As part of efforts to improve its digital banking operation, FirstBank Nigeria Limited recently launched the What Chat Banking platform, writes Ugo Aliogo
“We have optimised our digital banking offerings to ensure ease of banking and convenience; our FirstMobile app, Firstonline, FirstMonie and USSD banking are some of the channels we have put in place to make this happen.
“FirstBank Chat Banking on Whatsapp is our latest addition. We have gone Live with this product and I am pleased to formally introduce this product to our media partners today.”
When the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, gave the above statement, he was not trying to chronicle an episode in movie, but to tell the success story of his financial institutions in the country in the digital banking space.
The excerpt was part of his presentation during the WhatsApp Chat Banking Launch in Lagos recently.
The WhatsApp chat banking platform is a recent innovation introduced by the bank to drive excellent financial services to their esteemed customers.
Adeduntan, explained that the FirstBank chat banking on whatsApp is another significant milestone in the bank’s mission to provide convenient and fast payment solutions to their customers.
He said: “FirstBank Chat Banking on WhatsApp is another significant milestone in our mission to provide convenient and fast payment solutions to our customers.
“It is one of the ways FirstBank puts You First and enables you stay connected with your contacts, loved ones, friends and finances all on the GO whilst you chat with them because at FirstBank we are driven to bolster relationships on all fronts anywhere and anytime.”
The FirstBank boss further noted that the WhatsApp platform is one of the ways the bank is putting the customer first.
He also said the platform enables the customer to stay connected with your contacts, loved ones, friends and finances all on the go, adding that whilst the customer chats with their contacts, “because at FirstBank we are driven to bolster relationships on all fronts anywhere and anytime.”
Adeduntan added that it was a new channel for customers to access their services; a convenient way to make payment and an easy-to-use banking application.
He expressed confidence that banking with FirstBank on WhatsApp is secure, accessible and convenient, noting that customers can carry out basic banking transactions such as inter and intra bank funds transfer, pay bills, buy airtime, buy data and check your account balance on your WhatsApp platform.
According to him, “You will be able to generate a WhatsApp banking PIN and all your transaction authentications will be done using a safe link, thereby ensuring the security of your banking details.
“What is our rationale for doing this? We will be 125 years celebration anniversary of our bank. There is something unique about our institution. It is the ability to reinvent ourselves continuously, as the market in which we operate also continuous to evolve.
“You will recall that not only are we the oldest bank, we are the longest existing cooperated entity. Engrained in the DNA of our bank, the ability to rapidly reinvent ourselves and ensure that as far the developments in the market are concerned, we are in the forefront of those changes.
“Since the advent of digital technology, we have been playing a very pivotal role in this space. Today, I state with a lot of pride our achievement when it comes to the USSD Code, where we currently have 6.3 million customers and we are clearly number.
“When you look at the volume of businesses that we process on our USSD platforms, it is second to none. Not only do we have customers, we also have the fund and capital. When I look at the breakthrough achievements we have made in the area of agency banking, it is also second to none.
“This is an area where a lot of banks in the country have attempted to make headway, but has not been successful, as speak today, First Bank agents are spread all over the country, we are in 754 local Government Area, which is almost 90 percent of the 774 Local Government Areas. The only Local Government Areas where we are not available are places where they have security issues.
“Again, for us at First Bank, staying at the cutting edge of innovation and technology are synonymous with our DNA. First bank digital lab is integral part of our business and we will give all the resources that is needed to strive. This is the first and among the many innovative products that we are working on.
“Our strategic is that on a regular basis, there will be new things that we will be introducing to the market that will keep our customers very happy. The entire customer journey ensures that the quality of experience whenever the customers come in contact with us is excellent. We stand here and commit to exceeding our customers’ expectations from time.
In his remarks, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Francis Shobo, said there are various segments of the market, adding that for convenience, it was important to focus on the youths, who are on WhatsApp always.
He stated that they are consistently looking for what their customers are doing and the channel that are most convenient for them to do transaction.
“You don’t want them to leave one channel and go to another channel; you want to encourage them to use the channel they are used to start doing banking transaction. We are consistently looking for what our customers are doing and the channel that are most convenient for them to do transaction,” he noted.
Also speaking, the Team Lead Product Design, FirstBank Digital Lab, Munachi Duru, said with WhatsApp platform, customers would be able to make couple of transactions, check their balance, buy airtime, send to both first bank and non-first bank accounts, and buy data.
He also noted that they have also introduced a much secured process for customer’s accounts for digital transactions by ensuring that customers’ pin are entered secured securely that way, “the pin is not exposed to anyone who may pick up your phone.”
Duru explained that what the bank has done using the platform is that instead of going through the lists of all the banks, all the customer needs to do is to enter their account number, select the bank they are transferring, select the amount transferring and then click on the link to authenticate the process.
According to Duru: “With the WhatsApp platform, you will be able to make couple of transactions, check your balance, buy airtime, send to both first bank and non-first bank accounts, and buy data.
“We have also introduced a much secured process for our accounts for digital transactions by ensuring that your pin is entered secured securely that way, the pin is not exposed to anyone who may pick up your phone. “What we have done here is that instead of going through the lists of all the banks, all you need to do is to enter the account number, select the bank you are transferring, select the amount you are transferring and then click on the link to authenticate the process.”
From the event, it was learnt that the WhatsApp being the most used and informed messenger platform in the country, informed the bank’s decision to invest it to drive digital banking.
The platform has helped the bank to take that banking businesses down to the place where the customers are having discussion about the money. The bank is concerned about the security of customers as a result; the platform is vested in the security of customers to ensure that the transactions, starting from on-boarding process is secured end to end.