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Banks Call for Special Court to Deal with Financial Crimes

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Dr Ken Opara, president, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has said that there was a need for the creation of a specialised court to exclusively deal with commercial and financial cases as opposed to having divisions within the existing court structure.

Banks Call for Special Court to Deal with Financial Crimes

Opara, spoke at a programme organised by the CIBN in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI),

He was concerned about the dynamic nature of the financial sector, especially with rising financial technology, saying there was a need to deliver judgment.

According to him, there is also a need for the sector to work together to boost capacity otherwise the right judgment could remain elusive.

“We need to speed up cases. That is why we are canvassing for a commercial court. We have seen a lot of improvement, especially division and department in taking care of commercial cases. But we think much more needs to be done by setting up a special court for commercial and financial cases that will be able to take care of our financial matters,” he said.

Opara said strong measures are required on cybersecurity as capital is being eroded due to gaps that exist globally.

While Olayemi Cardoso, governor of the CBN, had said banks would be required to increase their capital base to service the $1 trillion economy projected by President Bola Tinubu, Opara said banks had already taken steps ahead of the apex.

He said most banks in Nigeria would be able to meet the benchmark, adding that raising the fund would not be an issue for Nigerian banks.

At the event, which focused on ‘The Financial Service Industry and the Judiciary: Upscaling for a Sound Economic Ecosystem,’ Opara said magistrate courts are illegally issuing bankers orders despite a series of judicial precedents.

Opara added that while the responsibility of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to curb crime cannot be over emphasized, officials from the commission are illegally storming banks and directing the bank to place post no debits on the account of the bank customers contrary to the legal provisions on confidentiality of banks accounts.

“Traditionally, the application for a Garnishee specifies the third-party (garnishee) in the custody of the debtor’s assets to be attached. However, the prevalent practice continues to be for the judgment creditor to proceed against all banks (as garnishees) without first verifying the indebtedness of the bank to the judgment debtor,” he said.


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E-Financial

YouThrive: Access Bank Set to Empower over 700,000 MSMEs with 50Bn Loans

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Access Bank, Nigeria’s largest bank by customer base with a global footprint beyond Africa has launched a “YouThrive” initiative which targets to empower 700,000 MSMEs in the country through a 5N0bn loan.

YouThrive: Access Bank Set to Empower over 700,000 MSMEs with 50Bn Loans

Victor Etuokwu, deputy managing director, Access Bank announced this during a press briefing held recently at the bank’s head office in Lagos. The bank’s Deputy Managing Director also revealed that the MSMEs that would benefit from the programme would undergo trainings to enable them optimally make use of the loan.

In his words, “Access Bank is set to financially empower over 700,000 youth MSMEs and to achieve this, we have set aside N50bn to lend to them at a huge, discounted interest rate.

To be eligible to access this loan, all applicants must be within the ages of 21 to 40 years.

“The Youthrive’ is a transformative initiative designed by Access Bank to empower, uplift, and accelerate the next generation of MSMEs. In the next four years we will empower 4 million youth, one million per year.

It would not just be about lending, we are building various capacity-building activities for them, and the curriculum will be centred around Technology, Creatives, Business Management and Skill acquisition.

Reiterating Victor’s comments at the Inaugural Job Creation and MSME Quarterly Communications Forum, hosted by the Senior Special Assistant to the president on job creation and MSME held recently in Abuja, Chioma Ogwo, head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank said “In four years, we hope to empower four million people, or one million each year. We have a business exchange program for the beneficiaries that would enable the SMEs to go and exchange ideas with their counterparts in other countries. Every year, 700,000 would be given access to financing, and 300,000 would be trained.” After then, we will take the best advice from the best and return to Nigeria to implement it.

There is also going to be employment opportunities as 1000 outstanding individuals who receive these trainings by the Bank and its holding companies will be recruited within the Tech space, the Access corporation ecosystem and other partner companies” Ogwo concluded.

Speaking on this initiative, Temitola Adekunle Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to the president on job creation and MSMEs said that the initiative by Access Bank will help address the issue of access to affordable loans by small businesses.

He said the end point is to achieve a single digit loan by commercial banks for MSMEs. “Our aim is to ensure single digit loans become the norm for MSMEs.” He disclosed that disbursements will be made after the loan assessment is processed. This initiative will help reduce the bottlenecks often faced by MSMEs in securing funding for their businesses.

He commended the bank for using its funds and giving out the loan at a discounted rate and urged small businesses to take advantage of the opportunity and grow their businesses

Adekunle-Johnson also disclosed that the government is working towards creating 100,000 thousand jobs by May 29 and 384,000 jobs in four years.

He said the initiative will be launched massively across the country as the government is willing to provide businesses with the support of the social and private sector partnership.

He therefore urged other financial institutions to come up with programmes to support the SME sector.

To be part of this initiative and learn more about the YouThrive project, please click HERE or send an email to [email protected] for more enquires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Banking Sector Becoming Cesspool of Financial Crimes- EFCC

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has revealed that approximately 70 percent of financial crimes in Nigeria are connected to banks.

Banking Sector Becoming Cesspool of Financial Crimes- EFCC

Ola Olukoyede, chairman, EFCC, stated this during his address in Abuja at the 2023 Annual Retreat and General Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria.

The EFCC boss pointed out that the banking industry was becoming more characterized by fraudulent activities, posing significant challenges and concerns for the commission.

Olukoyede, represented by Idowu Apejoye, director of Internal Audit, EFCC, emphasized the importance of collaborative actions from relevant authorities and industry professionals, particularly audit executives, to proactively address and combat fraudulent activities within the sector.

“Broadly speaking, banking fraud in Nigeria is both inside and outside related. The inside related fraud comprises outright selling of customers’ deposits, authorising loan facilities, forgery and several other kinds of unhealthy and criminal practices,” he said.

“The outsider related ones include hacking, ATM fraud, conspiracy, among others. And then the absurd one is when both collaborate, that is collaboration among the bankers and the outsider.

“That one is the one that is really absurd because when you do that, that means you are selling out the system. It is estimated that about 70 per cent of financial crimes in Nigeria are traceable to the banking sector, this scenario is disturbing and unacceptable,” he added.


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Ekiti to Engage 1000 Youths for Agency Banking Programme

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Worried by the exodus of banks from many areas in the state, the Ekiti State government has disclosed that it is taking financial services to all 177 wards in the state through agency banking.

It would be recalled that as a result of incessant bank robberies, many financial institutions have relocated from many local government areas in the state, leaving residents to travel to the state capital for banking transactions.

According to the government, the intending banks for the proposed programme include Wema, Stanbic IBTC, and First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

The state Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Kayode Fasae, made this known in Ado-Ekiti during an inter-ministerial meeting with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies that would play roles in the mobilisation of relevant stakeholders and participants for the programme.

Mr Fasae said the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment has delineated the state into 132 units in preparation for the commencement of the guided Agency Banking Programme in Ekiti state under which many unemployed youths would be empowered.

He described agency banking as a strategy in the financial industry that uses authorised agents to deliver financial services to customers living in remote areas and beyond the reach of the traditional branch network.

Mr Fasae said would-be beneficiaries are to form cluster groups before they can take part in the programme.

Relatedly, the commissioner also disclosed that the government would soon begin the collation of data on unemployed youths, market women, artisans, motorcycle riders, people with disabilities and other citizens between the ages of 18 and 50.

He said that every individual captured under the programme would have a unique means of identification, so they could easily be contacted whenever there are job opportunities and other empowerment opportunities.

 

 


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