First Bank customers conducted transactions totalling N8.18 trillion during the lockdown caused by the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in Nigeria, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, the bank’s CEO says.
Adeduntan says today a whole range of First Bank digital banking services came to the rescue during the five-week lockdown ordered by the government to contain the spread of the Coronavirus in the country.
He hints in a statement made available to Technology Times that the bank recorded approximately 12.6 million withdrawals valued at about N156 billion across First Bank ATMs across Nigeria.
Also, Nigerians with FirstBank cards used them 105 million times to make payments or withdrawals worth about N1.18 trillion “as they relied on us to settle their banking needs”, according to the bank’s CEO.
Within the lockdown period, First Bank customers “made transfers over 106 million times with a total value of about N8.18 trillion across our digital channels.”
During the period, 53,000 plus agents have processed over N512 billion worth of transactions, he says.
According to Adeduntan, “we have also recorded over 275,000 new sign-ups to alternative channels covering our Firstmobile; USSD and First-Online platforms.”
The First Bank CEO says the organisation has enhanced palliatives targetting SMEs such as introduction of special waivers on repayment fees on its credit cards, and a 90-day loan moratorium on selected products across markets, to help cushion the impact of the toll on employment and livelihoods.
Adeduntan says that FirstBank’s locations nationwide have implemented stringent measures to ensure its branches and locations across the country operate in line with the health and safety guidelines issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
These safety measures include ensuring personal protection, as wearing face masks is now mandatory; maintaining social distancing by reducing physical contact by at least one meter from the next person and queue guides and markings are in place to guide customers; as well as enhancing the practice of personal hygiene as hand washing stations and hand sanitisers have been provided, according to the First Bank CEO.
Speaking on the impact made by the Bank across its sub-Saharan business, he says that “we are glad that our investment in technology over the years has really borne fruit as many of our staff were able to work remotely during the lock down with effective IT support to hand. We were therefore able to actively support our customers, their families and businesses through these challenging times.
“We ensured business continuity across eight countries – Nigeria, Ghana; Democratic Republic of Congo; Sierra-Leone; the Gambia, Guinea; Senegal and United Kingdom. We recognize that this has truly been a trying period and are poised to continue to provide as much support as we can to our customers and communities we operate in”, he adds.
During the period First Bank proactively reviewed products and services to support customers better and expressed his appreciation to Nigerians for the whole hearted adoption and patronage of its electronic services, as these indeed demonstrated the trust which the public repose in the Bank and in return the Bank commits to always live by its resolve on being true to its mantra – You First, Adeduntan says.
“It is for this reason; putting our customers first, that our Bank working to regulatory, Federal and State Government directives worked assiduously to keep over 50 percent of our branches open across all nooks and crannies of the country. At the same time the call centre was restaffed in the most efficient manner and retooled as we provided even more opportunities for our customers to reach us for their banking needs”.