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Going Cashless This Summer With Firstbank Travel Kits

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By Obinna Emelike (BusinessDay)

Having worked round the clock since the beginning of the year, it is ideal to take out time to relax and rejuvenate. Well, you do not need to wait until the end of the year to unwind as summer is already beckoning on discerning holiday makers to seek refuge in top travel destinations across the world. 

If you have not jetted out yet due to the stress of traveling, especially the trouble of settling your travel bills, tickets and sundries, you can now do so and seamlessly too with the FirstBank Visa Multicurrency card, which allows you to go full cashless this summer in anywhere in the world.

The Visa Multi Currency Card, introduced by First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, is an all-in one-card and first of its kind to be offered by any financial institution in the country. Most importantly, it can be linked to all of the four major currencies namely: NAIRA, USD, EURO and GBP accounts. 

Beyond the international passport, the card is handy for the Nigerian business traveller and holiday makers, especially this summer period, which comes with lots of expenditures on airfares, hotel accommodations, tour bookings, shopping, theatre/concert tickets among others. 

The card holders enjoy many benefits including; Point of Sale and online purchases, access to and use of ATMs worldwide, as well, there is no cash collateral requirement prior to its issuance. As expected, FirstBank is delighted in the innovative card, which offers seamless transactions to users, especially holiday makers frolicking in top destinations across the world this summer. 

Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Product, First Bank, sees the card as a milestone in the bank’s innovation, saying that, “FirstBank takes pride in pioneering the Visa Multi Currency Card in the country, as we remain committed to providing products and services that are designed to ensure the banking convenience of our customers regardless of their location.” For Ezirim, the card is designed to make traveling fun for the Bank’s customers and to ensure they have a seamless transaction experience during their vacation, tourism and other business-related trips around the globe. Having tested the card himself, he enjoined the Bank’s customers traveling abroad for summer to walk into any FirstBank branch for their Visa Multi Currency Card. 

While abroad, the bank’s customers can enjoy improved daily withdrawal limits of $1,000 on ATM, $2,500 on POS and $6,250 on web-based transactions. At home, they can withdraw as much as N150 on ATM, N500,000 and N2, 500,000 (from savings and current accounts respectively) on POS – N500,000, and N1,000,000 on web transactions locally.

Also customers who use the Bank’s Naira Master Card (NMC) have no need for BTA/PTA and stand to enjoy seamless transactions this summer with $5000 monthly spending limit and $300 daily ATM cash withdrawal limit. 

The seamless experience continues with the Visa Gold Card, which offer higher daily spending limit on ATM ($1,000), POS ($10,000) and WEB ($5,000) anywhere in the world. 

To ensure seamless transaction while on holiday this summer, the Bank urged customers to change their PIN before travelling out of the country to avoid transaction failures/invalid card. 

However, the Bank assures its customers of safety with additional protection for web based transactions with “Verified by Visa” (VbV) and Chip & PIN technology with a lifespan of 3 years. With safety, the Bank is consolidating on its huge strength, which it assures the customers should rely on to further do business with it, including transactions outside the country as it watches their back with card security features. 

Presently, FirstBank is the first financial institution in Nigeria to issue a whopping 10 million cards to customers across the country, and now among two other African banks to achieve the milestone. The 10 million cards issuance follows other feats such as the first financial institution in the country to achieve sustained alternative channels transaction volumes of 100 million transactions in December 2015 and May 2016. 

The most excited in all the achievements is Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited. For him, delivering the Visa Multi-Currency Card feat at this time is a testament to the bank’s drive in delivering to its brand promise of putting customers first and continuously improving its business to serve them better. “One of the ways by which we were able to sustain this winning edge is the use of our instant issuance/instant activation technology, which we pioneered about 10 years ago. We have also consistently maintained the highest active card ratio in the industry. 

“This feat also implies that our customers are becoming more technology savvy and we would continue to encourage this attitude with our commitment to world class service delivery. Therefore, we must work to ensure optimal performance and availability of all our channels such as ATM, FirstMobile among others to guard against customer dissatisfaction”, explained the FirstBank CEO. 

However, the feats are being recognised from outside the bank and even by the industry regulators. FirstBank recently bagged a hattrick of awards at the Interswitch Connect Sales Dinner & Awards Night in Lagos recently. The awards are: Most improved Mobile Application, Highest Transacting Bank (across inter-switch’s solution) and Highest Number of Verve Transacting Cards (Unique Cards). 

Speaking on the awards, Folasade Femi Lawal, the bank’s Head, Card Business, said the awards are indeed a reflection of the trust by Nigerians on the bank’s digital channels as it leaves no stone unturned at reinventing itself, products and services with a view to remain steadfast at being a frontrunner at promoting digitization of the industry. 

With 125 years of experience in the banking industry, servicing over 15 million customer accounts, over 750 business locations and banking technologies that are well aligned to the fast paced technological advancement in modern day banking, FirstBank assures customers the best of service, security and experience even this summer.

Once again, the Bank urges customers traveling abroad for summer to walk into any FirstBank branch for their Visa Multi Currency Card for a seamless holiday experience anywhere in the world.

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Jim Ovia: Garlands To ‘Grandfather’ Of Banking

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Thomas Imonikhe

Though of noble birth, Mr. Jim Ovia, the pioneer Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc and current chairman of its board realized early in life that having blue blood in one’s veins wasn’t enough ticket to guarantee stardom in one’s chosen endeavor and opted for the narrow path? And unlike the present dispensation in the country whereby desperation for materialism has dwarfed the age tested virtues of honesty and dignity in labor, Ovia, apparently due his strict upbringing in the royal court imbibed integrity and hardwork holding the attributes firmly as master keys that will unlock all doors in his life journey.

Little wonder therefore that the topmost banker who will clock 68 on Monday November 4th has attained not only the pinnacle of his chosen career –banking but regarded as an exceptional role model to many upcoming Nigerians especially those with eyes on business.

He is also reputed to be a reference point on philanthropy. Indeed his distinguished attainments also in business, as motivational speaker, writer and in the information technology communication, ICT remains a classic example of someone who waded through life journey from grass to grace.
A prince, Jim Ovia was born on the 4th of November, 1951 to Obi Olihe of Agbor-Obi, one of the most revered royal fathers in Agbor Kingdom, Delta State , attended Ika Grammar School, Bojiboji-Owa for his secondary education before traveling to the United States for the proverbial golden fleece, where he had his tertiary education.

While there, he bagged a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and later Master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Louisiana, Monroe. He is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School.

Ovia admitted that he was encouraged to venture into his course of study by his uncle and thereafter resolved to excel in his chosen career, adding that his golden rule since then has been ‘honesty and integrity’. “Always honour contracts: it is very important to be of tremendous integrity.

Those who try to take shortcuts will always fail’’ he declared in one of his famous quotes. No doubt, his life philosophy above has a fundamental backing of American billionaire Warren Buffet who maintained that three attributes: intelligence, energy and integrity are a must for any one aspiring to be an achiever with integrity not negotiable.

For him, without integrity the other two attributes are useless. Rather than stay back in the U. S. to savour the vast opportunities, Ovia upon graduating, returned to his fatherland, joined Union Bank for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and worked in Lion Bank where he rose to the position of branch manager in Lagos.

He later joined International Merchant Bank (IMB) in 1980 rising from financial analyst to bank manager from where he moved to Merchant Bank of Africa. And following an unblemished career in the affected banks coupled with the experience garnered, he alongside some investors established Zenith Bank in May 1990 after the administration of former military president Gen. Ibrahim Babangida deregulated the banking sector.
As prime mover of the financial institution, he became the pioneer managing director and chief executive officer of the bank, a position he held for 20 years before resigning his position in July 2010. But four years later and given his track record of service, he was appointed the chairman of the bank. It is on record that under his leadership, Zenith Bank grew in leaps and bounds thus first becoming a Public Limited Company, Plc in 2001 before it got listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) as well as the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Significantly, on April 27, 2007, Zenith Bank Plc became the first Nigerian bank in 25 years to be licensed by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA), giving birth to Zenith Bank UK Limited and also with subsidiaries in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa and China. Truly and like the biblical mustard seed, the bank which was established with a capital of just N20m some 29 years ago with currently over 500 branches nationwide and thousands of employees announced recently that its total assets stood at N5.97 trillion as at end of September this year.

Perhaps Ovia’s humility and disciplined background has made him to distance himself from public space and one who doesn’t like blowing his own trumpet. For instance he sees the flourishing story of Zenith Bank as not due to his financial wizardry but borne out of vision and a passion to make it a reality. ‘’You can build an app or a company or a product or service, I happened to build a bank’’, he noted while speaking on his business secrets. The foremost banker also has interests in real estate; Information Communication Technology, ICT; founded Cyberspace Network Limited one of the pioneers of internet services in the country as well as Visafone Communications Limited, a Nigerian wireless network provider, a company that has been acquired by MTN.

As an author, Ovia in September 2018 published his first book, an autobiography ‘Africa Rise and Shine’ containing his business success secrets and how he was able to create one of Africa’s largest banks. Recognizing the fundamental role that sound education played in his life success and the need to offer a helping hand to the less privileged members of society, he established Jim Ovia Foundation, a non-profit organization with the aim of investing in the African youth’s ‘unlimited and untapped potential as the key to socio-economic growth’ convinced that such gesture will not only enhance the standard of living of the society but improve the nation’s economy.

Described as the ‘Godfather of Banking’ by Forbes Africa, the philanthropist has similarly invested a fortune on humanitarian work through the Jim Ovia Foundation comprising of four arms: The James Hope College, Jim Ovia Scholarship, Jim Ovia ICT Entrepreneurs Programme and Empower Youth Programme with over 1,500 students said to have benefitted from university scholarships since October 2010, and empowered over 3,500 students and entrepreneurs since its inception. A man of many parts and one who has bagged numerous laurels, Ovia is a recipient of the national honour of Commander of Order of the Federal Republic, OFR.

As a true patriot and in deference to public opinion, Ovia recently withdrew from the World Economic Forum (WEF) that held in South Africa even though he was already at the event, following the uproar that trailed the xenophobic attacks on some Nigerians and other black foreign nationals by rampaging youths. As one analyst noted, Nigeria will attain greater heights in no distant future if most of her prosperous citizens emulate Ovia’s philanthropy especially his passion for developing the human capital through scholarships to youths from less privilege background.

* Imonikhe, former editor Daily Champion, writes from Lagos

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Folake Ani-Mumuney Hits Another Feat, Clinches Lifetime Award In Ghana

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Folake Ani-Mumuney, Chairperson, FBNInsurance Brokers; Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Vice President, World Federation of Advertisers yesterday in faraway Ghana, clinched the Lifetime Achievement awards.

The Marketing World Awards (MWA) recognizes outstanding performances by individuals and corporate bodies across the marketing communications industry in Africa that have delivered superior product values to the market and exhibited excellence in upholding concrete marketing strategies, display uniqueness and among offerings, convey clear message to its consumers and stand out from the competition will be rewarded and celebrated.

Folake is widely admired for her wit and intelligence which she brings to bear in her well over 25 years career in the world of marketing communications across various industries, having worked in different geographies globally.

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IWEC Foundation Appoints FirstBank’s Ibukun Awosika As New President Of It’s Board Of Directors

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November 8, 2019.  New York, NY.

The International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation (IWEC)  has announced the appointment of Ibukun Awosika to their Board of Directors as its New President. Awosika is the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s Premier and Leading financial services provider.

Mrs. Awosika was elected to replace Miguel Valls, former president of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and president of the IWEC Foundation, who passed away last month. “The Foundation is very excited to announce the appointment of our new president,” stated Ruth A. Davis, IWEC Chairwoman and distinguished former U.S. Ambassador. “Ibukun Awosika has been a solid, steady presence at IWEC since its inception, and she is also a past IWEC awardee.  Ibukun has not missed one IWEC Conference since 2008 and has lent her voice and experience not only to our conferences, but to our meetings after joining our Board in 2017.  We are delighted that our Board of Directors voted on her appointment, and we’ll introduce her as our president at our upcoming 12th Annual IWEC Foundation Conference in New Delhi, on November 10th.”

The Foundation’s 2019 Conference will focus on “Connecting Women Businesses Globally: Leading the Way to Innovation and Integration”. The event would be hosted locally by the FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), which represents over 5000 women entrepreneurs and professionals across India. This year, IWEC welcomes 39 awardees from 18 countries, with a combined revenue of over US$5.7 billion among all awardees to date.

IWEC Foundation Vice Chair, Carmen Castillo, CEO of SDI International, adds: “Ibukun has demonstrated a significant commitment to IWEC over the years.  Her breadth of knowledge extends from being an entrepreneur running ?SOKOA Chair Centre Limited, to overseeing the board of directors for the renowned First Bank of Nigeria Limited.  We are looking forward to her wise counsel and to continuously drive IWEC globally as a source of support, connection and impact for women business owners all over the world.”

Ibukun Awosika heads Nigeria’s premier bank, and she is also the founder and CEO of the Chair Centre Group, an association of large companies in the manufacturing, retail, and financial security services.  Mrs. Awosika further holds seats in the corporate boards of Cadbury Nigeria, Digital Jewel Limited and the Convention on Business Integrity, and she is a former chair of several other enterprise boards.   

Ibukun is a graduate of Chemistry from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria, an alumna of the Chief Executive Program of Lagos Business School, the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Wharton’s Global CEO Program, and the IESE and China European International Business School (CEIBS). Ibukun is a multiple award-winning entrepreneur and the first Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award as a nominee of the US Department of State in 2008.  Ibukun is also a best-selling author and motivational speaker.

Ibukun was just honoured last month with the International Friendship Award presented at the IESE Business School by the Queen of Spain.

About the IWEC Foundation

IWEC is a New York-based international economic empowerment organization exclusively for women business owners, formed in 2007 with the assistance of the U.S. Department of State.  In addition to the State Department, its founders include the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC), FICCI/FLO Chamber in New Delhi.  IWEC’s mission is to develop a global business network for successful women entrepreneurs, helping them gain and expand access to international markets by presenting a platform to exchange knowledge, experience and connections, and to promote dialogue among women entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout the world.

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