Overview Of The Firstbank Nigeria Plc Business Essay


FIRSTBANK Nigeria Plc is one of the oldest financial institutions and indeed the largest retail lender in Nigeria, it's the 1st bank to be established in West Africa. The bank was incorporated in Liverpool as a Limited Liability company in March 1894 with the name Bank of British West Africa. The bank was listed on the Nigerian Stock exchange (NSE) in March 1971 after which it acquired its name - First Bank of Nigeria in 1979. Following the CBN induced industry-wide consolidation in 2005 the bank acquired its merchant banking subsidiary, FBN Merchant Banker ltd and MBC int'l Bank Plc. FirstBank maintains a subsidiary in United Kingdom which has a branch in Paris, the bank also has representative offices in South Africa, China and Dubai through which it offers offshore financial services. Presently the Bank's assets are in excess of N100billion.


FIRSTBANK as a leading commercial bank has the largest network of branches in the country, over the years the bank has continually reviewed its organizational structure and corporate identity in line with changing financial environment. Known for its uniqueness for being dependably dynamic and stability, 1st Bank has made for its self a name, a brand goodwill associated with fidelity and safety of funds.

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Being a key player in the nation's financial-banking sector, Firstbank delivers a wide range of financial services to its numerous customers; the bank is well known for innovative changes in technological device and service delivery. Being the first bank to introduce a Biometric ATM i.e. an ATM machine that uses both pin no selection and finger prints to identify transaction buttresses this point. The bank through its acquired subsidiaries also provide other financial services and they include, insurance policies, housing schemes, asset portfolio management.


FIRSTBANK offers a wide range of wholesale, retail and consumer banking products and services in ensuring that it keeps true to its name as the 1st bank of choice in the country,. Our products include:

 CONSUMER BANKING: Generic Savings Account, Current Account, First Premium Term Deposit, First Savings Plus Account, First Hifi (Children) Account, First Current Plus Current Account(with zero COT), FIRST Current Business Account, First Dom Account, First Instant Savings

Account. All accounts have the flexibility of over the counter withdrawals given the new CBN policy, ATM cards, Dividend warrants lodgment and access to E-Banking services.


 WHOLESALE BANKING: The services and products therein are further divided into

ASSET PRODUCTS: They include- Term loans, Overdraft, Oil and Gas contract finance(OGCF), Bankers' Acceptance, Commercial Papers, Bills Discounting, Project Finance, Equipment Leasing etc,

INTERNATIONAL TRADE FINACE: Includes but not limited to- Import finance, Export Finance, Clean line\confirmation, Letters of Credit, Bills for Collection, Forex Trading Invisible Remittances\Payment for Services.


First Online which allows you to transact business online at the comfort or your home or offices.

First Alert-Instant notification on your account

First Mobile-Access to your account through you phone, it includes buying of airtime and payment of utility bills.

First Pay and First Collect-effect payment and several collection to and from your merchants.

FIRST CARDS : Debit and Credit cards which include- MasterCard, FirstBank Naira MasterCard, First Cash Card, Visa Card (Gold, Classic and Infinite), Visa Credit Card. Notice that all cards issued by the bank comes with FIRSTBANK brand name- FIRST

FIGURE 1C:\Users\Daniel\Desktop\CYNTHIA\FirstBank MasterCard.jpg

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 MONEY TRANSFER: FIRSTBANK offers funds transfer services locally and internationally through mediums like- First Domestic Transfer, Western Union, Money Gram and RIA.

 OTHER SERVICES: Other services rendered by the bank includes- Agricultural Financing, FIRST Diaspora banking services for Nigerians in Diaspora and Bills Payment for prompt settlement of utility bills(e.g. PHCN, Water and DSTV)


Vision: "To be the clear leader and Nigeria's bank of first choice"

Mission: "To remain true to our name by providing the best financial services possible"

Essence: The DNA of the FirstBank brand lies in its strength, size and dependability, typified by its brand icon, the African Elephant. Our brand essence is therefore Dependably Dynamic which is a holistic representation of our past, present and the future of FirstBank.


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The core values of FirstBank are coined in an acronym for quick recall and living by the guiding principle - TELL& SPIC

Team Work - Everyday a better way, the team spirit is embedded in our culture as the best possible way to work.

Ethics - The good will of the bank is to be maintained as you deal with both internal and external customers, ensuring that the client leaves your office satisfied.

Loyalty - the essence of brand name and its very existence evolves in loyalty to our customers, Firstbank has been in existence for generations and loyalty to our customers is what makes us tick.

Superior Performance - To strengthen the bank's brand, leverage and upscale the customers' experience through delivery of excellent services.

Professionalism - To revolutionize the Bank's operations in line with the dynamics of the operating environment while ensuring that we provide the best financial services unmatched.

Integrity - Adopt high ethical values to guide the conduct of all banking business and transactions in conformity with all relevant regulatory requirements.

Customer Centricity - The customer is the king and the reason we are in business, their demands should be met in line with bank's policy


LEADERSHIP - Our status\ability as truly the 1st and No1

SAFETY&SECURITY- Security of funds\Investments, job security, Integrity.

ENTERPRISE - Resourcefulness, Tenacity

SERVICE EXCELLENCE - Efficiency, Performance focused, Reliability, Accessibility


This chapter focuses on goal setting, study plan, expected difficulties to be encountered in data collection and plan to overcome these challenges.


The objective of the organizational analysis is to specifically examine the current state of the Bank's operational and structural framework, analyse the functional units and the interface relations and also recommend ways of improving the interface relations.


Goals setting involves establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed (S.M.A.R.T ) target by an individual or organization. Goal focuses attention towards goal-relevant activities, revealing the objectives and strategies in which the goals can be met. Figure 1 below is the structured project plan for the organisational analysis.


















Review of BSN course material

Data Gathering

Data compilation

Report writing

Draft Report Review

Sub-set meeting Review

Update report

Draft submission to set adviser

Correction and final submission

Figure 2: Project Plan



Reviewing of the BSN course materials and EBSCO database to understand theory on organisational structures, data collection method and research report writing style.

The internet (Google search and Wikipedia) comes in very handy in enhancing project plan.

The objective of the data collection stage of the project is to gather relevant and accurate information, to obtain the participation and co-operation of the appropriate target population and to facilitate the collection and analysis of data. The targeted populations are staff of the functional units, staff of hub branches, heads of the functional units (department) and some strategic business units and staff of Human Capital Management- Head Office. The medium to achieve this includes- Informal Interviews, telephone survey, one-on-one chats with some members of the targeted population e.g. the heads of departments and staff of the Human Capital management because of their exigent duties. All perceived sensitive questions would be handled through interviews (which are not formal) and not written questionnaires.

The FirstBank Intranet and internet website will be used extensively to gather information on functional units and organizational structure while personal visits to the Head Office and hub branches will be utilized to objectively gather information on functions of various departments, interface relations and recommendations for improvement of the interface relations.

Data compilation stage will include analyzing data collected and reviewing information from subset meetings and research report writing.

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Report writing stage would involve applying the reviewed data gained from the various materials and extraction of relevant information from FIRSTBANK intranet and periodic publications. Data structuring and report preparation will also be done at this stage.

Reviewed responses from telephone calls and outcomes of informal interviews

Discussed challenges with Set Advisor at subset meeting and via phone calls.

Update and revised document with necessary corrections.


Questionnaires could not be used because of the bank's policy on bulk mails or questionnaires related to work and business environment hence adequate data collection seemed impossible.

Network challenges when accessing both the internet and the Bank's intranet.

Time constraint and the busy schedule of visited staff will also be a limitation.

Insufficient time due to researcher's official duties.


All perceived sensitive questions would be handled through interviews and not written questionnaires.

Extra hours to be dedicated for accessing the Bank's intranet while a substitute internet modem was purchased to curb congestion or delays on web hosts.

Personal interviews will be conducted for staff with busy schedule, telephone calls and communication chat applications were also utilized for other staff

Ensure proper time management.


This chapter focuses on the theories of organisational structure and organisational culture.


Organisations exist to achieve goals; these goals are broken down into tasks as the basis for jobs.

The term organisational structure therefore refers to the formal configuration between individuals and groups regarding the allocation of tasks, responsibilities, and authority within the organization (Galbraith, 1987; Greenberg, 2011). Said differently, - The framework, typically hierarchical, within which an organization arranges its lines of authority and communications, and allocates rights and duties. Organizational structure determines the manner and extent to which roles, power, and responsibilities are delegated, controlled, and coordinated, and how information flows between levels of management. (Business Dictionary-Google).

The structure of the organization can be defined simply as the sum total of ways in which its labour is divided into distinct tasks and the its coordination is achieved among these tasks /(Mintzberg 1983a)

Very early organizational structures were often based either on product or function (Oliveira & Takahashi, 2012). Others moved beyond these early approaches and examined the relationship between organizational strategy and structure (Brickley, Smith, Zimmerman, & Willett, 2002).

This approach began with the landmark work of Alfred Chandler (1962, 2003), who traced the historical development of some companies, He concluded from his study that an organization's strategy tends to influence its structure. He suggests that strategy indirectly determines such variables as the organization's tasks technology, and environments, and each of these influences the structure of the organization.

More recently, social scientists have augmented Chandler's thesis by contending that an organization's strategy determines its environment, technology, and tasks. These variables, coupled with growth rates and power distribution, affect organisational structure. The Organisational structure as argued by Alfred Chandler can be seen in FIRSTBANK structure which was changed recently to suit the Bank's intended strategy. The Bank in Oct 2010 had embarked on a re-structuring of its entire operational system and workforce, we can therefore deduce that Strategy determines organizational structure.

A critical review of Mintzberg definition shows that it is not against the aforementioned,' the design of every superstructure ends up as a compromise between the 'objective' factors of work flow, process and scale interdependency, and the subjective factors of personality and social need. Organisations may be conceived on paper, but they must function with flesh-and-blood human beings.' (Mintzberg, 1983). Hence for a critical analysis of FirstBank OA, the Mintzberg theory will be adopted.


Mintzberg claims that organisations are composed of five basic elements, or groups of individuals, any of which may predominate in an organisation. The design parameters determine individual positions (examples will be shown using FirstBank configuration)

Operating Core: Staff or employees who perform the basic work related to an organisation's product or service e.g.- Tellers, Customer Service Officer, Foreign Operations Staff

Strategic Apex: Top-Management responsible for running an entire organisation. The Executive Directors and Executive Vice President of the bank sit at the Strategic Apex

Middle Line: Managers who stand in a direct line relationship between the strategic apex and the operating core. They include the Group Heads, Regional&Area Office Managers.

Techno structure: Organisational specialists responsible for standardising various aspects of

an organisation's activities eg- Internal Control and Audit, Compliance, Credit Risk Management(CRM) AND MANCO

Support Staff: Individuals who provide support to an organisation outside its operating workflow.(I.T support, Security personnels)

Mintzberg identified five organisational configurations, they however depend some contingency factors which include - Age of the organization, Size' Technical System, Environment and Power factors:

 Simple Structure is characterized by loose division of labor, relies on direct supervision and finds its key part at the strategic apex

 Machine Bureaucracy which relies on standardisation of work process, relatively centralized

power for decision making; with its key part in the techno structure where the planners of the organisation reside.

Professional Bureaucracy which deals with standardisation of skills and has the operating core as its key part.

Divisionalised form -each division has its own structure, it centers on standardisation of outputs. Autonomous units are created to deal with entire product lines, allowing top management to focus on large-scale, strategic decision. The middle line is key part of the organisation.

Adhocracy, a highly informal, strong presence of mutual adjustment, organic organisation in which specialists work in teams, coordinating with each other on various projects.

FIRSTBANK'S structure like most large corporations is characterized by the divisionalised form of Mintzberg's configuration as various divisions (departments) are created by their product lines or end

products. The techno structure is located at Head Office to provide services to all divisions; support staffs are located within each division like we have the IT support for each area and marketing assistants who are support staff assigned to each branch. Most of the operational activities are conducted by the middle line managers, department heads or unit heads and they all operate with some form of independence and centralization within their units. They coordinate the output, acting between the strategic apex and the operating core. They also oversee the activities of the operating core and are expected to report back to strategic apex.

The typical operational structure in a FIRSTBANK branch is divided into two divisions-

i. The Operations Unit who are in charge of the everyday running of branch and attending to customer's demand. The head of this unit is called The Branch Operations Manager.

ii. The Retail or marketing unit who are in charge of increasing the market size and credit portfolio of the branch. The Business Manager heads this unit of the branch.

Each of these units runs independently of each other with separate reporting lines even though they are situated in the same complex ant they form part of the whole group.

Given the Bank's ever evolving strategy in line with changes in market dynamics and technological advancement, the structure design is determined by the strategic planning and corporate transformation unit through the HCM department, stating unit and individual key responsibilities and the reporting lines. The final structure is then approved by the strategic apex and the statutory regulatory authority (Central Bank of Nigeria). Usually the bank makes the policies available on its local INTRANET and other periodic publications or circulars as organisational changes are initiated.


Effectiveness of a system is about doing the right things. It's about  producing the intended or expected result,  In measuring organisational effectiveness, the relevant question would be: is the organisational system doing the right thing for its survival?, is it focusing its drive on opportunities to produce revenue? Is it producing the output it needs if it is to survive? Efficiency of a system, on the other hand is about the inputs the system uses in order to produce outputs that is doing things right, accomplishing your tasks with a minimum of time and resource, It centers on performance and cost reduction. To thoroughly examine organizational success, both measures should be considered because productivity is a function of inputs to outputs which is the theme of efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency should always be the servant of effectiveness.(BSN Phase 1, module IX, p 575)

Looking at the Bank's history and evolutions, one can boldly say that FIRSTBANK has achieved some level of efficiency and effectiveness. The total assets of the Bank as at Dec 2011 as published

equals N,2463,543, total equity was N373,572 while the total Customer Deposits was N1,783,777,(figures are in millions).however there is room and need for improvement, the Bank lacks behind in mobilization of current account deposits and booking of credit facilities. These lapses deny the bank of some benefits which include increase in customer base and collection of float income from these deposits.

The FIRST Instant savings account was introduced by the Bank to bridge this gap on deposit mobilization, this product however has not recorded much success because of the strict requirements, the deployment of FINACLE 10 Banking solution which is scheduled to kick off this year July is an Efficiency measure in order to reduce turnaround time, this I believe is coming rather too late.

The strategic Apex of the Bank needs to review these points afore mentioned and reach a favorable conclusion so that the Bank can edge forward.


Mintzberg identified nine design parameters. By using these parameters the organisational designer can influence the way individuals are positioned in the organisation and the way groups or departments are formed. The design parameters are Job specialisation; Behavior formation; Training and indoctrination; Unit grouping; size; Planning and control systems; Liaison devices; Vertical and horizontal decentralization. The design parameters predominant in FIRSTBANK are:

Job Specialisation: In FIRSTBANK, all job titles are specified, the roles to be performed, the job description, key competences and reporting lines are well explained for staff to understand. Job Specification for each job title is easily accessible on the intranet, it is the bank's believe that job specialization increases employee productivity.

 Training and indoctrination: In order to carry out task, employees need to possess particular skills and knowledge.(BSN Phase 1 Course Notes, pg 584). In FirstBank it's a trend to continuously train staff on a need to know and improvement basis, this exercise forms part of appraisal marks to be awarded during year end performance rating. The heads of branches or departments recommend staff for training if a knowledge gap or improvement need is identified. Educational and career advancement is also encouraged.

The Human Capital Management &Development anchors this aspect of the bank. Given the ever increasing need for the aforementioned, the Bank has rebranded its HCMD training arm to be called FIRST ACADEMY. The essence is to inculcate the bank's values, ensuring that their staffs are well grounded and ever ahead of industry trends. Indoctrination are done upon recruitment of staff be it new or experienced hirees in order to imbibe the bank's culture and values into them.

The unit grouping is an important design parameter in FIRSTBANK because it creates a system of supervision in which there is a reporting line, departmental, unit or group head for all strategic units of the bank, this encourages standardization of outputs. Firstbank adopts functional grouping

Vertical decentralisation: Mintzberg (1983a, p.99) defines vertical decentralisation as the "dispersal of formal power down the chain of line authority'. FISTBANK adopts limited vertical decentralization. Heads of departments/units are delegated the power to control most of the decisions concerning their line units and such decisions are cascaded down to their subordinates, however they have their reporting lines and various limits.


Culture refers to the underlying values, beliefs and codes of practice that makes an organisation what

It is. The customs of an organisation, the self image of its members, the things that make it different from others are its culture. Culture is symbolic; Culture is unifying and refers to the processes that bind the organization together. Culture is rooted deep in unconscious sources but is represented in superficial practices and behavior codes.

Deal and Kennedy (1982) argue that culture is the single most important factor accounting for success or failure in organizations. They identified four key dimensions of culture:

Values - the beliefs that lie at the heart of the corporate culture.

Heroes - the people who embody values.

Rites and rituals - routines of interaction that have strong symbolic qualities.

The culture network - the informal communication system or hidden hierarchy of power in the organization.

Peters and Waterman (1982) suggest a psychological theory of the link between organizational culture and business performance. Culture can be looked upon as a reward of work; we sacrifice much to the organization and culture is a form of return on effort.

Schein (1992) says that organisational culture is developed over time as people in the organisation learn to deal successfully with problems of external adaptation and internal integration. It becomes the common language and the common background. Employee values are measured against organizational values to predict employee intentions to stay, and predict turnover. This is done through instrument like Organizational Culture Profile (OCP) to measure employee commitment (O'Reilly, Chatman&Caldwell 1991).

However Daniel Denison's model (1990) asserts that organizational culture can be described by four general dimensions:

Mission - Strategic Direction and Intent, Goals and Objectives and Vision

Adaptability - Creating Change, Customer Focus and Organizational Learning

Involvement - Empowerment, Team Orientation and Capability Development

Consistency - Core Values, Agreement, Coordination/Integration

Denison's model also allows cultures to be described broadly as externally or internally focused as well as flexible versus stable. The model has been typically used to diagnose cultural problems in organizations.


According to Schein (1992), the two main reasons why cultures develop in organizations is due to external adaptation and internal integration. External adaptation reflects an evolutionary approach to organizational culture and suggests that cultures develop and persist because they help an organization to survive and flourish. If the culture is valuable, then it holds the potential for generating sustained competitive advantages. Additionally, internal integration is an important function since social structures are required for organizations to exist. Organizational practices are learned through socialization at the workplace. Work environments reinforce culture on a daily basis by encouraging employees to exercise cultural values. Organisational culture is shaped by multiple factors, including the following:

External environment


Size and nature of the organization's workforce

Technologies the organization uses

The organization's history and ownership

The external environment to FirstBank includes the ever emerging competitors, the realization of this pushes the Bank's management is forge ahead and be innovative. The increasing number of banks offering same products that Firstbank had exclusivity to buttress this point, exceptional service delivery and brand value/positioning are the keys to have an edge over others. Other aspects of FirstBank's external environment include the legal or statutory regulations which the Bank must conform with, the political, socio-economic dynamics of Nigeria.

The workforce of the bank is considerably large in comparism to other banks being the bank with the largest number of branch network and emerging diaspora banking through its subsidiaries. Prior to the rebranding of the Bank's workforce, 1stBank had a culture of mostly old staff and few young staff, in

2008 the bank retrenched over 900 staff especially those who had spent over 25 years in service, the management immediately embarked on recruitment of new and experienced hirees who were relatively young, in addition to this, salaries were increased to suit the modern banker status. A new culture in that aspect had been achieved as 1stbankers were no longer distinguished by long suits and old staff.


FIRSTBANK possesses a strong culture which is continually being improved. In the light of Daniel Denison's model of culture dimensions, FirstBank's mission strategic direction, goals and objectives, are clearly understood by members of staff. The Bank strives to make its staff live by its core values and this has so far helped the bank in terms of durability and goodwill. For the importance of the afore mentioned, FirstBank carries periodic mystery shopping exercise and branch spot checks to ensure that we live what we preach, hence staff are enjoined to move with the train.

FirstBank adapts quickly to industry changes and are quick to identify a market opportunity hence they are most often the fore most bank for some products or innovations in the banking industry. It's the bank policy for staff to stick to a particular dress code, have the bank's premises painted in a particular way and colour, have a products and services delivered to customers with the brand name "FIRST" and a unique way of service delivery. All this distinguishes the Bank and a Firstbanker from every other bank or person. The Elephant is also a historic symbol of FirstBank's culture which represents stability and strength, like Peters and Waterman (1982) suggests, the strong culture of the bank has positively enhanced its good will and market share, however things can get better.

There exist an area of improvement in the Bank's culture as it is normally being discussed within its members that staff are not been sufficiently motivated, the slow promotion process is a major aspect of this.

A review of the Bank's choice to downsize its work force recently by way of retiring (and firing) staff (although with mouth watering incentives) buttresses this point. Firing on the base of culture

Usually pointed as a source of creating "family like" environment, the notion of corporate culture is also used for firing, with this practice started from shoe company Zappos, which granted its fired employees with huge compensations afterwards.(Google- Wikipedia .As the corporate culture may mean almost everything, firing on the base of culture means the employer does not accept and desire to be inclusive for the culture of the employee and thus the employee "does not fit in corporate culture", although this may fall in the ground of discrimination, there is still not law or case law resolving or addressing the question making this practice possible and available for businesses for now. Firing on corporate culture is a recent practice, from 2008.


Handy (1985) identified four(4) types of organizational culture and they include:

Power culture: Entrepreneurial in nature, central control, quick to response, built on trust flexible.

Role culture: Roles are more important than persons, functional, rule and procedure driven

Task Culture: Cross functional, based on jobs and projects, networked, coordination&combination of jobs around tasks.

Person Culture: People are the central focus, controls are only possible where members agree.

FIRSTBANK adopts the role culture, this is because the roles are seen before the persons behind it, and the workforce is also driven by rule (policies) and procedure.


The processual approach is a translation model in which movements of ideas or objects reside in the sense making of people who are the active mediators of change. It consists of three main elements namely - Politics (political activities within and without the organisation), The Context and The Substance of change. Alvesson, in his work proposes that there is a general movement towards dynamic and process based approaches. Although there is a variety and debate within such approaches, there is support for more processual approach that views creativity, innovation and change as an ongoing dynamic rather than a final end state.

From this perspective, there can never be a simple magic bullet fir company success, as the context in which these processes are managed are themselves open to continual change.


Organisations are facing increasing pressures and competitiveness. Corporate restructuring, downsizing and reengineering are usual responses of organizations. The change is often made with explicit objectives of cost reduction and improved efficiency and effectiveness.

Changes can go in different directions, they are either initiated at a top management level from where it is supposed to trickle down to other levels or it can be initiated at small work units from which it spreads to other units or departments. Change should essentially be bottom up if it is to be any success.(BSN Phase 1,Module X).

When implementing changes, different styles might be used. Bate(1990) and Kirkbridge(1993) distinguish a hard approach from a soft approach. The hard approach simply boils down to coercive change strategies identified by Chin and Benne (1969) while the soft approach is like a normative educational strategy and a rational strategy. A combination of these approaches gives birth to the following approaches which can be adopted by an organization:

 Conciliative approach: Soft style, bottom - up direction. This approach is characterized by consultation, flexibility, collaboration, and participation of teams since small changes are regarded as acceptable . It is useful when the changes to be carried through are not drastic. The opponents of this approach argue that it is slow and expensive.

 Aggressive approach: Hard style, top - down direction. It involves coerciveness, is inflexible, authoritative and radical. It is useful in crisis situations and as such is the last resort for organizations that want to ward off their impending downfall.

 Indoctrinative approach: Soft style, top - down direction. This involves training, socialisation

and education. It is much more subtle than the aggressive approach as it uses indoctrination as its key in enhancing participation

 Corrosive approach: Hard style, bottom - up direction. This involves task orientation, work unit and structure. This method is fairly flexible and not too time consuming however its draw back could entail indecisiveness and thus create serious control problems.

FIRSTBANK usually adopts the indoctrinative approach for its cultural change, this is because wide spread consultations are normally made, test runs conducted and feedback collated before the deployment of any major change. Staff are regularly encouraged to air their views on managerial issues most times with additional incentives to encourage participation


This chapter focuses on how the functional units are structured, the interface relation with the researcher's functional unit and recommendations for improvement of the interface relation. Recommendations for improvement were based on the views of the sample data collected.

FIRSTBANK operate a divisionalised form of structure, all units and divisions have unit heads who report directly to the 'group head and then unto the 'board, each unit is differentiated by their product or process function.

The researcher's functional unit is Credit&Treasury Department of Coker branch, a division of operations group in FirstBank. The operations department has the responsibility of attending to external customer needs and performance of conventional banking practices (which include account opening, cash deposit and withdrawals, cheque requisition) through branch networks and departments, central clearing processes, e-business operations, foreign operations, domiciliary transfers and branch processing and cheque management.

This group of the bank interfaces directly with both external and internal customers. The operations department uses FINACLE 7 banking application to carry out its activities on real time basis. This application enhances immediate reflections of posting on all branch networks in the country thereby making sure the customers need are met promptly.

As a staff under the operations unit of Coker branch, the researcher's functions include-

Fixed deposit bookings, renewals, terminations and roll- over options.

Treasury bill booking, termination and roll over options.

Banker's confirmation and guarantees.

Domiciliary account openings, closure, cash deposits and withdrawals.

Foreign transfers and foreign exchange transactions.

Maintenance of the credit portfolio of the branch etc.

The researcher unit interfaces with other departments under the branch, other operational departments and other divisions of the bank. this is because most services that are rendered under this unit is for

already made customers of the bank who most have dealt directly or indirectly with other departments within the branch or the bank. As the credit&treasury unit, inputs are derived from other units of the bank feedback is normally directed to the Branch Operations Manager as the head of the branch or to the Head Operations as the group head. The Credit&treasury unit asides from Finacle 7 Banking application also utilizes the FINNONE application which is normally used to book, manage and terminate various term loans and credit facilities with regards to the credit policies of the bank.

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Figure 4: FIRSTBANK organogram


The Human Resource Management is about managing your Human resources that is your people, in a way that makes them perform in the best possible way. The human resource function guides and directs managers in managing people.

4.1.1 Analysis of the HCMD UNIT

The Human Capital Management and Development (HCMD) as it is called in FirstBank sees the bank's employees and workforce not just as a resource but also a capital in which it is a necessary tool for the bank's business to excel. They perform the following activities as empowered by the management; Man power recruitment, selection, placement, induction and orientation, performance appraisal, career planning, promotions, transfer, discharges, retirement, training and development, rewards)


FIRSTBANK believes in hiring competent and efficient personnels to handle the affairs of bank, since these persons will be dealing directly or indirectly with the customer who they believe is the king, the very reason of our existence. Given vacant positions or needs to create one, the bank screens prospective candidates, conduct exams or interviews for them to shortlist to get the best possible persons for each jobs. Placement on the other hand is effected through promotion or transfer from within the organisation. Also when there has been a recruitment drive, and it has to be decide where the new employee with his needs and skills is most likely to match the organisation's need then this too is called placement.


Induction is a very important part of the employment process in Firstbank. however the extent of the induction process depends on the complexity of the job, and the employee's experience When the employee has been selected and placed, he needs to be oriented and indoctrinated into our system. This program in our bank is called Basic Banking Pool Program where you as a new employee are assigned a mentor who will guide you through your pre-confirmation period and put you through issues that you may seek clarifications on.

To the mentor you are regarded as a protégée'. The BBP as it is called for short also entails a seven(7) day program in which most banking applications and workflows are taught however this is after the indoctrination program normally conducted by the bank for fresh graduates and this spans to 4 months. The process is conducted by the Learning and Development (L&D) arm of HCMD which is now rebranded as FIRST ACADEMY.

As part of induction process for new inductees, the Bank had introduced an action learning simulation for the staff; they were to be deployed to branches to learn branch departmental processes, during this period they were expected to work in every unit of the branch so as to understand various job functions and how these departments interface with each other.


The term training and development is used inter changeably. Training ensures that the person has the knowledge and skills to do his job. The method of training to be used should be related to the job to be done and the present level of skills of the employee. Upon completion of induction, employees are placed on a career plan which will be overseen by his mentor and immediate supervisor.

Every staff has training and development as part of his score card appraisal hence it is necessary to periodically train the employee availing him of new dimensions in his job title, new job roles and ever changing market dynamics of the banking industry.

Staff are encouraged to share the knowledge acquired in any training conducted by the bank, in-house training are also conducted in the branch or department level to as to ensure that everyone has a fair knowledge of products, services and functions.

It is the policy of the Bank to invite for training any staff it deemed fit especially upon an envisaged knowledge gap or desired advancement, however in the real sense of it, employees are normally invited for training when your supervisor recommends you for one, in most cases in order to make you competent for a particular function which he desires or to make a back -up personnel for critical positions. Other cases could be for an employee to be trained on a new product launched by the bank so that he could in turn teach others.

Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisal is a structured and planned discussion between the manager and each individual employee about the person's performance over a period under review. In FirstBank, the main purpose of performance appraisal is to improve the employee's performance in his current position and to prepare him for future responsibilities.

The process start by allocating each employee to a supervisor which in most cases would be your direct line manager or immediate reporting line, the supervisor will in turn accept such employee as a subordinate and set performance indicator over a weighted average score. These performance indicators (P.I) are unique to a person's job functions. The application used to perform this is called PFMS(an abbreviation for Peoples First Management System).during appraisal, your supervisor is expected to award marks on the set P.I, he is also expected to allocate marks from range 1-5 to certain management questions in regards to the working efficiency of the employee. All these figures are added up and the staff total appraisal figure is derived.

The uniqueness of this system is that your supervisor cannot independently appraise you because the appraisal cannot be forwarded to Human capital without your endorsement and approval, the allocated marks by the supervisor must be sent to the subordinate for approval or rejection before

onward delivery to HCMD. These marks are normally used by the management in deciding credible staff to be promoted.

The shortfall of the appraisal exercise in FirstBank is that it is very subjective in nature as most supervisors see it as a means to get back at subordinates who has issues with them. Most times the appraiser includes a line or two recommending that such staff should be promoted.

According to management discretion, a PAY FOR PERFOMANCE (PFP)is usually paid based on some certain criteria which differs given each financial year. The PFP for 2011 financial year was paid to all core staff who scored 85 and above in the appraisal exercise.




















4.1.2 Interface Relation between HRM and ICT

In order to book facilities for internal staff or staff of other organisations on approval list, the Human Capital Development must provide the staff loan history and loan credibility calculator, this shows if the staff is exposed to other facilities and indicates the borrowing power of the staff. In the case of other organisation's staff seeking an advancement, the HCMD will get the afore mentioned through the HRM of that organisation.

The employee who would be placed in Credit&treasury table of any branch must be trained specially by HCMD. This is because the job function is perceived to be very critical and requires one with analytical mind and strong negotiating abilities. HCMD periodically trains the employees who work in this department, the Credit&Treasury unit on the other hand attends to inquires of loan repayment schedule and outstanding of any staff as inquired by the HCMD.


Appraisals should be more objective in nature; there should also be room for feedback from subordinates of the appraiser.

Loan requirements to be provided by HCMD should be received as fast as possible, possible work flows should be created in order to fast track the documents position at any given time.

Training should be conducted regularly and not at the mercy or discretion of line managers.


Marketing is very fundamental in the success of on organisation. In FirstBank every staff is seen as a marketer because you are the first contact with the outside world and the customer relating with you sees you as the Bank's representative. However for clear cut functions, the marketing function of the bank is handled by Product and Marketing units through the retail and corporate banking personnel. This is because products and services are classified for different clienteles.

The strategic management of the bank lies with the Strategy unit who are under the CEO's directorate as the unit head report directly to the board.

4.2.1 Marketing mix

The term marketing mix refers to the accumulation of marketing instruments that a specific organisation uses in order to meet its objectives within a certain market. With reference to FirstBank, marketing mix will point out those instruments and strategies the bank will employ in order to achieve its objectives. The core marketing mix consists of five kinds of marketing instruments:

Product: A product is the packaging of a service which supplies a need of the buyer, it could be seen as anything that we can bring to a market to satisfy a need. The bank is not into sales of tangible products rather they are into rendering of various financial services. FirstBank has a pool of banking services it avails to its customers and it is their culture to be innovative by continuously improving upon these services rendered. When a particular need or market prospect is identified, the bank through its strategy team, product and marketing support team convert these need to a product which most times will be launched internally first before an external launch. Targets are then set for such new products with incentives or promotional items to enhance public awareness.

Firstbank leverages on its brand name and goodwill when it comes to product launch success.

Price: The price we choose has a certain influence in the goals which an organisation can have with a certain product, the influence may be a very good profit to the bank or increase in market share Firstbank determines its pricing factor by some given purposes which include: Survival, Current Profit Maximasation, Market Share Leadership, Maximum sales.

The pricing of Fixed Deposit Account for example lies around 7-10% given different durations; this price is relatively low compared to that of other banks. This is because the management of the bank is

some worth comfortable with its CASAA balances and hence feels that high interest should not be placed in the product.

Pricing is also regulated by the regulatory body (CBN), hence there is usually a range the bank can play around with.

Place: This term refers to Distribution within the organisation; it entails the process that ensures the product reaches the consumer. FirstBank has the largest branch network in the industry. The management of the bank still identified a gap in distribution hence they came up with a distribution strategy called QUICK SERVICE POINT. This center is run in order to bring the bank closer to people, it is not run like a full fledged branch. Another distribution strategy is the opening of call centers with the brand name FIRST CONTACT, services rendered there can be accessed in the three major local languages of the country and in Pidgin English.

A new sub unit was created April this year with the name Emerging Corporate Banking, they were saddled with the responsibility of reaching out to SME's and corporations and selling the Bank's products to them.

Promotion: A good product, an attractive price and a good distribution channel are not enough if an organisation wants to be a frontline player in its line of business. The organisation must communicate with its present and future clients (BSN Phase 1, Module V pg 363). Customers must be aware of the existence of a particular product before they can buy into them. Advertisements, sales promotions, events sponsorship, branded T-shits(to be worn by staff),road shows, market storming, radio jingles and T,V adverts promotional items ang gifts are some of the strategy utilized by the bank to market its products.

Personnel: The personnel that must sell and support the products for the organisation. Firstbank relies heavily on its staff to market or promote their products, 'everyone is a marketer' is a common term used in the bank. The retail and corporate banking units has this function as their main task, and the units are defined because of the classification of products for different market segments.





Early market entry and domination

High branch network

Strong management team

Strong organisational culture

Strong Brand name and high customer base

Slow decision making process

Network challenges in simulation of banking applications

Absence of strong internal control over bank's operations.



Leverage on cashless society policy of CBN

Increase in diaspora banking activities and offshore business through acquisition of more foreign subsidiaries.

Business Franchise with offshore banks so as to facilitate forex trading and grow income

Possibility of diversifying into other sectors through acquisition of subsidiaries.

Competition from other Commercial Banks

Exchange rate fluctuations over FX trading

Removal of exclusive rights for certain products

Regulatory controls and tight governing policies

4.2.3 Analysis of the interface relation with Marketing and Strategy Unit

The marketing/strategic unit actually creates the input for the credit&treasury unit being the market created by their unit is being serviced in credit&treasury unit. It implies that any product to be sold at this unit must be to an existing customer of the bank and not a new customer

4.2.4 Recommendations for improvements of the interface Relation

The knowledge gap existing among the staff of Marketing/Strategic unit of how facilities or credit are actually booked is a major challenge. You can't sell what you don't know, hence on the job training is recommended for such unit in order to understand the dynamics of credits and treasury products.


The Operations function of an organisation consists of all of those activities that produce what the organisation produces. It is the function that creates the value that its customers seek.

It can be usefully thought of as using resources to transform input into the goods and services, which are consumed by customers. (BSN Phase 1, Module VI)


The operations unit in FIRSTBANK consists of the following:


Foreign Operations: They handle all operational issues on foreign transactions ranging from forex trading, Letters of credit, bills for collection, Form M approvals, Shipping documents collection and RAR issuance through inspection agents, support services, biddings and transfer of forex transactions etc. these functions may be initiated at various branches but they must be consummated at Foreign operations unit situated at the head office of FirstBank.

Domestic Operations: This operational group handle customer's request on Treasury bill purchase and termination, cash management in branches (i.e. funding branches with cash to meet customers' need or evacuation of cash when there is a surplus at branches), E-biz operations which handle production and issuance of all types of credit and debit cards that can be utilized within and outside the country.

CENTRAL PROCESSING CENTER (CPC): Firstbank introduce a central processing center so that certain activities that are normally carried out at the branch level can be centralized in order to ensure credibility of process and decrease turnaround time. CPC handles admin services, retail liabilities ie booking of loans for retail classified customers and MIS reporting.

BRANCH PROCESSING: They handle clearing activities which is the receipt, processing and transfer of other bank's cheques through the CBN window. Printing and issuance of in house cheques for customers is also handled by this group in a centralized manner.

regions: This where all branch networks fall under, the branch office report to area offices while the area office is managed by the regional office. Lagos regional office controls all branch operation staff in Lagos state. Other regions include South East, North East, North West, West and South South regions.

The Operations Function in FirstBank contributes to increasing the bank's competiveness based on its basic performance objectives which are - excellent service delivery, reduced turnaround time (TAT). The operations group is the actual bedrock in the bank because in it lies all the processes and review in regards to customer request and interface, they are the ones that actually deliver the bank's products to their customers. The operations function transforms most bank processes into finished goods that can be enjoyed by the customer. In the case where a customer may not likely come in contact with the operation's staff, then the process may directly or indirectly be completed or imputed by the operations function.

4.3.2 Interface Relation between Operation unit and Credidt&treasury Unit

The Credit&treasury unit in which the researcher works is actually a unit of Operations unit hence in this context the operations unit is regarded as a group while the other a unit. The researcher's unit being a sub unit of operations carries out its functions through the supervision of the group. The job title, function are specified in order to ensure the smooth running of the bank.

Worthy of note is the fact that departments or units do not work in isolation. In one way or the other the researcher's unit interfaces with other units in the Operation group. As the credit&treasury unit, all lox


Certain processes should be decentralized instead of being centralized, this is because even though the process was created to reduce TAT, it actually increased it since a certain process cannot start

and finish in a unit. An example of this is in account opening process for a walk in customer.

The account is opened with minimal information keyed into the customer's file in the database but the process is not completed because the all documents in regards to such are collated and scanned to CPC which is the centralized unit for all the branch retail processes. They in turn now complete customer's detail and conduct address verification which take days to achieve while the customer is deprived of access to his funds until the process is completed. This function should reside fully at the branch in order to shorten the process.


The financial function is one of the functions of an enterprise that must be performed in a coordinated manner to realize the vision, mission and goals of the enterprise. The financial function refers primarily to the production factor capital and involves the flow of capital to and from the enterprise. In the execution of the Financial function, acquisition and acquisition possibilities (financing issues) and the employment and employment possibilities of capital (investment issues) are of particular interest. (BSN phase 1,Course notes module VII)

The explanation above elaborates the core function of the finance department. The department is empowered to:

Make financial analysis, planning and control

Make investment decisions and management of assets

Initiate financial decisions and management of liabilities

Provide sundry financial services.

This unit in FirstBank is headed by the Chief Financial Officer who is also a member the executive team and reports directly to the GMD/CEO being that they are empowered to carry out the above listed functions on behalf of the bank. This group handles Investor Relations, financial control, business performance monitoring and the internal control and reconciliation. On behalf of the bank it invests in interest yielding activities and also controls the expenses of the bank in regards to interest paid or collected on credits and facilities.

Business Performance monitoring team of the Finance group heads the function of reviews of branch, area and regional performance in all key indicators. They however center on the income generation activities of the bank and how expenses are created through day to day running of service centers and interest payable on liabilities.

The internal control arm of the group ensure compliance with regulatory/statutory laws in line with the bank's policies, this is done by a Resident Internal Control Officer (RICO) who is an independent staff deployed to all branches and service units. The Rico must authorize any loan facility or overdraft

booking before it can be approved. They are seen as the eyes of the management in the branches.

The objective of the Finance group is to ensure that there are no income leakages at any level, to detect report and escalate fraudulent activities, complete compliance with process policies. It is a popular phrase in FirstBank that "The fear of Rico is the beginning of wisdom"

4.4.1 Analysis of the Interface Relation with Finance Unit

As earlier cited, no credit facility to be booked by the credit&treasury unit will fly without the approval and endorsement of the Finance unit through the internal control division of the group. Fixed deposit bookings and renewals must be approved by the Rico and at intervals the activities carried out in the researcher's unit is called-over by the Rico to ensure compliance.

The Business Performance monitoring holds quarterly business meeting with operations as whole. The meeting records


The finance unit should understand that staffs are officers of the bank hence they are working for the common goal and interest of the bank. If this is imbibed in them, there will be better interface relations as against what was realized in the bank. Credit and loan interest rates should be left at the discretion of the Credit&Treasury department or better still a particular range should be given to them so that they can play around the rates. This is because the researcher's unit officers have negotiating and analytical abilities which is necessitated by their jobs and they understand market trends better, they are better informed of competitor's activities as regards to interest rates than the Finance department.

There is need for continuous training of the credit&treasury unit staff in regards to the financial dealings, given ever dynamic and changing environment of the banking industry, continuous training is therefore essential for successful job simulation and better understanding of any financial action initiated at the branch level.


This chapter focuses on the analysis of the researcher's management and leadership style, decision making and creativity, interpersonal skills and area of improvements.


Management is working together with others or through others, in order to realise the goals of the company/organisation, while with leadership we mean every attempt to influence the behavior of another person or group, leadership is about guiding, developing and being a model for people in order for them to reach their goals.(BSN Phase 1Course Notes, module I Ch 3, p. 31).it is preferable for the modern day manager to be a leader because encourages the achievement of organisational goals, it also enhances the attainment of personal goals . A successful leader is one who achieves his managerial goals while influencing his subordinates to achieve theirs.

The table below elaborates the researcher's leadership style and areas of improvement.

Preferred style


Support style


Style flexibility


Style effectiveness


Table 3: Leadership styles

Weakness/Flaws of researcher's Dominant Leadership Style-SUPPORTING

The weakness of this dominant style is assumed high competence and considerable commitment of subordinates".

The believes of this style include

Staff can assume responsibility without directive

Take initiative without instructions

Staffs have acquired competence from previous jobs and have natural commitment and loyalty to the organisation.

Plans on Improvement

The plans to be executed include measures to develop the ability to patiently delegate, coach and direct, allowing people to learn from mistakes, supervise effectively, and hand over responsibility to them.

The researcher should also diagnose the competence and commitment level of the staff and create a balance between them; he is to deploy situational responses for different personality without loosing credibility. Finally the researcher is to agree KPI measures with his workforce and measure performance transparently with facts unmixed with emotions. No particular method is prototype for all situations,

therefore the researcher is to continually review his leadership style and