When the management of First Bank of Nigeria Limited hoisted its flag on March 1, across Nigeria and other countries where it operates, symbolising the commemoration of the bank’s 125th anniversary, the gesture sparked a groundswell of encomiums.
For many stakeholders and associates of the bank, it has many reasons to celebrate.
The general belief is that, as a long standing financial institution, FirstBank has contributed immensely to the nation’s growth and development.
It is also believed that the bank, which was established on March 31, 1894, has developed into a legacy institution that can only be compared with JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Colgate, among others.
The bank presently operates in more than half a dozen nations across Africa, Europe and Asia, notably in Ghana, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, China, the UK and France.
Mr Oscar Onyema, the Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), said FirstBank had impacted positively on the growth of the nation.
“FirstBank is one of the very first companies to be listed on the exchange and they have become a bellwether for us when you look at the banking industry,” said Onyema.
He explained that the bank had also produced a number of presidents of the council of the exchange; from Dr Oba Otudeko to Mr Samuel Asabia and other captains of industry that FirstBank has offered to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Similarly, Mr Adebisi Shonubi, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, represented by the Director of banking operations, Dipo Fatokun, lauded FirstBank for its achievement in the development of the financial sector and Nigeria as a whole.
Speaking on the bank’s achievement, Otudeko, Group Chairman, FBN Holdings Plc, said the Group had impacted the society in a lot of ways through the many activities of FirstBank.
Otudeko recalled that Mr Alfred Jones upon arriving Nigeria in 1894 had envisioned that in order for both public and private sector businesses to go on successfully around Marina, financial services had to be woven into the fabrics of the society.
“This was where FirstBank started. Since then, we have been impacting society in a lot of ways through the activities of our bank.
The management of the bank plans to roll out the drums to celebrate the 125th anniversary through a series of activities, which will continue all through March and the rest of the year.
The activities include the Bell Ringing at the NSE; thanksgiving in churches and mosques across continents and locations of its business activities, among others.
The staff of the bank will also participate in the celebration with donations and volunteer efforts as part of the bank’s Spreading Acts of Random Kindness (SPARK), a Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability initiative.