Modern Information Communication Technology and the tools that come with it now facilitate, and some would say dictate, the nature of nearly every interaction. From how friendships are made through how social groups and events are organised to how million dollar companies are run, technology rules all. Like nearly every other modern endeavour, banking is not immune to the disruption of technology. As the consumer becomes used to and demands ever more convenient ways of accessing services, banks have had to find ways to adjust and deliver their services in ways that do not intrude in the packed days of their customers. For a rising number of banks, the mobile bank is the way to be always available to their customers without literally sending an advisor to live with and follow the customer around, attending to their every financial demand.
FBNBank, the Ghanaian subsidiary of the 125-year-old First Bank of Nigeria Limited, as part of its digital banking strategy, which aims to leverage new and evolving technologies to facilitate access to everyday financial services for consumers and businesses alike presented convenience and accessibility to its customers through a mobile application that is available on Android’s Play store and the IoS App store.
In the changing environment, you could argue that there is little choice for a modern bank like FBNBank when it comes to digital offerings. Digital banking is after all, the focus of many a bank that understand that the customer does not really want to travel through traffic, or even be placed on hold for five minutes while waiting for a bored advisor to pry around and reveal his or her bank balance. Digital offerings such as a mobile application mean that a bank is never really ever closed; it is always present, unobtrusively accompanying the account holder on his or her travels, to their business meetings, at the beach and even by the bedside.
But FBNBank, a trailblazer in many ways, is not just trying to add to the numbers. While its application ticks all the usual boxes such as unlimited, twenty-four-hour access to your account from wherever you are, FBNBank intends for its digital banking offering to be more than just another way for them to satisfy modern banking demands. Visiting Country Head, Technology & Services at FBNBank Ghana Limited, Rachel Adeshina says “mobile phones have dominated the lives of the people in a short term. According to Matt Galligan, Co-founder of Circa, the future of mobile is the future of everything. So with FBN Mobile, we meet our customers in the environment of their choice, providing convenience and putting banking in their hands.” She added that “FBN Mobile is therefore packed full of features for security and convenience with anticipation of the customer’s demands and provide the full experience of brick and mortar banking. For example, unlike others like it, the FBN Mobile application allows users to generate transaction receipts that can be shared with the other party in the transaction. No more do you have to struggle to convince the supplier you just paid that you have in fact, sent the money; book no lie.”
Rachel underscored that for added convenience, “the app allows you to save the details of the accounts that you interact with the most.” That means that you do not have to key in the details of your daughter, business partner or vendor every time you have to send money to them – it would be mere taps away from opening the app.
The FBN mobile application is also integrated with mobile money services and users can send money from their account to their preferred service, granting an extra layer of convenience and flexibility. Future updates to the application will allow users to move money from their mobile money wallets into their bank accounts.
The application also serves as a line of communication with the bank. Whenever there is an announcement to be shared with customers, as banks often have to, it will be pushed through the application.
For the security conscious, which today means all of us, the application provides a two-step log in process that would disallow even the most determined digital bandit. A five-digit MPIN is required to access the application but for actual transactions on the app, you need a different four-digit pin. This extra barrier means that unless you actually want to hand over control of your funds, it is virtually impossible for another person to access them. You also get to set your own security question and answer, as opposed to choosing from a pre-set list, making it more difficult for someone else to guess. To prevent cloning, screenshots are disallowed on the app. Added to this are modern state of the art security features that protect user data from hostile attacks and discovery.
For FBNBank which has been operating in Ghana for the past 23 years, hitherto as International Commercial Bank, the digital path is one that the bank is determined to travel down with its customers. Going forward, it would be interesting to see what else the bank comes up with and how it compares with other offerings on the market. For current and potential customers of FBNBank however, it looks to be the beginning of a digital roller coaster. Better buckle up!