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Carbon Launches Financial Services Platform for Businesses

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Carbon, Nigeria’s foremost digital financial services company, has launched Carbon for Business, a digital financial services platform that provides startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and FinTechs with the services and technology they need to build and scale their businesses.

With access to uncollateralized credit, secure online payments, reliable funds transfer and fast KYC (know your customer) compliance obligations, businesses can take advantage of Carbon’s infrastructure to achieve business objectives and strategic goals, boost their value offerings and get to market faster.

The platform will offer businesses the opportunity to access APIs and services such as:

Identity verification – Carbon IVS is an identity verification system that enables businesses perform KYC and anti-money laundering services on prospective staff or other parties. Carbon IVS is integrated with all major identity databases including passport, Bank Verification Number (BVN), driver’s license and voters registration.

Fund transfers and overdraft – The platform will also include Optimus, an affordable and reliable funds transfer platform that provides low cost    transfers.  For qualified businesses, Optimus also provide an overdraft facility that allows customers short-term funding needed to make critical payments during short-term cash shortages.

Online payments – Businesses will be able to accept online payments from Visa, Verve and Mastercard in over 40 currencies. All transactions are PCI  DSS compliant, 3D Secure enabled, and processed through an SSL encrypted channel.

SME business loans – up to ₦20 million uncollateralized flexible repayment loans.

“As part of our goal of connecting businesses with the funds and services that will enable them to thrive and expand, we are aiming to provide robust infrastructure and a suite of services that will transform their processes.

Carbon for Business will signal a new era of business growth and transformation, especially for businesses that have been overwhelmed by complexities and rigidity of mundane financial services technologies and traditional sources of financing“ said Chijioke Dozie, CEO of Carbon.

Since launching in 2016, Carbon has amassed more than 1 million users, initially providing consumers with access to credit, simple payments solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for personal financial management.

The company has disbursed more than $35.6 million in loans and in 2018 alone achieved revenues of $10.4 million. This expansion into business-focussed users represents the next step on the journey of becoming the most versatile digital finance platform, anywhere.

In today’s emerging markets, starting and running a business depends on a combination of having the right technology, payment infrastructure, legal obligation and access to affordable finance. Unfortunately, most SMEs do not have access to this fundamental framework for survival.

According to the World Bank, in 2018, about 70 percent of businesses could not access finance from the banks.

In Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, the share of SME lending in the overall loan portfolios of banks varies between 5 to 20 percent with 45 percent of businesses in emerging markets lacking access to the right technology partners. These are some of the reasons why Carbon has decided to provide the Carbon for Business platform.

Carbon is inviting SMEs to take advantage of its infrastructure to access affordable finance in two ways: through the SME finance product and by offering overdrafts on the Optimus product.

With agency banking and traditional e-payments, businesses regularly face challenges with liquidity, access to cash flow over weekends and long settlement cycles.

Carbon for Business, using Optimus, will give businesses quicker access to funds at a far lower rate than the banks while availing them the cash they need to meet business needs when they need it.

The Carbon for Business platform is also part of Carbon’s advocacy efforts in pushing the Nigerian banking and financial services industry towards adopting Open API standards, as signalled by their recent partnership with Open Banking Nigeria


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CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider

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Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has recertified the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Academy as a training service provider for various professionals in the banking industry.

CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider

The council also renewed the academy’s accreditation for the next three years, effective from June 2020.

Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, said the recertification followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since it initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.

The recertification, according to Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, Head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since its initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.

He noted that there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to.

Mr Ogunpola commended the NDIC for its consistent efforts toward meeting the high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy.

He described the NDIC’s readiness to subject itself to the rigors of the Institute’s accreditation process as a testimony of its Management’s commitment to capacity development for all stakeholders.

In his reaction, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim, managing director/chief executive, NDIC, described the recertification as another milestone in the NDIC efforts to consolidate the position of the Academy as a center of academic excellence in the nation’s banking industry and on deposit insurance in Africa.

Mr Ibrahim disclosed that the Academy had so far trained a total of 13,368 participants cutting across the NDIC’s workforce.

“It had also trained 135 participants from relevant stakeholders, including the EFCC, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

“On the international front, 19 employees from sister deposit insurance agencies in other African countries had benefitted from the expertise of the Academy,” the managing director noted.

He stated that the NDIC Academy has been designated to host the African Centre for Studies on Deposit Insurance System (ACSDIS) recently established by the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurance (IADI).

Mr. Ibrahim reiterated that with the recertification, the NDIC Academy is positioned to fulfill the NDIC’s goal of serving as a center of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He added that the NDIC prides itself on establishing the highest standards of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program at Bangor University, Wales in partnership with the CIBN.

The NDIC boss emphasized that the Corporation places high premium on capacity building and continuous high level training of its staff to achieve the NDIC mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, bank distress resolution and liquidation.

“The ultimate goal would be to enhance depositor protection and public confidence in the nation’s banking system,” he said.


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Deloitte, Heritage Bank, PWC Urge Internal Auditors to Embrace IT to Tackle Fraud

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Deloite, Heritage Bank Plc and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) have urged internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), Ifie Sekibo, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced  fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, Director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.


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ALAT By Wema Bank Upgrades Mobile Banking App

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ALAT by Wema Bank, as an innovative financial institution,  has introduced its upgraded mobile app – ALAT 4.0- to enable customers to remain connected to do much more. A unique app that provides seamless access to an array of exciting features serves as a platform where customers can personalise offerings to meet their frequent financial and lifestyle needs.

ALAT By Wema Bank Upgrades Mobile Banking App

Being a customer-centric financial institution, the upgraded app serves as a one-stop platform that gives customers the option to create unique experiences for themselves; this includes dashboard personalization where customers can decide to hide and unhide their account balance as well as to display the most frequently used feature on their dashboard.

Mr Moruf Oseni, deputy managing director, speaking on the new upgrade expressed his delight, he said “we made a promise earlier this year to improve customer experience by introducing improved unique features to the app. Based on feedback from customers, a lot of effort was put together to ensure we deliver on our promise to ensure this upgrade affords customers a delightful and memorable service experience”.

As part of the new features is the card control option which enables customers to put a limit on their spending habit and the reintroduction of the virtual dollar card which gives customers the ability to make international payments irrespective of the currency.

ALAT has also expanded loan offerings to goal based loans, salary-based lending and device loan. Customers can also top up existing loan amounts, make part payment during the loan cycle at any time and liquidate the loan before the end of the loan cycle at any given time.

Oseni further added, “For us, it is imperative that customers have access to a flexible and seamless user experience on our platform. In introducing exciting features to the app, we ensured that major lifestyle and financial needs can be met through ALAT 4.0. As a bank, we will continue to create innovative solutions for our customers and solidify our lead in digital banking”


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