Adeduntan pitches robot as solution to financial fraud
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has inaugurated an innovation, ‘FirstBank Digital Xperience Centre’ at the University of Ibadan branch to reduce prevalent waves of fraud and forgery while making banking services more accessible to individuals without Internet services.
While inaugurating the state-of-the-art facility where a robot attends to customers and their inquiries, the Chief Executive Officer of the FirstBank, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said the system would be beneficial to students, staff and others in the neighbourhood of the University of Ibadan.
Stating the benefits of FirstBank Digital Xperience Centre, Adeduntan said: “The thinking behind this concept is that our customers can now conduct their banking services without having to interact with any human being. Some machines issue debit cards; there is the Robot that helps you to make inquiries. You can log into the Robot. You can make use of the Robot to open an account. You can use it to do funds transfer.
“You can even log into the Robot and ask it to block your account just in case you suspect any fraud in your account. You also have the cash recycler which is used if you want to deposit cash and you don’t want to go into the bank. You just need to put your cash into the machine and it will count, put in your account number and it will practically credit your account and issue you a receipt. That way, the complaints of ‘I deposited money but they didn’t count it well’, and so on, will disappear.
“So, it is the first of its kind. We are the first bank in Nigeria to have started this Digital Xperience Centre. The first one is located at our branch on Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. And we purposefully chose the branch at the University of Ibadan for this second location because of the very-long-standing relationship with the City of Ibadan and the University itself.”
We believe that the students, lecturers and all our customers in this neighbourhood will benefit significantly from it making use of this facility.
“One of the strategic reasons we did this is that people without Internet access can easily walk in here and use the machine to either open an account or transfer money on their own or issue a card. Let me say for example that you want to travel abroad and overnight you suddenly discover that your ATM card is about to expire and the following day is a Saturday when the branch will not open, and you are travelling on Sunday, you can come here using all your details and a new card will be issued to you, and that card will be effective. So, the days of customers getting stranded are gone. These centres put power in the hands of the customers”, the bank’s CEO said.
Against the fear that the innovation might lead to retrenchment in the banking sector, Adeduntan noted: “If at all, what this does is that it allows us to move our people to go and do services that are believed are more value-adding.
You know we do not hire clerks in the banking sector again. We hire graduates. Based on where technology is today, certain jobs ideally should not be given to a graduate to do. So, the more of those mundane work that you can give to technology to do, and get graduates to go and do more intellectually-driven work, the more value they will derive for themselves, and the more job satisfaction will come to play rather than asking them to come and do clerical work”, he explained.
The Group Executive Officer for Technology Digital Innovation and Banking Services for the bank, Calistus Obetta, also stressed the importance of the inauguration, saying: “Technology is changing the way we interact, the way we work, the way we think and the way we do business these days. It brings efficiency as it allows you to do your banking business anywhere, anytime, thus bringing convenience and saving precious time”, he said.
Speaking also, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, lauded FirstBank for its long-standing partnership with the premier university, saying he opened his first bank account as an undergraduate of the University in 1980 at UI First Bank branch.
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