Airtel Nigeria, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, is partnering First Bank to promote mobile banking services.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started a campaign to discourage the movement of large amount of the currencies which has been the norm in the country.

Bearing this in mind, Airtel and First Bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Lagos in which they promised to combine their strengths to provide secure, convenient and user-friendly mobile banking services to unbanked people via mobile phones.

A statement from Airtel said that mobile banking is the use of mobile phones to remotely access bank accounts, primarily for account inquiry, mobile transfer, retail payments, micro insurance, savings remittances, mobile top-up, utility bill payments and government collections, among others.

“Indeed, we are excited to partner with one of the biggest financial institutions in the country. This partnership will, without a doubt, assist us in realising our vision of empowering more Nigerians with innovative and affordable mobile financial services,” said the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria, Mr Rajan Swaroop.

First Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bisi Onasanya, said: “With over 600 branches and thousands of business partner outlets in strategic proximity to the people, coupled with over 1,500 ATMs including cash deposit ATMs, cardless and biometric ATMs, over 5 million active accounts and more than 1,200 Point of Sale terminals, First Bank has always been at the forefront of innovative financial services solutions.”

Airtel, which crossed 50-million customer mark in Africa last November, announced the investment of $600 million in Nigeria’s mobile market alone in 2010 following its takeover of the country’s holdings of Kuwaiti-based Zain after closing a $10.7-billion deal.

The company has also invested in rural telephony and introduced a corporate social responsibility programmes that include setting up of schools that offer free quality education to underprivileged children in rural communities.

(This article was published on February 17, 2012)
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