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First Bank targets 30m customers, 70% digital transactions by 2019

By Babajide Komolafe & Adaeze Okechukwu

FIRST Bank Nigeria Limited has said that it will achieve 30 million customer base and 70 per cent digital banking transactions by 2019.

Managing Director/Chief Executive, FirstBank Limited, Dr. Adesola Adedutan disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Vanguard Newspaper.

Speaking on efforts to return the bank to profitability and address the bank’s huge non-performing loans (NPL) problem, Adedutan said that the current management has commenced execution of a three year strategy that will reduce NPLs to regulatory threshold as well as grow the customer base. He said: “The strategy is focused on significantly growing our customer base. We plan on having minimum of 30 million customer account over the three years. We are currently at about 14 million customer accounts. Our commitment is that, given the number of branches that we already have, which is slightly below 750, we don’t intend to make additional significant investments in building new branches.

“We are left with aggressive digital marketing initiatives, which means, migrating our existing and new customers to alternative channels, namely First Online, Firstmobile, USSD and ATM cards. That is the way forward for us and we are making significant progress already. Based on the figures of the last quarter of 2016, 47 per cent of the transaction volumes carried out by our customers was done via alternative channels.”

“We aim at increasing this figure to 70% by 31st of December 2019. This will be very significant because that’s when we plan on achieving the 30million customer account minimum. We are walking towards a situation where, when we complete our current strategic cycle which is 2017-2019, we would have brought the NPL within the CBN’s approved threshold.”

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