The event, held at Sheraton Hotel and Spa, was well attended by dignitaries and stakeholders of the bank.
Speaking on the occasion, the managing director of FBNBank Gambia Limited, Mrs Uloma Kings-Olikagu, thanked the Gambian leader, President Yahya Jammeh, for his quality leadership which has led to a stable political and economic environment suitable for investment.
She also hailed the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), the Nigerian embassy in The Gambia, parastatals, shareholders, customers and staff of the bank for their immense contribution to seamless integrate the bank in The Gambia.
Mrs Kings-Olikagu said First Bank of Nigeria has more than 120 years experience in the banking industry and it will leverage that experience in The Gambia to attract more foreign direct investment to the country.
Speaking on behalf of the governor of the CBG, Basirou Njai described FBNBank as one of the “poster guards” of regulatory compliance within the Gambia banking industry.
Mr Njai, the first deputy Governor of the CBG, said the approved acquisition of International Commercial Bank (ICB) by First Bank was predicated on rigorous due diligence and the assurances by First Bank to contribute significantly to the socio-economic growth of The Gambia.
The Group Managing Director/CEO of First Bank Nigeria Limited, Bisi Onasanya, reiterated the pedigree of the First Bank brand and its long standing policies in aiding its host countries in various geo-political locations in achieving socio-economic growth and development.
He applauded the people and government of The Gambia for their hospitality and invaluable support which informed the decision to include The Gambia as one of the destinations for the expansion of the brand.
Mr Onasanya said First Bank has the biggest balance sheet in West Africa and is the largest African bank in the United Kingdom.
He explained that the bank is in the process of rolling out state-of-the-art technology solutions that would see better Internet banking services, mobile money applications and a host of other e-banking products that are second to none.
In his key note address, President Yahya Jammeh congratulated the board of the First Bank for the bank’s operations in The Gambia and its various achievements in Nigeria and Africa at large.
In a statement read on his behalf by the Minister of Trade Abdoulie Jobe, President Jammeh thanked the bank for extending its operations to The Gambia, noting that First Bank is a Gambian and Pan-African bank, not a Nigerian bank.
He pointed out that the government`s goals vis-a-viz Vision 2020 is hinged on the private sector hence the government`s resolve in implementing policies and programmes to facilitate the growth of a vibrant private sector.
The Gambian leader also acknowledged the presence of a number of Nigerian businesses and recognised the role they continue to play in driving the Gambian economy.
Meanwhile, highlight of the launching night was the unveiling of the FBNBank Gambia refreshed identity led by the Minister of Trade Abdoulie Jobe, assisted by the GMD/CEO of First Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya and other dignitaries.
Established in 1894, First Bank of Nigeria Limited is a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc and one of Nigeria’s leading financial services institution by total assets and gross earnings.
It is also said to be one of the largest corporate and retail banking financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa.
The bank is noted for its consistency in building relationships with customers focusing on fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, risk management and strong capitalisation.
First Bank operates an extensive distribution network with more than 750 business locations, at least 2,500 ATMs and more than nine million customer accounts.
The bank provides a comprehensive range of financial services and has international presence through its subsidiaries, in UK, France, DR Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal as well as its representative offices in Johannesburg, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.