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Atlas Mara, Mastercard Enter into Partnership for Financial Access

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Atlas Mara and Mastercard have signed three strategic business agreements, which aim to build a stronger digital payment ecosystem with a focus on accelerating financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa.

The strategic alliance will pave the way for up to 20 million consumers and 100,000 merchants across Africa to be digitally and financially included in the formal financial sector by 2020.

By leveraging the Mastercard worldwide network and other processing assets, including the host of Mastercard secure digital payment platforms, such as HomeSend, Masterpass QR and Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, this partnership will enable Atlas Mara’s operating banks in Africa to build stronger payment ecosystems and expand access to fast and secure remittance, e-Commerce, and mobile payment solutions. 

“These Mastercard assets will position Atlas Mara to lead ongoing industry efforts to create cash-lite payments ecosystems, entrench financial independence, promote intra-Africa trade and remittances thus fast tracking attainment of scale as an Africa focused bank,” said Chidi Okpala, Chief Digital Officer at Atlas Mara.

“The digital payment solutions developed by the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in collaboration with Atlas Mara will help create a highly efficient society and facilitate true inclusive growth in Africa while reducing transaction costs across the continent.”

According to Daniel Monehin, Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard: “Sub-Saharan Africa requires innovative solutions and strong collaborations across sectors to help drive economic growth.  Mobile subscriptions in the region is steadily increasing and it is clear that mobile based solutions are relevant to the needs of people on the continent, and will help to develop an Africa that is less dependent on cash.”

“Africa’s remittance market has opened up a number of opportunities for driving financial inclusion due to the lack of legacy issues. According to research by the World Bank, the Sub-Saharan Africa region had an inward remittance flow of over US$34 billion, with outward remittance flows of approximately US$4 billion,” continued Monehin.

Masterpass QR, the Mastercard mobile-driven, Person-to-Merchant (P2M) payment solution, will also be rolled-out as part of the partnership, thus facilitating access to an affordable alternative to traditional point-of-sale (POS) terminals for merchants to accept electronic payments from their customers, benefiting the entire economy.

Added to this ecosystem, merchants and consumers will have access to the Mastercard suite of digital and traditional payment solutions, including prepaid, debit, and credit Mastercard cards, widely accepted at millions of locations worldwide. These payment cards offer EMV chip and pin technology, ensuring that all transactions are safe and secure.

“Our partnership with Mastercard will help to accelerate Atlas Mara’s vision to become a positive disruptive force in Sub-Saharan Africa by leveraging technology to provide innovative and differentiated product offerings that will better meet the diverse needs of people in the markets we currently operate, and as we expand across Africa.  After all, Africa’s success, is our success,” concluded Chidi Okpala.


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E-Financial

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

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Amidst sustained pressures on Nigeria’s official foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has opened investigations into foreign exchange transactions of 55 companies and individuals.

The apex bank linked them to foreign exchange deals outside the official Investors & Exporters (I&E) window.

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

The I&E window was created by the CBN as the legitimate platform for buying and selling of foreign currencies.

Some of the major corporate organisations in the list include Stallion Nigeria Limited, a conglomerate involved in several sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The list also includes Nigeria’s leading electronic payment company, Interswitch Nigeria Limited, as well as a leading global shipping line, CMA CGM Nigeria Shipping Limited.

Other big names in the list include Petro-Afrique Energy Services Limited, Steel Force Far East Limited, Auto Petroleum Company Limited, Cavendish Mechanicals Limited, Aquashield Oil & Marine Limited, Haitch & Elf Integrated Services Limited, Fenog Nigeria Limited, and Promasidor Nigeria Limited.


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FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

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Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.

FG makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ‎ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

The notice issued by the government to that effect read, ‎“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.‎”

The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.

Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guidelin‎e was not for all Nigerians.

The government attributed the development to misinformation.

The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, ‎“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. ‎FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.

Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”


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Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.

“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.

“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.

“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.

“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.

“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”


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