First Bank: Expanding customers’ access to loans




First Bank of Nigeria Limited has developed different loan products to enable her customers have access to loan without much stress to settle their pressing needs. AMAKA IFEAKANDU in this report looks at the entire products and their impacts on the bank’s customers

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic crippled business activities across the world and visited a lot of hardship on the people.

Although the nation’s economy is struggling to recover fully from the impact of the pandemic which hit the financial system in 2020, one of the major challenges affecting many people today revolves around raising funds to meet their pressing needs and daily obligations.

A lot of people have different reasons why they need more money in their pockets. But majority need additional funds to meet their daily needs, which include payment of school fees, payment of house rent, vehicle financing, house remodelling, wedding, burial arrangement, emergency expenses and vacation among others.

But before now, securing loans from a financial institution to cater for emergency expenses took longer time because of documentation process, provision of collateral and other stringent requirements.

Processing loan now

Interestingly, the situation has totally changed today as many salary account holders can easily secure loans to settle and offset some of their debts and other challenging bills.

For instance, a customer of First Bank operating a salary account for a period of six months to one year will have an opportunity to access loan effortlessly. The loan can be structured in such a way that the customer will pay back at the end of the month or it will be deducting directly from her salary account monthly.

First Bank model

To ensure customers meet their urgent needs, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and most valuable banking brand, has developed different products that will enable customers access quick loan to meet their respective problems in times of financial needs.

These products has helped to ease customers pressure in meeting their immediate and medium term goals. With support from the bank salary account holders can more than just receiving their monthly pay. Some of these accounts have inherent wealth that can be unlocked to help the customer achieve dreams that will make him/ her fulfilled on the job and be on top of situations at home and at work.

The bank loan products include , First Bank’s FirstAdvance, FirstCredit, Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS) and Salary Account.

First Bank’s FirstAdvance

FirstAdvance is a digital lending solution designed to offer convenient and easy access to cash for payroll customers awaiting payment of their salaries.

The product is designed for salary earners whose accounts are domiciled with FirstBank and have received regular salaries in the last six months or more.

Maximum amount to be accessed by customer is N500,000 subject to 50 per cent of net average three months salary, whichever is lower while the eligible amount will be calculated after deducting all other loan obligations to the bank. This product can be accessed through First Bank digital channels: FirstMobile and USSD.

Accessing FirstAdvance loan

To access the product, First Bank shall grant a salary advance called FirstAdvance to interested and eligible customers of the bank whose salaries accounts have domiciled with First Bank for a minimum of two months or salary earners willing to move their salary account to the bank.

To access the fund, customers must have salary account with FirstBank, loan amount up to 50 per cent of net monthly income will be received with 30 days tenor or next pay day.

The customers are to pay interest rate of 2.5 per cent flat which are collected upfront and maximum single obligor limit of N500,000 required.

The customer is also expected to pay management fee of 1.0 per cent flat and Credit Life Insurance of 0.50 per cent

According to the First Bank, the loan can be accessed up to three times a day subject to maximum eligible amount while the Risk Acceptance Criteria for FirstAdvance is automated.

On the repayment, the bank says the loan is taken immediately salary is received, while a lien is placed on unfunded account, adding that all fees, including Interest rate are collected upfront upon disbursement of the loan.

Other conditions

Further to this, the bank says the facility shall be secured with the irrevocable Domiciliation of Salary and Credit life insurance covering the risk of death/disability, and retrenchment of the Borrower within the tenor of the loan. Also required is the employer’s undertaking to domicile salaries and any other allowances, emoluments, entitlements and terminal benefits of employees to the Bank.

First Bank’s FirstCredit

FirstCredit is another First Bank product designed to provide customers with a quick and simple loan to fund their transactions. Such Loans can be accessed from anywhere without visiting the Bank.

The most interesting thing about this product is that it does not require documentation or collateral, The customer only requires a mobile phone or tablet.

The FirstCredit is easy and most convenient way to access loans to meet individual needs.

The product, apart from having no physical documentation, no collateral and no hidden fees, has quick loan request and disbursal

The features

Highlighting the features of the products, First Bank says customer’s account must have been operational in the bank for at least six months, it must be linked to a valid BVN, have correctly updated phone numbers and positive credit record with Credit Bureaus. The customer will be allowed to access minimum loan amounting to N1,000 and maximum loan of N300,000 with 30 days tennor, interest rate of 10 per cent flat and Insurance rate of one per cent per transaction.

The customer is also expected to pay a penal charge of 1 per cent monthly, a daily interest of 0.3 per cent applies upon default while interest on disbursed amount will be taken upfront on loan disbursal and Insurance fee is also taken upfront on loan disbursal

First Bank Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS)

FirstBank’s Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS) is yet another loan package created by First Bank of Nigeria to help salary earners access funds to solve their various problems and meet their obligations. The product also creates opportunities for salary accounts holders to unlock the wealth in their accounts

Group Head, Products & Marketing Support, FirstBank, Mr. Abiodun Famuyiwa,while listing the benefits of PLAS to customers says “salary account holders can access up to N30 million to help them pursue capital projects, carry out renovation works on their properties, acquire assets, give their children the best education and other fulfilling accomplishments. The scheme offers options to top-up and refinance existing loans at competitive rates. These flexible options were created to offer convenience and reward customer as we stay true to our brand promise of ‘YOU First’.”

Benefits

FirstBank’s Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS) will also help customers meet rent obligations, vacation trips to choice destinations and pay for professional examinations to take their career to the next level. With PLAS, Nigerian salary earners need to be assured of a funding partner in FirstBank to fulfill their dreams. PLAS is available to employees whose salary accounts are domiciled with FirstBank.

How to accessing PLAS

Accessing this loan does not require collateral, but not without preliminary documentation.

To access the loan, the customer needs to write an application letter to First Bank of Nigeria requesting to be granted this loan. Apart from that, he/she must be a salary earner whose salary account is domiciled with First Bank, complete a personal loan application form, present pay slip, statement of account and a letter detailing total emolument.

“There should be a confirmation of your employer on FBN approved list of employers Letter of irrevocable domiciliation of salary for the duration of the facility. Having completed the necessary documentation/forms, you will have to submit it at the nearest First bank branch to you for onward processing.”

Salary Accounts

Salary Account is the account operated by the bank’s customers to enable them receive salary at the end of the month. The major benefits of such account is that it has Zero opening balance, zero minimum daily operating balance, zero AMC charge, First Free Verve or Master Card Issuance and Access to consumer loans.

In all, FirstBank Nigeria Limited, since its establishment in 1894, has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimized risk management and leadership.

Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.