Customers of leading financial services provider, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), and Nigerians in general, who reside or run businesses in Mararaba-Karu, a satellite settlement town in Nasarawa State, neighbouring Abuja environs, including Nyanya, now have an opportunity to enjoy the excellent services offered by the Bank.
This is because FCMB has opened an ultra-modern and full-service branch strategically located at Plot 35779, Mararaba Gurku Karu, Nasarawa State in the town.
The new branch was commissioned at an impressive ceremony on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, bringing to three the number of branches of the Bank in Nasarawa environs and 205 across Nigeria.
The development is in line with FCMB’s strategic expansion approach and commitment towards bringing banking services directly to the door steps of its existing and potential customers. The location of the branch takes into consideration convenience for residents and businesses in Karu and neighbouring communities in Nasarawa and it is expected to promote financial inclusion in the country.
Apart from the experienced financial experts at the branch, it is equipped with unique physical and technological infrastructures that will ensure convenient transactions and sundry financial service delivery to customers in a relaxed environment.
In his speech at the commissioning of the new branch in Karu, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mr Adam Nuru said, “This is due to the importance of this area, not just as a residential hub, but as a major gateway to other strategic places in Nasarawa state.
“Though, most of our customers prefer to carry out transactions from wherever they are, using our alternate channels such as FCMBMobile, FCMBOnline, USSD code and ATMs spread widely across Nigeria, some customers still prefer human interaction when banking. This additional customer touch point will further boost our commitment in providing customers with simple, helpful and reliable banking services, in a conducive and convenient environment.”
Also speaking, the Divisional Head, Service Management & Technology of FCMB, Mr Oluwakayode Adigun, re-iterated the Bank’s commitment to strategically grow its network to meet the individual and business aspirations of its growing customer base across segments.
He disclosed that, “The new Karu branch, just like other branches of FCMB across Nigeria, brings with it something special in terms of structure, aesthetics and above all, the excellent customer experience to be provided by our excellent team of professionals.
“While we strategically pursue our digital agenda as a forward looking financial services operator, we will continue to support the financial inclusion vision of the Central Bank of Nigeria where every customer is adequately served on any channel in which such services are provided to meet their respective lifestyles and needs.”
In his address at the ceremony, Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr Silas Agara, commended FCMB for its commitment to national development through various forms of support to the private and public sectors.
The Deputy Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Ayuba Ayenaje, said, “we are excited that FCMB has expanded its footprint in Nasarawa State and confident that this will go a long way to boost economic activities in our State. We are proud of the various initiatives of the Bank to support the people and government of Nasarawa state. With the opening of a branch in Karu town, the relationship will be taken to greater heights. On our part, we will support the Bank as much as we can”.
FCMB’s robust suite of financial solutions and award-winning service culture have continued to enhance its status as a leader in the Nigerian banking industry. Among other laurels, FCMB recently bagged the prestigious award of ‘’Excellence in Retail Banking’’ at this year’s edition of the New Age Banking Summit & Awards held from September 26 to 27, 2018 in Lagos. It has also been rated as the 3rd most customer-focused bank in retail banking (from 5th in 2017) by KPMG, a leading international consulting firm, in the 2018 Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS).
Access Bank Deploys Strategies to Dominate Agency Banking
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Tier-one financial institution in Nigeria, Access Bank Plc, is not resting on its oars despite recently hitting a milestone of having 100,000 banking agents spread across the country.
The lender is planning to dominate agency banking business in Nigeria and to achieve this, it wants to further increase its footprint by having a minimum of 50 agents in each of the 774 LGAs across the country.
According to the bank, this is part of efforts to deepen financial inclusion, increase its customer base and deepen the wallet share of the banking population through the Access Closa agency banking platform.
In a chat with newsmen recently, the Group Head of Agency Banking at Access Bank, Ms Chizoba Iheme, noted that due to the limited number of financial institutions, especially in rural areas, Access Closa is Access Bank’s strongest retail channel used in providing banking services to a large population of unserved and underserved Nigerians.
“Our plan is to bank one in two Nigerians as this will see us increase our customer base and deepen our wallet share of the banking population.
“Going by the high youth and adult population, the resources of Nigeria’s financial institutions are being overstretched in providing physical and human resources and were unable to cope with gaps that existed in meeting banking needs of Nigerians hence the need for Agency Banking as envisaged by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2013,” Ms Iheme was quoted as saying in a statement from the lender on Wednesday.
“Therefore, agency banking helps financial institutions decongest crowded branches by providing a matching and more often convenient channel for their customers. In instances where reaching customers in rural areas is often highly expensive for financial institutions because transaction numbers and volumes do not cover the cost of a branch, agency banking helps in serving them,” she added.
The banker said becoming an agent has become a means to empower and reduce unemployment in Nigeria, noting that, “Our commission structure allows an agent to earn up to N500,000 and more monthly in commission including incentives and opportunities for agents to grow their business and partner with a reputable brand is an attraction to the Closa brand.”
Furthermore, on risks associated with agency banking in the country and how Access Banks moves to mitigate it, she added: “There are four major risks that we have identified. These are technological, legal, and fraud/reputational assets.
“Technological Risk, to prevent software and hardware failures, the bank is investing in new infrastructure with the capacity to absorb service disruptions that will have minimal impact. As part of our onboarding process, the bank’s agents are required to execute a service agreement that stipulates the roles and responsibilities of each party.”
“Also, agents are trained at the point of activation on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Terrorism Financing. This training also takes place every year to reiterate the dangers and consequences associated with fraudulent actions.
“Besides, the bank has set a maximum daily limit on the amount and frequency of transactions that can be performed by an agent. Lastly, a quarterly risk profiling exercise is carried out on all agents for effective management,” Ms Iheme added.
Access Bank is the leading retail bank in Nigeria with over 600 branches and more than 40 million customers. The bank offers products and services tailored to suit the lifestyle of every Nigerian irrespective of age and demographic.
Ecobank Clinches ‘Excellence in Fintech-Banking Relationships’ Award
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Another feather has been added to the well-decorated cap of Ecobank Group as it recently clinched the Excellence in Fintech-Banking Relationships award at the Africa Fintech Summit.
The lender received this accolade in Washington DC, United States of America (USA) in recognition of its activities to support and facilitate fintech growth on the African continent.
The Group Executive, Operations & Technology, Ecobank, Mr Tomisin Fashina, who received the award on behalf of the bank, attributed the recognition to the pan-African bank’s unparalleled influence in Africa and its unwavering support and numerous initiatives aimed at fostering relationships with fintechs to jointly win in the marketing place, stressing that the bank has put structures and initiatives in place to collaborate and cooperate with fintechs to facilitate the bank’s vision of financial integration of Africa.
“As a bank, one of our strategic objectives is to bank 100 million Africans, across Africa. We won’t go out there with account opening documents to do this. We believe we can achieve that by collaborating and cooperating across the board, and the fintechs come into that space.
“We came out with Ecobank as a service, this is at the heart of why we published our sandbox to encourage fintechs, big techs and any player that wants to do business in Africa to ride on our platforms and help facilitate our vision of a financially integrated Africa. We see ourselves as a key player in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and we believe we are the ultimate bank to facilitate trade across Africa,” he said.
The Africa Fintech Summit is a global knowledge-sharing platform that connects innovators, regulators and entrepreneurs, facilitating conversations and partnerships that help them explore financial technology solutions to improve African individuals, economies and societies.
It is held twice a year in Washington DC and a selected African country and sees stakeholders from around the world assemble to chart a progressive course for fintech in Africa by mobilizing investments, hashing out enabling policies, and sharing growth strategies.
The programme, which was the seventh edition, also recognized TeamApt for Excellence in Digital Banking, PiggyVest- Excellence in Savings and InvestTech, Flutterwave-Excellence in Fintech Infrastructure, while Excellence in Blockchain Technology went to Appzone Group. Others are Excellence in Fintech investment – Future Africa, Excellence in Cryptocurrency – Paxful, Excellence in Ecosystem Research – Briter Bridges, Excellence in Cross-border Solutions – PAPSS, Excellence in Payments – Paystack, Excellence in InsurTech – Turaco, Excellence in Fintech and Lending – Payhippo, Excellence in Embedded Fintech – Cellulant and Excellence in TradeTech – AFEX.
Ecobank has many initiatives to support the growth of fintechs on the continent. The Ecobank Fintech Challenge launched in 2017 identifies and partners with fintechs that are ready to scale, providing them with mentoring, networking, support, and opportunities to access Ecobank’s 33 African markets, as well as opportunities to integrate with existing Ecobank digital offerings. This has recorded significant results and success stories since its inception.
Court Orders CBN, NDIC to Pay 1,116 Bank Workers N5.7bn
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Industrial Court has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to pay over N5.7 billion as terminal benefits to over 1,116 bank workers affected by the re-capitalisation exercise of 2006.
The money is to be paid within three months from the date of judgment as failure to adhere to this will attract 10 per cent interest until liquidated.
Justice Paul Bassi, at the court sitting in Lagos on Monday, made the order while delivering judgment in the case filed by the 1,116 claimants who had approached the court since 2018.
The court also ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay another N10 million as general damages to the claimants.
The ruling settles the battle that the parties have fought since the consolidation exercise of 2006 which saw banks recapitalised from N2 billion to N25 billion.
Some banks did not meet the recapitalisation requirements and this led to their banking licenses being revoked by the central bank which appointed the NDIC as the liquidator.
The bank workers then sued the two organisations demanding the payment of their terminal benefits.
The two defendants raised several objections, insisting among other things they were not the employers of the workers and the suit disclosed no cause of action against them.
In his judgment, Justice Bassi dismissed the preliminary objections of the defendants and held while they may have acted for the general good by raising the capital base of banks in the country, it should not be done at the expense of the former employees.
By revoking the banking licenses of the non-consolidated banks, the defendants interfered with the employment contracts of the bank workers, a contract which would ordinarily have run its natural course with the claimants paying their benefits at the end.
The court then ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay the workers within three months from the date of judgment failing which it will attract 10 per cent interest until liquidated.
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