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FirstBank demystifying financial inclusion with XploreFirst

FirstBank has since launched a couple of innovative products such as FirstMobile, USSD, agent banking, and FirstBillsPay to enhance banking efficiency.

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First Bank, Global transactions get easier with Firstbank’s Card Offerings

Worried by the increasing rate of the unbanked population, the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), kicked off a campaign in 2012 to achieve 80 percent financial inclusion of adult population by 2020.

The CBN carried out the campaign through agency banking, mobile banking/mobile payments, linkage models and client empowerment, to reduce financially excluded adult Nigerians from 46.3 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in 2020.

According to the CBN, the overall goal of the strategy is to promote a financial system accessible to all Nigerian adults at an inclusion rate of 80 percent (formal and informal).

However, the 2018 Access to Financial Services Survey findings, conducted by the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) department of CBN, showed that 36.8 percent Nigerian adults were still financially excluded.

This translates to a population of 36.6 million adult Nigerians who are excluded at the moment, with 44.1 percent male and 55.9 percent female.

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The survey also disclosed that the country had a total adult population of 99.6 million, with 39.8 percent as the banked population, which translates to 39.7 million.

In line with the apex bank’s strategy, some commercial banks have introduced products aimed at promoting financial inclusion, educational development, and financial literacy to meet the 2020 target.

For instance, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has since launched a couple of innovative products such as FirstMobile, USSD, agent banking, and FirstBillsPay to enhance banking efficiency.

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The bank recently added a new scheme, FirstBank XploreFirst, a promotional campaign aimed at rewarding its youthful customers, in line with its financial inclusion and educational development drive.

Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, said the six-month promo, which kicked off on October 1, 2018 and ends in May, was a FirstBank savings account variant designed specifically for students between 18 and 29 years.

He said a minimum of N1, 000 was required to open the account and account holders were required to maintain a minimum balance of N200.

To participate in the promo, Ezirim said XploreFirst customers were encouraged to save or maintain a minimum amount of N10, 000 in their accounts during the promo period to be eligible for the scholarship raffle draw, and that incremental deposits of N10, 000 in the account entitled the account holder to multiple tickets for the raffle draw.

To this end, a total of 198 winners emerged from the promo with 18 account holders (three from each of the six geopolitical zones) rewarded with scholarships of N150, 000 at the final raffle draw totaling N2.7 million.

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The 18 account holders who won the N2.7 million scholarships were Chukwuebuka Ezugba, Oluwatunmise Olorunfemi and Michael Offiong for Lagos zone.

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North-Central: Patrick Oginni, Aliyu Muhammad, Confidence Umeh; North-East West: Razaq Ibrahim, Habiba Ibrahim, Abdullahi Mannir; South-East: Victoria Umo, Armstrong Akoma and Deborah Fubara.

South-South winners were Woyingi Kunoun, Shulammite Onyigabor, Stephen Okolo; South-West: Adenike Adekale,  Dorcas Agbakwuru and Oghogho  Onoigboria.

Also, the bank rewarded 180 account holders with N5, 000 (N900, 000) airtime as consolation prizes, five from each of the six geopolitical zones.

Ezirim said the initiative was targeted at the youth, especially those in tertiary institutions and the informal sector to enhance savings culture and drive financial inclusion across the country.

He noted that the initiative would be sustained by the bank in the future in line with the CBN financial inclusion mandate.

Also speaking, Olufemi Odumuboni, the bank’s Head, Youth/Women Banking, said the promo dynamics were centered at making people engage in financial discipline.

Odumuboni said winners were selected based on certain principles that made them eligible to qualify for the draw.

He explained that apart from the N2.7 million set aside for the yearly scholarships the bank had splashed about N900, 000 on customers that emerged winners at the various monthly draws for data purchase for their mobile phones.

To FBN Head, Retail Business & Community Banking, Mr Abiodun Famuyiwa, the bank embarked on the initiative due to its belief in the nation’s building.

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“We started this last year and the reason why FirstBank is driving this promo is because of our belief in the nation’s building.

“We cannot build a nation without the population, youths populism consists of over 50 percent of the population.

“And this population of youths we are targeting is those in the campuses, which are actually in need of some kind of support in their education, and this is one of the driving forces of the promo,” Famuyiwa said.

He also noted that the focus of the bank in organising the promo was to have more of the youths in the bank’s database, because traditionally, people associated FirstBank with old people.

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ENDSARS

IGP says protesters attacked 205 public, private facilities

Data collated when the #End SARS peaceful protest started indicated that 14 states recorded major violence.

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IGP orders immediate withdrawal of police officers attached to VIPs

The Nigerian Police Force has stated that about 205 critical national security assets, corporate facilities and private properties were razed down and vandalized during the EndSARS protest, which was hijacked by hoodlums and arsonists.

This was disclosed by Mr Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police, during a virtual conference of Senior Police Officers in Abuja, according to a news report by NAN.

Adamu disclosed that data collated between Oct. 11, when the #End SARS peaceful protest started as a demonstration, and Oct. 27, after it was hijacked by the vandals, indicated that 14 states recorded major violence.

He said that some of the states severely affected by this civil unrest are Lagos, Edo, Delta, Oyo, Kano, Plateau, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Abia, Imo, Ekiti, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The violence had resulted in attacks on critical national security infrastructure, other corporate and private properties, as well as injuries or fatalities to civilians, the police, and other security agents.

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What you should know

  • 71 public warehouses and 248 privately owned stores were looted in the course of the protests nationwide.
  • 51 civilian fatalities with 37 injured, and 22 policemen gruesomely murdered with 26 others injured were recorded during the protest.
  • 10 firearms, including 8 AK 47 rifles, were carted away during the attack on police stations, and a locally made pistol had been recovered from elements operating under the guise of the EndSARS protest.
  • 1,596 suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the violence and widespread looting across the country.

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Financial Services

Protecting your money from fraudsters

The ability to carry out transactions from the comfort of your homes, comes with the responsibility of safeguarding your money.

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Financial crisis is imminent in Nigeria -Dr. Segun Aina, Yahoo Yahoo

The advent of the cashless policy in Nigeria came as both a gift and a curse. On the plus side, one does not need to lug bags of cash around, especially for interstate transactions—just get depositors to transfer funds to your account, and you in turn, transfer to your business partners.

The policy has also made banks more innovative by creating various payment platforms that don’t need physical cash. Each bank has a robust mobile banking app where customers can transfer funds, subscribe for cable TV, book flights, buy airtime, etc., without entering a banking hall. For those without smart phones, the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) option is there. Even ATM cards have been upgraded to do more than pay cash. What a time to be alive!

However, with these strides in innovation, come the downsides—robbers have adapted with the times by moving from the highway and taking their “trade” online. The  various options open to customers for processing transactions can also be manipulated by thieves to defraud account holders of their hard-earned funds.

Hopefully, after reading this article, readers would be better armed to protect their funds from these “online robbers.”

1. Do not divulge sensitive account details to unknown callers

As surprising as it seems, many people still fall prey to this trick, despite several warnings. There have been many instances of people admitting that they received calls from unknown callers, who claim to be staff of various banks. They are told that their accounts require some form of upgrade\corrections, and to do this, information like ATM card PINs and PANs, and details of messages sent to the account owners’ phones are needed. The “bank staff” then creates mobile banking apps tied to the bank accounts of the unsuspecting owners, and from there, all funds are transferred to several unknown recipients.

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2. Protect card details

As already stated, ATM cards are not just used for cash withdrawals now—they can also be used for funds transfers, bills payments, online transactions, etc. this means that one does not necessarily need the physical presence of their card to process some transactions. With knowledge of the card Primary Account Number (PAN), which are the 16 digits displayed on the card’s surface, the Personal Identification Number (PIN), and Card Verification Value (CVV) number, displayed on the back of the card, funds can be moved from one’s account.

It is therefore important to protect these details, especially when using the card in public places like ATM lobbies, and POS machines. You should be equally careful not to call out such details, if absolutely necessary, within earshot of people.

3. Always keep your phone safe

Imagine mourning the loss of your phone, then having the added heartache of losing the funds in your bank account(s).

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The value of a phone goes beyond its price, these days. It contains private valued information of its owner, among which are bank account details; it also contains the SIM through which transaction alerts are received. The SIM makes it possible to process USSD transactions.

There have been instances where phones were given to repairmen, only for the owners to realise later that funds had been transferred from their accounts via USSD to unknown beneficiaries. Even relatives have been known to secretly steal funds from accounts, just by handling the owner’s phones.

Always keep your phone locked, and know where it is at all times.

4. Pay attention to transaction alerts

It is very easy to assume that all is well with one’s account, and not bother with checking transaction alerts. After all, it is what you withdrew that must have left the account, right? Wrong!

As explained above, funds could have left your account without your authorisation. So pay attention to your transaction alerts, especially the balances, and quickly investigate any transaction that was not initiated with your permission—the earlier the better, for quick resolution with your bank.

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Also note that the absence of alerts despite transactions could also be a red flag, as the SIM could have been swapped, giving fraudsters a free hand to run your account.

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5. Know the USSD code for instant account deactivation

Imagine the horror of receiving alerts showing that your account is being continuously debited as you helplessly watch it happen, especially during over weekend when banks are closed.

This doesn’t need to happen. Right from the first debit, you should be able to take action and deactivate your account to prevent further debits. This is why it is important to know the emergency code of each bank where your funds are kept. For example, with Zenith Bank, any phone can be used to enter USSD code *966*911#, provide your account number, and the number used to receive alerts, and the account gets instantly deactivated. After this, you can take your time to investigate the stolen money, instead of frantically running around to stop further debits.

It is also important to know the various ways to reach your bank during emergencies—get their customer care lines from their websites, and if they have chatbots, engage them; also know their email addresses. Getting your account officer’s number too is useful.

Conclusion

Apparently, with the ability to carry out transactions from the comfort of your homes, comes the responsibility of safeguarding your money (to an extent). These tips should make it easier to do so.

However, in a case where the money has already been stolen, contact your bank as soon as possible for investigation and possible recovery.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 30th of October 2020, 170 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 62,691 confirmed cases.

On the 30th of October 2020, 170 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 3,008 samples across the country.

To date, 62,521 cases have been confirmed, 58,249 cases have been discharged and 1,141 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 620,758 tests have been carried out as of October 30th, 2020 compared to 617,750 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 30th October 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 62,691
  • Total Number Discharged – 58,430
  • Total Deaths – 1,144
  • Total Tests Carried out – 620,758

According to the NCDC, the 170 new cases were reported from 11 states- Lagos (106), FCT (25), Oyo (14), Edo (7), Kaduna (7), Ogun (4), Bauchi (2), Benue (2), Kano (1), Osun (1), Rivers (1)

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 21,212, followed by Abuja (6,053), Plateau (3,630), Oyo (3,447), Rivers (2,810), Edo (2,664), Kaduna (2,648), Ogun (2,031), Delta (1,814), Kano (1,747), Ondo (1,666), Enugu (1,314),  Kwara (1,069), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (952), Osun (926), Abia (898), Gombe (883).  Borno (745), and Bauchi (713).

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Imo State has recorded 616 cases, Benue (493), Nasarawa (482), Bayelsa (412),  Ekiti (332), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (165), Taraba (146), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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