Brand Finance plc, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy based in the UK had, last month released the result of its survey that ranked banks in each economy and which also made a cumulative global bank ranking. The ranking was based on brand value, with the results reflecting industry trends and indicating future developments.
Brand Finance employed the methodology of discounted cash flow technique to discount estimated future royalties at an appropriate rate to arrive at a net present value of a bank’s trademark and associated intellectual property, which is the brand value that is used in the ranking.
In the ranking, First Bank Nigeria retained the number one banking brand in Nigeria in the Top 500 World Banking Brands. The bank was also ranked 414 in the world, closely followed by Guaranty Trust Bank at 415 while Zenith Bank was ranked 454. It would be recalled that First Bank also emerged number one banking brand in Nigeria in 2011 among the four banks that made the 2012 ranking. Only Nigeria and South Africa are the African countries that made the Top 500 banks by total brand value among the countries of the world.
For First Bank at 120 years but still strong and looking fresh, attractive and accommodating, it has been constant innovation and re-invention of itself, the workforce, customer relations and continuous adoption of new processes in its unremitting efforts to satisfy customers.
David Haigh, Brand Finance chief executive, captured the First Bank niche when he said: “Nigerian banking penetration has been historically quite low at approximately 30 percent of the adult population. Traditionally, Nigerian consumers have been wary of trusting banks, however, several banks such as First Bank of Nigeria are investing heavily in product innovation and marketing to increase awareness and attract customers. This strategy appears to be paying off as Nigerian banks are becoming increasingly profitable and also gaining in brand value.”
In the case of Nigeria, First Bank has in the last 15 years embarked on transformation agenda. In 1996, it flagged off business transformation project code named Century 11. The objective was to refresh and reposition the brand to align with the constantly changing features of the marketplace. This project was revalidated in 2001 with the theme, Century II – The New Frontier.
The transformation theme again played out in April 2004, when it flagged off a fundamental brand transformation launch that unveiled a new chapter in the bank’s existence. The transformation, the managers said, signals a bold plan by the bank to redefine the service delivery landscape of the financial services sector.
Through the transformation project the bank established in 1894, it has successfully revolutionised its operations, strengthened its brand equity, enhanced customer satisfaction, and established itself as a dependably dynamic global brand.
Further to providing 24-hour access to the bank for customers and bridging the gap between customer issues and resolution, the bank is creating a new experience within its banking halls by improving the ambience of its 600 branches and creating a friendlier environment for customers to enjoy hitch-free transactions.
The bank is presently running a campaign on “did you know,” aimed at helping to showcase and project the transformation the bank had undergone in the recent past and to communicate these initiatives to consumers.
Through a series of innovative strategies such as complementing its large network of branches with “mini-branches,” the bank had a strong 2012. It has also launched “The Premium Lounge,” a preferred banking service to attract more affluent, higher-margin customers. These strategies appear to be an attempt to counter the threat of mobile banking in the region, which is gaining significant market share in a highly cash-based economy.
The bank with its cherished heritage has continually been a market leader, while maintaining strict adherence to corporate governance practices.
In 2011, it became the first banking institution within the country to achieve the BS25999 Business Continuity Management Certification. This global certification confirms its ability to favourably respond to incidents and business disruption, and also assures the customers of its commitment to ensure business continuity at all times. In 2011, it extended the scope of its ISO 27001:2005 Certification to cover all processes in the head office, Document Management Unit, Centralised Processing Centre and Disaster Recovery Centre. This certification represents one of the largest scopes covered by any ISO 27001 certified organisation and it complements our position as the first organisation to be awarded the Information Security Management Systems ISO/IEC 27001 Certification. This award attests to our belief in the safety and protection of bank’s assets, staff well-being and customers’ investments.
Since 2010, the bank client base has grown reflecting the trust the financial community reposes in the bank that balances short-term growth with its long-term positive outlook. In order to serve its customers better and extend branch network to the unbanked population, the bank under Bisi Oresanya has increased its branch footprint from 611 branches in 2010 to 652 branches in 2011. Also in line with its strategy to serve retail customers cost effectively, it presently has over 1600 ATMs across its network.
In October 2011, it expanded its continental footprint through the conclusion of the strategic acquisition of 75 percent equity stake in Banque Internationale de Credit (BIC), one of the most profitable banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is in line with its commitment to establish presence in selected African countries with clear growth opportunities and potential returns to its shareholders.
It posted robust profits of N43 billion in 2010, increasing its YoY profits by 230 percent. As Nigeria’s banking industry slowly rebounded after the last financial crisis, it grew competitively in all financial indices and consolidated on its position as the leading financial powerhouse in Nigeria. Deposit liabilities of the bank increased from N1.346 trillion in 2009 to N1.45 trillion in 2010, while loans and advances also grew by 6 percent, despite the contraction of credit within the banking sector in 2010.