First Bank of Nigeria Scaling Up for Explosive Growth
First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FBN) was established in 1894 and has distinguished itself as a leading banking institution and a major contributor to the economic advancement and development of Nigeria. With 339 branches, the Bank maintains the largest branch network in the banking industry in Nigeria. At the turn of the bank’s century, FBN found itself in a unique position as, despite its size and reputation, there were challenges to maintain the leadership position in a market that was as dynamic as it was competitive. It was at this point that the bank launched its business transformation initiative called ‘Century II’. Century II clearly identified IT as an enabler for the bank going forward.
Key Business Drivers
Need to Integrate Banking Operations
The bank’s 300+ branches were operating mainly as silos; information was hard to compile and disseminate, which affected decision-making.
Urgency to Meet Regulatory Requirements
FBN needed to adhere to the regulatory requirements imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as the common business practices followed by Nigerian banks. Since no two banks work in exactly the same way, the bank-specific requirements were also important. The central bank's increasingly proactive role in regulating the industry to bring it up to speed with international trends meant that the bank had to remain agile in order to survive and come out a winner.
Need for Innovation and Faster Time to Market
With sophistication of customer requirements and increased competition, the bank’s critical requirement was to not only to meet the existing demands of the customer but also to stay agile and meet the changing requirements going forward.
With Accenture as consultants, FBN embarked on a global search for a strategic IT partner who would enable them to make this quantum leap. An application selection model was developed, which involved looking at over 50 core banking solutions from across the world. Eventually, Infosys with its Finacle solution emerged as the clear winner.
One of the pillars of Finacle’s value proposition to FBN was its new generation solution architecture, designed to help the bank build an agile business through innovative offerings to the market and a significantly superior speed of response to customer, competitive and regulatory requirements. The other was Finacle's proven track record of 100% successful implementations across the globe, which offered the bank the attractive proposition of minimized risk.
FBN piloted on Finacle in six months and since then has rolled out the solution to over 170 branches, on time and within budget.
Reaping The Benefits
FBN's unique requirements were catered to using Finacle's Extensibility toolkit, the infrastructure that enabled the bank to customize its specific requirements without touching the source code. This provided significant time-to-market advantage to the bank and enabled them to design and launch new product offerings quickly.
Regular version upgrades over the years have provided increased and more sophisticated functionality to the bank as the relationship has progressed. The new generation flexible architecture of Finacle has ensured 24/7 operability, with close to 100% uptime, a feature of immense importance in a country not known for failsafe network connectivity.
Finacle's technological superiority and functional richness were important factors but its proven ability to scale up to FBN’s explosive growth plans was the clincher. Finacle successfully met FBN’s expectations of the solution being able to “scale up and be the vehicle of growth to meet the emerging global challenges in the financial arena.”
The new generation architecture of Finacle - fully web-enabled, with powerful and unique capabilities such as Straight Through Processing (STP), workflow, scalability and true 24/7 banking across multiple delivery channels has enabled the Bank to streamline its operations.
View From the Top
“Obviously, Finacle's technological superiority and functional richness were prime factors in its selection, but its proven ability to scale up to our explosive growth plans was the clincher. It became obvious that the team from Infosys relished the challenge of transforming a bank of the size of FBN. We also appreciated the new generation architecture of Finacle - fully web-enabled, with powerful and unique capabilities such as Straight Through Processing (STP), workflow, scalability and true 24/7 banking across multiple delivery channels.”
Dr Evans Woherem
Former Executive Director, First Bank of Nigeria Plc