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FIRSTBANK INTERVIEW “FirstBank has continued to evolve from traditional banking to providing digital led innovative banking to Nigeria”

Exclusive interview with Temitayo Osundosumu, Role: Group Head, Upstream and Midstream Energy at FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, platinum sponsors at Nigeria Mining Week 2023.

Let’s start with some background on your company, what your services entail and where in the world you are active?

FirstBank of Nigeria Limited is the premier bank in West Africa. It was established in 1894 as the Bank of British West Africa and with over 36 million customers being served from over 190,000 business locations, the Bank has remained the leading banking services solutions provider in Nigeria. FirstBank currently has footprints across 3 continents – Europe, Asia and Africa operating through its subsidiary banks – FBN UK Ltd ((with a branch in Paris), FBNBank subsidiaries in Ghana, The Gambia, Senegal, DRC, Sierra Leone, Guinea and a representative office in China.

Any specific projects or success stories that you are particularly proud of and want to share?

The Shanta Gold Mine owned by a UK listed company in Tanzania was developed, constructed and upsized to production of almost 100,000 ounce per annum concluded via FBNBank UK financing. This speaks to our capacity to support good assets in our environment.

Where in Africa are you focusing for future growth?

FirstBank is poised to support development and revenue generation from the mining industry across Africa. With its presence in Nigeria (the group office) and subsidiaries in Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, DRC, The Gambia and Sierra Leone, the Bank will continue to support the growth and development of mining industries and special projects across Africa through the provision of specialized lending and financial solutions.

How important is Nigeria for your company? And the mining industry in particular?

Nigeria has served as home for FirstBank for over 128 years and we boast of our heritage in Nigeria as proudly woven into the fabric of the society. FirstBank has continued to evolve from traditional banking to providing digital led innovative banking to Nigeria. The mining industry is no exception in the scheme of transformation that has continued to take place in Nigeria. It is a large market and FirstBank is committed to ensuring its success through the provision of bespoke financial solutions aimed at growing the industry.

How did Covid impact your operations? What did you learn from the pandemic?

The COVID pandemic took its toll on the nation’s economy at large. However, as a Bank, we are glad to have waded through and demonstrated the resilient spirit synonymous with the FirstBank Brand. For instance, for the first time, in 2021, we crossed the N100billion profit line with N130billion PAT for the 2021 financial year (this was an impressive 77% increase over 2020 FY result). The pandemic has shown that there are opportunities for growth even in the face of adverse situations. Once the business is positioned on a growth trajectory with the right products and right staff with an agile approach, results will be sterling.

What is your vision for your operations in Nigeria and the region? Are there particular challenges?

At FirstBank, our vision is to be Africa’s Bank of first choice. We aim at being top of mind for every sector, and across various businesses, as their leading financial service provider. With the constant changes in policies that encourage intra and inter continent trading, what used to be the challenges are gradually falling off and opportunities for growth are increasing by the day.

What surprises you about the mining industry?

The industry is extremely dynamic as unlike the oil sector which has consistent features, every mineral has its nuances which require strong expertise to be able to provide coverage across the value chain. While we are also developing ourselves in this sector we are proud that we have good background and understanding plus skillsets internally to support its growth in Nigeria.

What will be your message at the upcoming Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja?
FirstBank is open for mining business across the value chain in Nigeria

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