Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First Bank shuts operations From Thursday Till Monday



Customers of First Bank Limited may find it difficult to carry out some banking transactions from Thursday to Monday due to the decision to shut down the bank’s branches nationwide during the period.



The shutdown, according to the bank, is to enable it upgrade its core banking application from Finacle 7 to Finacle 10, which will ensure easier and faster customer services and experience.
Our correspondent gathered that the decision to shut down operations in order to facilitate the migration to Finacle 10 would affect the bank’s over 700 branches nationwide.
Apart from all the branches being shut, Point of Sale transactions and transaction alerts by Short Message Service will not be possible during the period. In addition, all card services, except Visa prepaid card, will not be available via Quick Teller and the Web.
First Bank said in an explanatory note, “All transactions that will impact on the banking platform e.g. settlements, inter bank (RTGS, NEFT, FIP) inflows, will not be available.”
However, the bank said skeletal services would be available on its ATMs throughout the migration period until 5pm on Sunday, and would be restored at 6am on Monday.
Online banking services, according to the bank, will also be available until 5pm on Sunday and be restored at 6am on Monday, while its mobile money services will be available throughout the migration period.The bank had notified its customers through SMS and email of the development and apologised for inconveniences that they might suffer as a result of the platform upgrade.


The Group Managing Director, First Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, said in an open letter to the customers, 

“I write to thank you for your continuous patronage and inform you of our plan to upgrade our core banking application as part of the ongoing transformation of the bank.
“I am particularly excited at the prospect of this milestone as it represents the opportunity to significantly transform our service delivery to you in many respects, while also supporting our plans for the introduction of new and innovative products as we anticipate your every banking need.
“This is a major project and on account of the technical requirements, we regret that there will be some disruptions to our services for about three days, while the upgrade is ongoing.”
Onasanya said only intra-bank transactions would be available on the alternative channels while the upgrade was going on, adding that the clearing of customers’ might also be slightly delayed but that all investments due on any transaction within the period would only be terminated when all services were restored without affecting the value dates or the value of accrued interests on such investments.
However, the decision is causing anxiety among the customers of the bank, who complained that the planned shutdown would further compound the problems they had been coping with lately in accessing the institution’s services.
For instance, customers have been complaining of not being able to draw cash from the bank’s Automated Teller Machines for sometime now, while money transfers to other banks from First Bank branches have been difficult in the last two weeks.When contacted, the spokesman of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Ugo Okoroafor, said he was not aware of the plans by the bank to close its branches and urged our correspondent to call back to enable him make enquiries.
However, subsequent calls and SMS sent to his mobile telephone line were unanswered as of 9.30pm when this report was put together.

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