First National Bank says its unique proposition of being a bank which will be innovative is catching up with Ghanaians since it started operating in Ghana a little less than five years ago.
“We started off with a determination to drastically reduce and if possible, eliminate, the reasons why people are compelled to drive through bumper-to-bumper traffic at great cost to productivity and the environment just to transact business in a banking hall,” Mr Delali Dzidzienyo, head of marketing and corporate communications, First National Bank Ghana said in an interview.
The bank promised to introduce products and services never before seen in the Ghanaian banking sector and nearly 60 months after the opening of its first branch at the Junction Mall in the east end of Accra.
“I know of countless cases where serious business executives have been literally forced to drive long distances to the bank, just to sign a paper to either transfer money or receive it. Many people didn’t like that and we are glad that we’ve been able to change that mentality, that culture,” he said.
Mr Dzidzienyo said: “Today, many are following our lead by introducing mobile apps and internet banking. In 2020, there are a lot of innovations in store for customers, which we hope will strengthen our position as the most innovative bank in Ghana today.”
“The answer from almost every one of the bank’s clients would most assuredly be an emphatic ‘yes’. That sort of response should not come as a surprise to even the most casual observer of the Ghanaian banking scene,” he said.
“First National Bank Ghana Limited, with South Africa’s FirstRand Group as its parent company, did not come to Ghana with the cacophonous bells and whistles which usually accompany many a new entrant. We started with just one small branch but a big vision to become one of the most preferred banking institutions in Ghana on the wings of a promise to become a leader in banking innovation,” he said.
The bank he said had shown the way with technology, products and services that made it utterly unnecessary for customers to enter its single banking hall.
“For example, First National Bank introduced Geo Payment, the first on the market is an electronic payment system that enables its customers to send and receive money when in proximity with other customers of the bank. The service allows seamless transfer of money with a mobile phone without having to input the recipient’s bank details,” he said.
One of these innovations he said was the bank’s ability to use its world-class, tried and tested agency banking model to support the Ghana government’s financial inclusion drive, bringing banking services to the doorsteps of as many Ghanaians as possible.
“The model is somehow an extension of the bank’s philosophy to operate and maintain as few brick and mortar facilities as possible by using digital technology and community banking agents to enable people who otherwise would be keeping cash under their beds to access affordable and helpful banking services,” he said.
Under the initiative, he explained that the bank would partner with existing businesses in various communities to set up agencies which would offer a range of banking services to customers.
” It is expected that the successful rollout of the agency banking service will help increase the bank’s footprints across the country and provide convenient banking to existing and future customers. These agencies will provide almost all of the suite of services customers may want to access from any of the bank’s seven branches in the Accra-Tema metropolis – that is if they ever feel the need to go into a branch,” he said.
“Contactless payments offer substantial benefits in an era where consumers and retailers want to avoid long queues and the risk of fraud or card theft,” Hannah Annobil-Acquah, First National Bank’s Head of Retail Banking said.
“We are creating an enabling safe ecosystem for retailers to match consumer appetite by enabling and promoting the contactless acceptance footprint in the retail environment. And that’s a very useful and helpful ‘first’ from First National Bank.”