prosecutor, who brought the suspects before Magistrate A.O. Alogba, claimed that the duo committed the offences sometime in January at Wema Bank headquarters, located at 54, Marina Street, Lagos Island.

 

He informed the court that the defendants hacked into an account of Wema Bank, fraudulently transferred N4 million into various accounts, and later withdrew the money and shared, which the prosecutor said contravened Sections 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

 

When the charges were read to them, the suspects pleaded not guilty, while the magistrate granted them bail in the sum of N400,000 each with two sureties each in like sum who must have N500,000 in their bank accounts, with the case adjourned till July 18 for trial.

 

But as a result of the fear created by this report last week, Wema Bank has emphasised that its system was never hacked by the suspects, assuring customers that their deposits were safe.

 

“Wema Bank remains committed to protecting the funds of their customers and offering safe and secure banking services,” the financial institution said.

 

Explaining what happened, it was gathered after an investigation that the said sum was fraudulently withdrawn from the Wema Bank account of Maxwell Odoemenam without his consent by swapping the customer’s SIM card through the telecom company.

 

The SIM card swapped was due to failed controls on the part of the telecoms firm who did not carry out due diligence before allowing the SIM card swap. This is beyond the control of the bank, as they do not issue SIM card to customers, we learned.

 

The investigation further reveals that the customer had initially visited our Lawanson branch on 20/12/2018 to request for the balance in his account and when he was availed his account balance, he discovered that there was a shortfall of N20,100.00 in his balance. Further review of his statement of account revealed that the sum of N19,000 was transferred from his account via USSD platform into the account of one Amadi Promise in Union Bank, while the balance of N1,100 was used to purchase airtime recharge for his mobile line.

 

He however claimed that he did not register for USSD or any online platform with the bank thus, the transactions were fraudulent and not at his instance.

 

Upon interrogation of the customer, he explained that he had earlier visited Airtel Office to complain of network downtime on his phone number (08121730557), which he registered with the bank and he was notified by a staff of Airtel Office that someone had tampered with his SIM card, hence, he visited our Lawanson branch to request that his phone number be changed to another.

 

The staff of Lawanson branch (Wema Bank) who attended to the customer claimed that he advised the customer to allow the bank to place a debit restriction on his account to avert further fraud on it but that the customer did not agree with her but rather requested for a change of telephone number on the account because it is his business account and that he did not want any restriction on it so as not to disrupt his business.

 

Hence, restriction was not placed on his account but his profile was deactivated on the USSD platform.

 

The customer however denied the assertion that he rejected the Officer’s advice on placing a restriction on his account.

 

Unknown to the customer, after the initial N20,100 transactions, the fraudster(s) had already enrolled the customer on ALAT platform using the customer’s telephone number and other BVN details.

 

The telephone number was fraudulently swapped at the Telecommunication company which gave them access to the customer’s BVN details on NIBSS platform.

 

Upon the successful enrolment of the customer’s account on the ALAT platform, funds totalling N4,056,500.00 were fraudulently transferred to Adanna Mary Opara (N210,000.00), Okeke Favour (N100,000.00), Onumba Peter (N3,646,500.00) and Anyanwu Chinonyerem (N100,000) in Access, Union and GTBank, respectively.

 

The bank has refunded the customer with the lost funds and got the fraudsters arrested through the instrumentality of the Police to ensure substantive justice on the matter.

 

Onumba Peter, one of the fraudsters apprehended by the Police claimed that one Nonso Okereke introduced the fraud to him.

 

 

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SystemSpecs, NIBOX Ink Deal to Deepen Financial Inclusion

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SystemSpecs, the Nigerian company with interests in financial technology, designs and development of human resource management, (HRM) solutions and NIBOX, a multi-platform payment solution provider, have entered a partnership to extend financial products and services to the banked, under-banked and unbanked in the country.

 

SystemSpecs in a statement, said it would leverage NIBOX’s self-service payment terminals strategically located throughout Nigeria, and online through its innovative mobile platforms.

 

Through this partnership, it added that services such as federal and state governments’ payments, electricity recharge token, airtime and data phone top-up, cinema tickets purchase, insurance premium payment, cash transfers and other utility bills would be accessible on NIBOX touch points.

 

It added NIBOX had deployed 55 terminals in Lagos and Abuja, with plans to deploy additional 500 terminals in Lagos and Abuja by the end of 2019.

 

“We are glad to be collaborating with SystemSpecs to deliver new services to customers. Indeed, the value proposition and attainments of the Remita brand are a boost for this partnership and would ultimately be to the advantage of the end-user, who would now have improved access to various services and products across Nigeria,” Dr George Manuwuike, chief Executive officer/founder, NIBOX, said.

 

“This partnership is also in line with our aim of becoming the fastest and most convenient platform for cash payment for broad-based goods and services for public and private sectors,” Manuwuike added.

 

Commenting on the development, Demola Igbalajobi, SystemSpecs’ divisional head, Payment Gateway and Infrastructure, said, “At SystemSpecs, we understand that access to financial services is key to the development of a strong and efficient financial ecosystem, which facilitates economic growth. It is therefore a delight for us to partner with NIBOX to further bring Remita services closer to customers at their point of convenience using NIBOX touchpoints.”

 

 

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