In a move aimed at enhancing financial inclusion across the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its drive to engage up to 500,000 operators on its agent banking platform. This was disclosed at the opening ceremony of the 12th Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) by FirstBank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, who also served as the Chairman of the CIBN 2019 Conference Consultative Committee at the event which was held in Abuja, 24 – 25 September 2019.
The CIBN conference themed: “the future of the Nigerian banking industry – 360o” had Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the Special Guest of Honour.
In his remarks, the Bank’s CEO said FirstBank would support all efforts to ensure effective financial inclusion in Nigeria.
According to Adeduntan “we have a very ambitious plan to appoint about 500,000 agents across the nook and cranny of our country and to ensure that banking facilities and services are made available to all Nigerians.”
He noted that the banking sector in Nigeria remained the primary partner to the government with regards to economic growth and development in the country. “If we do not utilise those opportunities and mainstream them properly, the country and the entire economy will be left behind,” Adeduntan stated.
In 2017, FirstBank launched its agent banking network; ‘Firstmonie Agent’, described as its ‘Human ATM’. The Firstmonie Agents are empowered to extend access to finance to all Nigerians, regardless of where they may be across the country. The Firstmonie Agents complement the Bank’s effort at reducing the unbanked in the country, whilst providing a handful of the Bank’s bespoke financial services, including; account opening; cash deposit; airtime purchase; bills payment; withdrawals and money transfer.
According to the Bank, FirstMonie Agents are usually owners of small businesses within communities with limited or no banking penetration. The Bank has an Agent Banking strength of over 31,000 Agents, spread across 98% of the country’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).