First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has taken another major leap in the retail and mobile banking segments of the Nigerian financial services industry. It has launched a new product called FCMB Easy Account. Described as banking made accessible to all, a significant and value-added feature of this product is that the telephone numbers of the customers, without the first digit, serve as their respective account numbers. The Account is an enhanced version of its *329# Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform.
In a statement, the Bank explained that FCMB Easy Account has been designed to make banking accessible to all Nigerians and will help to achieve the laudable goal of financial inclusion for most Nigerians as set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It is a product open to all, particularly to meet the needs of low-income earners and the unbanked segment of the society. It enables the account holders have access to convenient and secured financial services, irrespective of their locations.
The Bank stated that the self-service, stress-free and secured FCMB Easy Account, available on all the Global System for Mobile (GSM) networks in Nigeria, (Globacom, MTN, 9Mobile and Airtel), enables everyone anywhere in Nigeria open an FCMB Easy account from his or her location, by dialing *329# from their mobile phones and following the instructions. The development enables Nigerians who wish to open accounts and carry out banking transactions on their mobile phones do so from any location-rural, urban and remote, even if there are no banks physically located at the area. Internet service availability which has been a major constraint to mobile banking service access is not required for FCMB Easy Account as the account operates on the USSD platform.
FCMB Easy Account customers can send and receive money to and from friends, families and business partners across all banks in Nigeria. FCMB Easy Account customers can also deposit funds into their accounts at more than 100,000 agents and banking locations of FCMB and other banks and mobile money operators in Nigeria. FCMB Easy account customers can also use their accounts for airtime purchase, bill payments and other payments.
FCMB’s Managing Director Mr. Adam Nuru, commenting on the new offering said what the Bank has unveiled is a part of its long-term strategic plan to embark on a digital transformation initiative where it aspires to scale business operations, build capabilities and find the best way to simplify banking for customers, using technology.
The CEO, who was represented by the Bank's Executive Director, Finance, Mrs. Yemisi Edun, said, "Every day we are developing digital innovations and ideas that will make our relationship with our customers seamless in so many areas including Channels Management among others. FCMB Easy Account is one of such innovative offerings that make Banking services available across all informal segments, particularly the unbanked. It is banking made easy. All you need is to own any type of mobile phone, and you do not even necessarily need to buy data”, Nuru reiterated.
The Executive Director, Retail Banking of FCMB, Mr. Olu Akanmu, also commenting, said the FCMB Easy Account forms part of the Bank’s core strategy to innovate and expand its service channels by promoting and deepening financial inclusion and the cashless policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
‘’The FCMB Easy account helps to achieve the goal of national financial and social inclusion, where all Nigerians have access to formal financial services and its benefits, no matter their situation or location. In FCMB, we are determined to be a critical part of the effort to create a more inclusive society of shared prosperity, where all Nigerians, informal traders, micro SMEs and small holder farmers in agriculture are connected to the shared prosperity that formal financial services engender", he stated.
In his comment, Mr. George Ogudu of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN's Strategy and Financial Inclusion Secretariat, commended FCMB for taking the lead in developing the product in the Nigerian banking industry. While endorsing the FCMB Easy Account, he stated that, "FCMB has taken a giant stride to prove its commitment to bring more Nigerians into the Banking industry with the launch of this product. The fact that it is targeted at those who have never owned a bank account and serves as a convenient opportunity for these category of Nigerians to do so is very laudable. We consider this as a further monumental support towards the full realization of the CBN's financial inclusion initiative. We appreciate FCMB for consistently being very innovative and our partners in progress".