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Reinventing FIRSTBANK Through Creativity and Innovation

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By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

For a financial institution of FirsBank’s pedigree, it is not uncommon for its top managers to be creative and constantly innovative.

Indeed, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, attributes the Bank’s consistent growth in the past 125 years to innovation and reinvention of its products and services aimed at satisfying customers’ needs and aspirations.

An elated Adeduntan recently said the Bank was driven by the desire to put its customers and stakeholders at the heart of its business.

“For over 125 years of our existence, we have focused on providing excellent financial services to meet the needs of our esteemed customers.

“We continue to improve on our products and also create new ones that suit their specific financial needs.

“The reason why we have been successful is our ability to invent and reinvent ourselves. You can only be successful like that when you put your customer at the centre piece of all your actions. That is the secret of our success,” said Adeduntan.

According to him, the Bank leverages Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to improve overall service delivery levels across all key infrastructure parameters: speed, performance, availability, security and scalability.

“This will enable us to deliver great customer experiences, take advantage of new digital technologies to reduce costs, improve quality, ensure transparency, and create value. We are building the next-generation digital bank.

“It is in our DNA to continuously transform and project for the future by reinventing ourselves, re-engineering and creating value for our customers by rethinking next generation solutions ahead of our peers in the industry.

“We are positioned to always put our customers’ current and future needs at the core of our business,” Adeduntan stated emphatically.

He noted that the Bank was also transforming the way it communicated and executed its corporate strategy through rethinking the approach to implementing projects, collaborating, measuring the outcomes and realising value from all of its transformation investments.

“The transformation programme is ongoing, and a lot of employees are already fully involved at various levels, leading and contributing to these transformation initiatives,” Adeduntan added.

He highlighted some of the laudable achievements of the Bank to include the first bank to launch the cash deposit ATM in Nigeria in 2011, the second bank in Africa and the first in Nigeria to issue 10 million cards.

Adeduntan said the Bank was also recognised by Interswitch as the first financial institution in Nigeria to achieve 100 million sustained monthly transactions in electronic payment in December 2015 and in May 2016, respectively.

He explained that the Bank, in line with its financial banking drive, instituted agent banking with over 27,000 agencies – so far achieved – across the country to reach the unbanked.

According to him, the Bank in 2008, was the first Nigerian bank and first quoted company in the country to hit two trillion naira market capitalisation.

Mr. Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank’s Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, said, during the Bank’s launch of Chat Banking on WhatsApp recently, FirstBank would continue to offer endearing services to its customers.

To him, creativity and innovation are not new to FirstBank, and the twin virtue has fueled the Bank’s foray abroad.

He said in furtherance with the Bank’s innovation drive, it acquired a new subsidiary, Banque International de Credit (BIC), one of the leading banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2011.

Similarly, in November 2013, it acquired ICB in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Guinea, and in 2014, the Bank added ICB in Senegal to its prized acquisitions.

The Bank, which changed its name from BBWA to Bank of West Africa (BWA) in 1957 also adopted the name, Standard Bank of West Africa in 1966, following its merger with Standard Bank, United Kingdom.

Incorporated in 1969 as Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited, the first name change occurred in 1979 and again in 1991 to First Bank of Nigeria Limited and First Bank of Nigeria Plc, respectively.

In 2012, the Bank changed its name again to First Bank of Nigeria Limited as part of a restructuring resulting in FBN Holdings Plc, having detached its commercial business from other businesses in the FirstBank Group, in compliance with the new regulation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

As the global operating environment evolves, FirstBank has kept pace, responding to the dynamic needs of its customers, investors, regulators, host communities, employees and other stakeholders.

Through a balanced approach to plan execution, FirstBank has consolidated its industry leadership by maintaining a trans-generational appeal.

Thus, the Bank has continuously boosted its customer base, which cuts across all segments in terms of size, structure and sectors.

Leveraging experience spanning over a century of dependable and appealing services, FirstBank has continued to build relationships and alliances with key sectors of the economy that have served as strategic building blocks for the well-being, growth and development of the country.

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Rivers, Imo Teachers Shine As Promasidor Marks World Teachers Day With Special Cowbellpedia Teacher’s Mathematics TV Quiz Show

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It was a reversal of roles for teachers last weekend as Promasidor Nigeria Limited, makers of “Cowbell, Our Milk”, marked the 2019 World Teachers Day with special (Teacher’s edition) of Cowbellpedia Mathematics Quiz Show to celebrate the teachers.

The twelve teachers, who produced the finalists in the Junior and Senior categories of the 2018 edition of the competition, contested for honours and prizes.

In the Junior category, Mr Paul Fase of Graceland International School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, outclassed others with 105 points, to win the star prize. Fase was the teacher of Favour Okarike who emerged as second runner-up in 2018 finals.

On the heels of Fase was Kayode Adebayo, a teacher from The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State who garnered 95 points to emerge as first runner-up, while Godwin Udom, his counterpart from the same school, scored 75 point to become the second runner-up.

Adebayo’s student, Master Akinleye Akinfoluhan was the junior category champion in the 2018 edition while Udom’s pupil, Loluwa Abiodun was a finalist.

Other teachers who also participated in the contest but fell by the way side include Beckley Daniel of Welkin International School, Ota, Ogun State; Hamzat Dankanawa a teacher from  Nigerian Tulip International College (Boys) Abuja and David Akuru from Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Fase with a five years’ experience in the teaching profession, expressed gratitude to God for winning, maintaining that he now appreciates what the students are going through. “It is very easy to blame the students for lack of speed and for errors, but I now know it is not that easy,” he admitted.

In the Senior category, Ebock Inah-Ngulu, a teacher from Federal Government College, Owerri, Imo State, got the crown with 75 points. His student, Jessica Austine, was a finalist last year.

Christopher Olasupo of Graceland International College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Anfani Egbeyemi of The Ambassador College, Ota, Ogun State came second and third respectively. Olasupo’s student, Chinedu Mgbemena was the 2018 senior category champion, while Egbeyemi taught Enoch Adenekan, a 2018 finalist.

The trio successfully shrugged off the challenge from Oladipo Olatunde of The Ambassador College; Olalekan Olowe from Reality High School, Ilesha, Osun State and Samson Otunubi, a teacher from Federal Government Academy, Suleja, Niger State.

All the teachers commended Promasidor for the initiative which they described as a big morale booster for teachers across the country, adding that teaching requires passion, but teaching Mathematics demands a ‘special anointing’ because of the nature of the subject and the misconception by students and parents.

The students will come back to ‘battle’ this weekend as the semi-finals of the Cowbellpedia Quiz Show continues with 36 students jostling for 12 final slots. The airing also continues on DSTV Africa Magic Family Channel, AIT Network and other six television stations across the country.

Aside the N2 million grand prize, Managing Director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Mr. Anders Einarsson disclosed that the winner in each category, (Junior and Senior) will enjoy an all-expense paid educational excursion outside the country at the end of the initiative.

In addition, the first and second runners-up in each category will receive N1.5 million and N1 million respectively, while the teachers of the top prize winners will be awarded N500, 000. Those of the first and second runners-up will receive N400, 000 and N300, 000 respectively.

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FirstBank Georgian Cup Hits The Centenary Mark, A Possible World Record In Sports Sponsorship

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In furtherance of its commitment to the growth and development of sports, nation building and the economy at large, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its sponsorship of the Georgian Cup of the Kaduna Polo Tournament for the 100th consecutive year, possibly the longest running sports sponsorship in the world and a Guinness Book of Records potential. The 2019 edition of the epoch making sports championship runs from October 12 – 20, 2019 at the Kaduna Polo Club, Murtala Mohammed Square, Kaduna.

The Kaduna Georgian Cup Centenary Polo Tournament commenced in 1919, with FirstBank sponsoring the sports tournament for a 100 years. The Cup which was donated by the Bank to the Kaduna Polo Club, is the oldest and most respected Polo trophy in West Africa. 

The 2018 edition of the tournament was won by team El-Amin, also billed to participate in the 2019 edition to defend its trophy, contested by other teams; Rubicon, Imani, Malcomines, Lintex Agad. A total of 45 teams are billed for the 2019 tournament. 

Speaking on FirstBank’s unwavering centenary sponsorship of the Tournament, the President, Kaduna Polo Club, Alhaji Suleman Abubakar said “the Georgian Cup Polo Tournament is indeed the Premier Polo Tournament in the country and it has proudly birthed many other sporting events across the country as well as the West African sub region as a whole. We are honoured to record such a milestone with FirstBank since the inception of the tournament 100 years ago. 

“Indeed, FirstBank remains a noble brand close to our heart at the Kaduna Polo Club and the tournament has indeed been a catalyst of socio-economic growth of Kaduna and the nation as a whole” he concluded.

FirstBank’s sponsorship of the Georgian cup is perhaps the longest standing sports sponsorship in the world, a reflection of a long-lasting partnership that aligns with heritage, shared values, elite performance and quality, all attributes worthy of celebration. This record sponsorship has been filed by the Kaduna Polo Club for consideration by the Guinness Book of World Records under the longest main sponsorship of a sporting world championship title.

Expressing the Bank’s delight on the sponsorship, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Folake Ani-Mumuney said “2019 is indeed an eventful year for us and one of the many high-points since we were founded 125 years ago. Part of our excitement stems from the pride we feel at having supported the Georgian Cup Polo Tournament for 100 years consistently. We are indeed proud to achieve this feat as it reinforces our leadership role as an institution committed to the continued growth and development of sports and the economy at large. The Georgian Cup Polo Tournament is one of the many heritage sporting sponsorships supported by FirstBank over the years. Another example is the FirstBank 58th Lagos Amateur Golf Open tournament, in partnership with Ikoyi Club 1938 holding in November this year which we have also supported for 57 years. We dare say perhaps another record in sports sponsorship”

This unprecedented Polo extravaganza boasts notable players such as Chris Mckenzie, the best South African polo player; Max Charlton, the Best British polo player as well as other top Argentine players in attendance amongst many other professionals.

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N1.1million ‘Jesus Shoes’ with holy water soles and mini crucifix go viral

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A pair of trainers dubbed ‘Jesus Shoes‘ — with holy-water injected soles coupled with a mini crucifix and drop of blood on the tongue to match — have begun to go viral.

The now-trending godly sneakers, which were created by MSCHF (Mischief), a Brooklyn-based creatives, sold out within minutes of being released online on Tuesday, October 8.

The MSCHF rebranded a pair of Nike Air Max 97 sneakers to implement the idea of walking on water with ‘Jesus Shoes’.

Nike was, however, not connected to the project in any way.

The ‘Jesus Shoes’, which are selling for as much as £3,000 (approximately N1.1million), contain holy water from the Jordan river in the bubbled soles, a steel crucifix on top of the laces of the right trainer and a red blob at the tip of each trainer tongue to signify the blood of Christ.

Each pair contains 60 cubic centimeters of liquid.

On the Stockx sneaker trading website the shoes are priced at $3,000-$4,300 a pair.

In addition to the holy water, which was blessed by a priest, there is also the biblical verse ‘Matthew 14:25’ — which accounts the act of Jesus walking on water — referenced on the side of the shoes.

The bottoms of the shoes are also dyed a reddish tint to mimic the shoes worn by popes long ago.

“We thought of that Arizona Iced Tea and Adidas collab, where they were selling shoes that [advertised] a beverage company that sells iced tea at bodegas,” Daniel Greenberg, the company’s head of commerce, told the New York Post.

“So we wanted to make a statement about how absurd collab culture has gotten. We were wondering, what would a collab with Jesus Christ look like?. As a Jew myself, the only thing I knew was that he walked on water.”

The company also disclosed that more of the sneakers will be available from October 22.

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