by Jewel Stephen
As one of Nigeria’s foremost financial institutions, First Bank of Nigeria is known for putting its customers first with innovative products and services that suit their everyday needs. This proposition embedded in its YouFirst pay-off line extends to the bank’s money transfer services, a service which the institution pioneers in Nigeria.
In 1996, FirstBank and Western Union partnered to launch the latter’s money transfer services in Nigeria. Apart from a smooth running of the Western Union Money Transfer service for the past 18 years in Nigeria, in 2015, the service will be 20 years old in Africa.
Money Transfer services in Nigeria are safe, secure and credible. This is demonstrated in the volume of remittances (transactions) the country received in 2013, which stands at an impressive 21 billion USD (this includes wire transfers, informal and transfers through Western Union, MoneyGram etc). This singular fact makes Nigeria the 5th largest recipient of remittances in the world.
As simple as remittances may appear, they are important to developing economies (such as Nigeria) for the following reasons:
- Remittances are complement to aids granted to developing economies, sometimes more than international development aids
- Remittances are bigger than private capital flows/FDIs and as such aids in the development of the economy.
- Remittances even though impacted by the Global financial crisis still survived the shock more than Foreign Direct Investment.
- Remittance helps to save lives through direct support by providing for loved ones in remote areas of the world.
FirstBank has also expended heavily in network visibility for money transfer services by opening for business 7days a week, Public Holidays inclusive. FirstBank also pioneered the dollar payout in Nigeria for money transfer services, aggressively creating awareness for the service amongst customers while rewarding patronage and loyalty.
The continuous efforts of FirstBank in this regard have not gone unnoticed, as the bank has bagged some prestigious awards for experience and investment such as: Western Union Productivity Award for EMEASA Region, Western Union 500 Highest Improvement Award, Western Union Best Agent Infrastructure, and Money Gram Best Receive Agent.
In order to curb fraudulent activities and transactions, FirstBank in Partnership with Money Transfer Operators have come up with some initiatives which include: discontinuation of pay without ID, restriction of payment to strictly the provision of MTCN (Hitherto, search of transfers with either sender or receiver’s name), regular annual training of their operators, introduction of 2nd level authentication for payment (pin pads), introductions of streamlined payout procedures, introduction of forced payment for transactions that were not paid, as well as Strict compliance with CBN directive on transaction payment to account holders or individuals identified by account holders.
First Bank of Nigeria’s experience in Money Transfer service offerings, has led various Money Transfer operator partnerships with the bank to introduce the Outbound Service which enables customers send funds abroad to their relatives and loved ones.
As of today, FirstBank remains the only agent offering the Western Union Outbound service and RIA Outbound Service. The Outbound service is also available for MoneyGram via NaijaSends. The Bank is also implementing some variants of the service which include Mobile Money Transfer and Account Based Money Transfer.
FirstBank’s relentless pursuit of innovation in money transfer services is second to none, as the bank offers an option where a beneficiary can receive transferred funds directly as a credit to his or her account. This service which is available for both Transfast and RIA money transfers, assists in reducing and even eliminating the rate of funds ‘hijacked’ by fraudulent persons, overall making the process a cashless one while putting the customer first!
All these laudable initiatives point to the fact that customers of FirstBank remain at the heart of the bank’s money transfer services and are guaranteed safe and secure transactions as they make use of this service. Full details of various First Bank of Nigeria’s money transfer services are available on www.firstbanknigeria.com .