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CBN Urges Fintechs, Payment Service Providers to Stick to Standards

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has urged financial technology companies, payment service providers and Deposit Money Banks engaged in offering payment solutions to customers to ensure they adhere to policy framework and standards that guide their respective operations in the ecosystem in which they operate.

Mr. Musa Itopa Jimoh, Deputy Director, Payments System Policy and Oversight, Central Bank of Nigeria, stated this in Lagos in the week during the corporate launch of Xpress Payment Solutions Limited.

He explained that the CBN was trying to build an ecosystem that allows everyone to have equal opportunity to present and run his own system, adding that Fintech was introduced into payment system with the aim of deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria.

The event was witnessed by representatives of some state governments, Deposit Money Banks, fintech organisations, e-payment industries who commented on the quality and reliable services provided by Xpress Solutions.

The deputy director represented Mr. Samuel Okojere, Director, Payment Systems Management Department, CBN, who said the CBN made a commitment in 2011 to bring those that are outside the banking sector closer, hence the introduction of Fintech companies into payment space.

Okojere said: “What does CBN expect from the operators in the financial payment service providers? Number one is compliance with set standards. This is the only thing that can make you integrate to global best practices. If you are not complying with regulation, you cannot connect with the local one. There are rules that guide this service that we provide in Nigeria and also in the world.

“It is our joy today that our cards can go anywhere in the world and is being used. This is because we comply with the best practices, and I’m happy to hear that Xpress Payments has also competed in certification on PCIDSS.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that we all behave very well within the financial ecosystem. And so compliance is a major responsibility.

“I want to imagine that added to that responsibility of the board members is cyber-crime, you also check and ensure that you comply with all the directives of CBN. Actually, non-compliance can bring your company down.”

The director, who charged the board of directors and other stakeholders in the financial services to take privacy and protection of customers data seriously, disclosed that bringing more people on board so they can benefit from financial services that payment providers offer “is one of the core responsibilities of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

He said the cashless policy introduced by the apex bank was also meant to encourage more Nigerians to adopt electronic payment.

“And again, to strengthen that, we came with a cashless policy basically to see how we can encourage people to adopt electronic payment option so that all these fanciful solutions that you have provided can be enjoyed. Without cashless policy, I can decide not to pay my tax in cash. If I pay my tax in cash, then you have no revenue, you are not even in equation.

“It’s only when I chose to make my revenue collection through electronic form that a solution becomes very effective. Central Bank is driving that through cashless policy and encouraging all Nigerians to adopt electronic means of payment.”

Oluwadare Owolabi, Managing Director/CEO, Xpress Payment Solutions Ltd, noted that every sector of human endeavour in the globe had been extensively characterised by technological disruption.

“The need to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of customers for better service quality and innovations that work within the e-Payment industry coupled with this technological revolution created the dream that necessitated the birth of the company we are celebrating today.

“Consequently, distinguished guests, we started the journey with a clear focus and understanding of the needs of our target markets which formed the bedrock of our core business drivers: Easy, Fast, Secure.

With these, our aim was to provide a stress-free experience for you by creating solutions that enable smarter living. This we knew from the onset can only be realised by the assemblage of experienced and exceptional team and deployment of the cutting edge technology.”

According to him, the commitment to deepen financial inclusion penetration in Nigeria and provide a seamless and hitch-free transaction experience for customers led to the creation of an array of e-Payment products and services by the organisation that had been embraced and deployed by some state governments in the federation and some commercial banks as well.


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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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