Folasade Femi-Lawal is a Senior Executive and Digital Payment expert with over 25 years’ experience spanning Retail Banking, Business Advisory Services and Telecoms. She is a fellow of the Institutes of Chartered Accountants, Chartered Institute of Taxation & Association of Enterprise Risk Managers of Nigeria. Folasade joined FirstBank in 2012 and was appointed Head of Digital Banking Group in 2015. She is currently the Head of Card & Messaging Business at FirstBank where she manages about 12million Cards with over 30% market share in Banking industry card transactions’ volume and value.
Folasade equally coordinates card products strategy at FirstBank and its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Since her assumption of the leadership of Cards and Messaging Business, FirstBank has won the highest card issuing Bank and Highest Card transacting Bank awards by Interswitch Group for four consecutive years. She grew the Messaging Business of FirstBank from a service platform (Cost Center) to SMS as a Solution (SaaS) (Profit Center) with over $20m Revenue growth, one of the highest in the industry.
Folasade is passionate about Financial Inclusion and led the team that launched digital payments to rural voluntary workers in Northern Nigeria in partnership with UNICEFtowards the eradication of polio in Nigeria. The work with UNICEF positioned FirstBank to secure the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant of $12m to develop Agency Banking in Nigeria. She further demonstrated her commitment in the execution of FirstBank’s partnership with Cherie Blair Foundation for the empowerment of 2,500 women. These achievements amongst others positioned FirstBank to win the coveted ‘Best Mobile Money Operator‘ award by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFINA).
She has to her credit the successful launch of FirstBank Virtual Card, an innovative digital payment card in 2021, in response to the pandemic and ‘first of its kind’ Multi Currency Card in Nigeria by an indigenous bank with direct links to four currencies namely Naira, Euro, Dollar and Pound Sterling.
She also launched the Award-winning integrated lifestyle Mobile Banking App, FirstMobile. The product won “Best Digital Bank of Distinction” award by Global Finance in 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2021, and the “Best Mobile Payments” and “Best Digital Bank” awards by The Asian Banker awards in 2016 and 2017.
Folasade is currently the Secretary, Emerging Payments and Technologies for Committee of eBusiness Industry Heads (CeBIH) where she is also representing the Industry on the Board of Financial Service Innovators (FSI), a Start-up Fintech association committed to building a talent pool of developers to assist the Banking Industry address Industry capacity challenge on Technology Talents. She was appointed as a Pillar Lead for Career Management of First Women Network (FWN) by the Managing Director/CEO of FirstBank, Dr Sola Adeduntan in 2019. She has impacted hundreds of Female First Bankers through Career coaching and capacity building. Folasade has also been a mentor of Professional Women with WimBiz (Women in Business and Public Service) for over seven years.
She is a mentor of Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs in partnership with the U.S. Consulate General for the White House Initiative -Academy For Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).
Folasade is a Harvard Business School trained professional with verifiable year-on-year success achieving revenue, profit, and business growth objectives within start-up, turnaround, and rapid- change environments. She has been in the Banking Industry actively for the past nine years with an unblemished record of outstanding achievements in her various roles.
She is a sought-after International and Local Conference Speaker/Panelist on Finance Tech, and Digital Transformation. Folasade is a Non-Executive Director at Anglo Africa Investments Ltd, a conglomerate based in Mauritius, and Council Member for Gershom Lehman Consulting in the USA. She recently accepted an invitation to join Forbes Development Business Council in September 2021 as a thought leader.
Folasade is also a mentor in the second cohort of the Career Advancement and Mentorship Program (CAMP). CAMP is a 6-month program developed by LLA to encourage workplace readiness and career development for women of African descent. It’s aim is to build a community of highly skilled female professionals, and equip them with the skills they need to thrive in their professional lives, and in the global workplace.
Folasade holds an MBA in Management Information Systems from Texila American University, Guyana, North America.