Tuesday, June 11, 2013

First Bank resumes operations

Customers of First Bank Limited on Monday expressed relief following the commencement of operations by the financial institution five days after it closed its over 700 branches nationwide.
The shutdown of the branches from Thursday to early Monday was to enable the bank to upgrade its core banking application from Finacle 7 to Finacle 10 so as to facilitate easier and faster customer services experience.

Customers, who had difficulties using the alternative channels provided by the bank to carry out their normal banking transactions during the period of the closure, trooped to different branches on Monday.
Our correspondent, however, observed in some of the branches visited that normal banking operations had fully resumed.
A customer at the Ikeja Central Business District branch, Mr. Francis Ilemobayo, said it was too early to assess the effectiveness of the migration to the new platform since Monday was the first day that it would be put to test.
Another customer at the Lagos Airport Road branch, Mrs. Emily Acholonu, said she was left stranded on Saturday as she could not transfer money to her customer in Enugu because the Automated Teller Machines and online banking did not work.
She advised other banks to always carry out such system upgrades on weekends so as not to cause serious disruption to customers’ businesses.
First Bank said in a statement on Monday that it had successfully concluded its upgrade to the Finacle 10 banking application, thereby paving the way for enhanced services and bespoke financial solutions for its customers across the globe.
The Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, First Bank, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, said in the statement that it had resumed normal operations after the successful upgrade, which she stressed marked the beginning of a new era of enhanced customer experience and service excellence in the bank.
Ani-Mumuney said the bank was particularly grateful to customers for their patience and understanding during the upgrade process.
She said, “We are delighted to inform our customers that the Finacle 10 banking application is now live and we will like to express our gratitude to our customers all over the world for the opportunity we have to serve them.
“The upgrade has put us on a higher pedestal of service excellence as we pledge our continued resolve to serving our customers with passion and cutting edge technology.”
A senior official of the bank had earlier told our correspondent that the hitches witnessed on the alternative channels during the period of shutdown were as a result of the fact that over five million customers were trying to use the channels at the same time.
When contacted, the Director, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Ugo Okoroafor, said the bank was unlikely to have suffered significant loss during the closure because it professionally communicated its plans to the customers, the regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.
He said, “In every human endeavour that progress is desired, there will be occasional pains. First Bank has taken its processes to another level with the platform upgrade and customers will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
“With the way it handled the publicity, customers and regulatory authorities were kept in the picture. What has happened is that the payment system is being improved upon.”


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