Chineme Okafor in Abuja
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has initiated a partnership with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) which would see it establish agent banking services at bus parks across Nigeria, and subsequently drive up financial inclusion in the country.
FBN said recently that the move would bring banking services closer to operators of commercial vehicles at various parks in Nigeria, starting from Abuja, then to other bus parks in the country.
Speaking at the official inauguration of the First Bank Agent Banking and NURTW Partnership programme at the Jabi Motor Park in Abuja, FirstBank’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, said a lot of business activities take place in motor parks, and the bank considered it necessary to bring banking services closer to the parks.
Shobo, explained that the initiative would enable operators in the parks save more money, keep their funds away from incidences of highway robberies, and equally make it easy for both operators and passengers to transact.
Represented by the bank’s Regional Head, Shehu Aliyu, Shobo added, “Commercial motor parks in Nigeria are a beehive of activities, both economically and socially. So, we are bringing banking services to operators in these commercial bus parks, which will enable drivers to save more money.
“As a result, we are introducing the Driver Savings Account which comes with a lot of benefits that will, of course, encourage drivers to save and earn more. So, we urge drivers to take advantage of this opportunity.” He explained that the bank was pleased to partner the NURTW and that the agent banking services was being inaugurated simultaneously in six parks in six states across the country comprising Kano; Aba in Abia; Maiduguri in Borno; Lagos; and Port Harcourt.
According to him, “We are flagging off the commencement of agent banking business in motor parks in partnership with the NURTW and this is commencing in six locations simultaneously.
“With this initiative, a commuter or user of any of these parks will be able to open an account instantly at the parks.
“People can now make cash deposits instantly at parks and drivers too can deposit the money they collect from passengers immediately at the parks instead of travelling long distances with it. This initiative will also protect people from the risk of carrying money around.”
He said the bank was starting with about six agent pilot schemes and that the plan was to cover all the motor parks nationwide within a period of time, adding that parts of the benefits to the drivers would be insurance coverage from FBN’s affiliate insurance firm.
In his address, NURTW President, Mr. Usman Yasin, said the union had been planning the programme since the past two years, but was only able to actualise it with FirstBank
Yasin, called on members of the group in all parks in Nigeria, “to go and register with First Bank in order to benefit from this laudable initiative.”