Lender’s Commitment To Efficient Retail Banking | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lender’s Commitment To Efficient Retail Banking

Posted: May 5, 2016 at 12:51 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Retail banking in the country has gone through several phases in recent times and most banks have been coming out with innovations in the process of beating their competitors. In its determination to offer its customers the best, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited has shown that building efficient and valuable franchise in the retail banking space is the only way to go. Bamidele Ogunwusi, reports:

The Nigerian banking space, according to an analyst, Cyril Ampka, is wide enough for innovations for the expansion of banking services to the unbanked Nigerians in the cities and the rural areas. What he said is lacking is the will by commercial banks in the country to take advantage of the wide space available.

His words: “Those who run banks in Nigeria are not unaware of the opportunities the system provides for them but what most of them are doing is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Most banks that are wise are leveraging on the opportunity and that is why they are different from others.
“The era of banks’ executives sitting in a place and expect customers to come to them is over. They need to take banking to the people in form of products offerings and creative innovations”.

However, to First City Monument Bank, the key attraction to the commitment to real time banking includes among others, the bank’s innovative products and service offerings. These addresses the needs and lifestyles of the market with an excellent customer service strategy that is currently generating customers’ commendations and accolades.
The conscious drive by the bank to carve a niche for itself in service delivery can be seen in its team of friendly, courteous and professional staff carefully positioned across the bank’s branches nationwide.

They are usually willing to go the extra mile to meet the needs of their existing and potential customers. Added to this is the strategic location of the bank’s over 220 branches nationwide and its fast growing portfolio of alternate channels, which are designed to provide prompt and convenient banking services, while promoting financial inclusion. Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mr. Ladi Balogun was recently quoted to have assured.

“We will remain focused on improving operating efficiency, whilst also continuing with our steady customer acquisition drive and consolidation in alternate service channels in order to provide a more consistent and convenient customer experience. Overall, we are confident our progress will be sustained, as we continue to grow our market share, and improve our margins and efficiency ratios.”

“Indeed, these developments have impacted significantly on the profile of FCMB helping the Bank to consolidate its position as the largest retail lender in the country, granting over 240,000 loans a year. The corporate players – telecoms, oil and gas, manufacturing, agribusiness and allied firms, among others are also constantly being financed by the bank as part of its support for the economic revival and growth of the country,” he said.

In the same vein, the Bank’s customer base has been on the rise; moving from 1.8 million in 2013 to 2.5 million in 2014 with a target to further grow this to 4 million by the end of this year, 2016.
FCMB now has 689 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), 12,000 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and 71 agent banking outlets (with a plan to grow to 800 agents), across the country.

On product offering, FCMB has an array of innovative products that cuts across socio-economic and demographic segments. These products (current and savings accounts), which are easy to open and affordable to operate, include nairawise, kids account, Flexx account, (a youth product that meets the needs of this very important segment of the population) as well as the e-savings account.

FCMB’s giant strides are also being felt by Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (MSME) operators. As one of the Banks appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the disbursement of the N220 billion MSMEs Fund, it has continued to provide support at various levels, including funding and advisory services, to customers in this regard. The Bank is said to have disbursed about N5 billion to such businesses.
FCMB’s SME product, known as FCMB Business Account has been described as one of the best in the industry. This product comes with affordable account opening balance, with minimum opening balance of only N5,000 and there are no limits to the frequency or number of times withdrawal can be made, apart from other very friendly features.

There is also the FCMB Personal Business Account, which is a current account designed for traders and merchants with reduced cost of banking and protection against the unexpected, arising from disasters such as fire or flood. In addition to reduced banking charges, there is a free cover for loss of stock up to the tune of N1million in case of fire or flood incidents.

In the area of electronic payment, FCMB has consistently proved its mettle as a financial institution with robust platforms that ensure secure, convenient and seamless solutions that have been deployed to drive its retail, corporate and commercial banking businesses. Its alternate channels, such as ATMs, Point of Sales (PoS) terminal, internet banking, mobile banking and telephone banking, enhance customer experience across all touch points. The Bank equally has a suite of card products designed to meet the lifestyles of a wide spectrum of users.
FCMB’s debit cards for example have a competitive edge from a service delivery perspective. These cards are issued instantly at all the Bank’s branches nationwide on the MasterCard, Verve and Visa platforms.

There are also, foreign currency (USD and GBP) denominated varieties. Apart from the enhanced security features of FCMB cards such as chip and pin, passport photograph and global SMS alert service, customers are offered 24/7 access to their funds anywhere in the world. FCMB card holders are welcome to the world of exquisite privileges through the Priority Pass Card which gives cardholders access to over 700 lounges, all at various airports across the world. The pre-paid card serves account holders and non-account holders who are new to the bank and would like to have the cards without necessarily opening accounts.

And as part of efforts towards encouraging Nigerians to key into the banking system, FCMB initiated a micro-finance arm to provide financial services to the unbanked and under-banked low income segment, especially women in the rural parts of the country. Designed as a group lending programme, the aim is to create financial awareness and funding for traders through micro-credit schemes to grow their respective businesses. The pilot in Oyo State had within five months provided loans to almost 5,000 women.