By Babajide Komolafe, Economy Editor
After operating for over 128 years with awards and recognitions to show for its commitments and accomplishments in banking, corporate philanthropy, socio-economic development, support to businesses and commercial activities, FirstBank is showing no signs of stopping or slowing down. In the first five months of this year, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has been in the news for all the right reasons and the recognitions and awards have been pouring in, literally.
Among the numerous recognitions and awards that have been received so far in 2022 are 10 awards which highlight FirstBank’s outstanding role in driving national, regional and global economic growth and development through constructive engagements with both public and private sectors in communities and economies across the globe. Top on the list of awards is the recognition and listing of FirstBank as a Superbrand. Superbrand International conferred on FirstBank the Superbrand Award 2022 for “maintaining a formidable brand perception for 128 years”.
This global recognition is one the local banking industry and indeed the whole nation can be proud of as it puts Nigeria on the world map of countries with longstanding and stable banking sectors.
The feat by the same bank which was the first Nigerian company to feature on CNN 100 Club, is very much in keeping with the pedigree of FirstBank. Since its establishment in 1894, the bank has consistently played a pioneering role in driving socio-economic growth and innovation, introducing to its customers that it puts at the heart of its business, innovative products, services and initiatives hitherto unknown in Nigeria’s banking industry, such as the automated teller machine (ATM) and agency banking.
Besides the Superbrand award, FirstBank’s trove of trophies was further boosted by awards that recognised its pole position in Nigeria’s financial services sector and the strides it was making in terms of digital transformation, customer service, corporate banking and corporate social responsibility (CSR). International Investor Awards recognised FirstBank as Best Bank in Nigeria for the year 2022. This followed an independently conducted survey and data retrieved from Thomson Reuters. Relying on the same survey and data from Thomson Reuters, International Investor Awards also presented FirstBank with Best Banking Digital Transformation in Nigeria for the year 2022.
For the Best Bank in Nigeria award, the International Investor Awards considered FirstBank’s leadership role as Nigeria’s premier banking institution and leading financial inclusion services provider in promoting financial inclusion in the country.
This is because the bank’s role has been critical to stimulating economic activities, supporting businesses and improving lives across the country. With over 800 business locations and over 160,000 banking (Firstmonie) Agents spread across 772 of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank has been doing far much more than any other deposit money bank in the country to drive financial inclusion.
The Best Bank in Digital Transformation award took cognisance of FirstBank’s continued efforts at reinventing its digital banking channels and driving a cashless society by enabling customers enjoy secured and seamless digital banking experiences. FirstBank offers an array of options in terms of digital banking channels that spoil the customer for choice.
Customers can use the recently unveiled fully automated branch (FirstBank Digital Experience Centre), *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile (mobile banking), FirstOnline (online banking) and WhatsApp banking, among others.
Particularly delighted by the awards by International Investor Awards, Mrs Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications at FirstBank, did not hesitate to dedicate the awards to “our esteemed customers spread across the world for their unflinching patronage of our services through our 128 years of existence.” She added: “As a bank that is woven into the fabric of society, we remain committed to ensuring that our customers enjoy safe, secure and advanced financial services as they seamlessly carry out their banking transactions on the go, irrespective of where they are,” she concluded.
Digital Banker Award was convinced that it was in customer service that FirstBank stood out the most and conferred the bank with the Best Digital Bank in CX award. Global Banking and Finance Award decided that it was in corporate banking and CSR that FirstBank stood head and shoulders above other financial services players. Best Corporate Banking Western Africa 2022 and Best CSR Bank Western Africa 2022 were the two awards Global Banking and Finance Award presented to FirstBank as a result.
The latter award by Global Banking and Finance Award was premised on FirstBank’s SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness) Initiative and its robust implementation of the Initiative across West Africa. Its operations in Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal, (besides operations in London and Paris through FBNBank (UK) Limited, the Democratic Republic of Congo through FBNBank DRC and China through its Representative Office in Beijing), meant that FirstBank was poised to rapidly scale any programme initiated in Nigeria across Africa.
Like bank, like CEO, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, also picked up a number of awards during the first half of the year. The awards were presented to him for his leadership, transforming impact on the institution and standing as a banking icon. Leadership Newspaper took cognisance of Adeduntan’s role in introducing banking services to the underserved hinterlands and bestowed on him Leadership Banker of the Year award.
The African Leadership Organisation conferred on Adeduntan the African Leadership Legacy Award while Capital Finance International recognised him as the Best Commercial Bank Executive 2022. The Sun Newspaper considered Adeduntan’s role in transforming FirstBank and presented him with the Banking Icon of the Decade award.
In line with the saying “the reward for hard work is more work”, FirstBank and its CEO, Adeduntan, should brace up for more work. But they should do so with the informed knowledge gained from the institution’s very own experience that shows that the reward for hard work is not more work only but more work coupled with recognitions and awards.
More work for FirstBank has led to more recognitions and awards, which in turn have opened the door to yet more work that have brought yet more recognitions and awards. It has become a never-ending virtuous cycle of work, more work, recognitions and awards.
This has been the story of FirstBank. And even after 128 years of continuous operations, there is no sign the story is about to change. Why? Because the world rewards the hard-worker with more work, the star performer with more opportunity to perform, the diligent project executioner with more projects to execute and the award-winning bank with more recognitions and awards so it can keep putting its customers first and have its trove of trophies continuously bursting at the seams.