With the launch of the Firstmonie platform in September 2012 by the largest bank in Nigeria First bank Plc with the aim of providing banking services to customers in Nigeria and anyone with mobile phone to enjoy financial services such as paying of bills, top up of their phone airtime, do shopping, deposit and withdraw cash without the need of visiting any of her branches, the platform which had the slogan ” Firstmonie is the new money” which connotes the vision of the service and had all the major telecommunication companies duly represented as major stake holder.
Just like such other services, the Firstmonie service was left to run in the already saturated major cities across the country while the supposed beneficiaries were either left with no access to it or were not fully aware of its operations and gains. This narratives seem to be changing fast as the bank has re-energized her approach through agency banking directed at the communities. This new method which is a win win situation for the operator and her agents as commissions are shared based on a stipulated sharing percentage while the original aim is targeted as several agency banking have been seen opening within several communities providing the financial services .
An agent that pleaded anonymity said that the good thing with the agency banking is that once you are certified by the bank you are allowed to drive it on ones initiative thereby making it very competitive for the agents by targeting various communities desirous of such services. He also said that the business require just an Android smart phone with data to commence with or without necessarily having an office space.
The bank on her part has designed a feed back mechanism of regularly meeting with the agents to identify grey areas of the business and ways to assist her agents. To the communities where the usual challenges of ATM can now heave a sigh of relieved knowing that the agency banking is come to bridge the gap of lack of banking services. With this new approach, First bank will obviously truly the first in community banking in a short while.