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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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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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