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SANEF, CBN Achieve Interoperability at Agents Banking Units This November

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Financial inclusion initiative of central bank of Nigeria, CBN, will receive a boost next month as agent banking units under the initiative will begin to enjoy interoperability, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek has learnt.

Ronke Kuye, managing director, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility, SANEF, disclosed this on the side line at Inlaks digital summit last week. She said that interoperability has posed a major challenge for agents under the SANEF programme as agents are unable to open any bank account for customers from one unit.

“By November this year banking agents under SANEF programme will begin to open accounts and make transactions in all the banks from a single unit. By then we would have achieved interoperability,” she said.

She also expressed the need for collaboration among stakeholders in the financial services delivery especially in the area of financial literacy.

A player in that space, Fasasi Sarafadeen Atanda, managing director, Ecosystem Hybrid Network, described interoperability as open banking that allows customers at agent banking location to be able to access banking facility of any of their choice of brand bank at a single agent unit.

“Achieving interoperability at agency banking level is a welcome development and there are a lot of services that we need to have with interoperability not just about opening of account alone. When you open an account, interoperability also allows transactions to move from one bank to the other and also from one mobile money operator to the other.

“As it is today, the major challenge we have is actually interoperability because some banks are not allowing inflow of transactions from banks they don’t have good relationship with or they don’t have good perception about.

“They see it as competition and prevent instant inflow of transactions from such banks to their bank. Also in terms of wallets, today you cannot move money from Paga to Firstmonie or from Opay to Firstmonie. CBN and SANEF need to intervene for banks and wallets to see themselves as partners not competitors for us to deepen financial inclusion in its real sense.

“However, some of these things happening in the field, CBN and SANEF may not be aware; some of these issues I have highlighted may be deliberate for business sense and may also not be deliberate because of technology.

“Because there are no standard set for digital banking in Nigeria, some banks are not supposed to be playing in digital banking space because the level of their technological deployment cannot accommodate huge instant transactions to their bank.

Moreover, if we have to achieve full interoperability, there is needed to set standard for technology deployed by banks, super agents and mobile money operators,” he said.

According to Victor Olojo, National President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN), “Financial inclusion should enable people irrespective of whatever financial institution they are operating. It means, if I have a Paga wallet I should be able to send money from my Paga wallet to Quickteller or PocketMoney wallet. Presently, this is not happening. What we have in the market place today is using different point of sale terminals for different banks, in that regard, I ‘m using 10 PoS for 10 banks. The ideal situation should be one PoS from Bank A should be able to attend to customers from nine other banks.

“That will solve the problem and the money I spent in buying the other nine PoS for other banks could be invested in the business. Imagine investing N900,000 in other areas of my mobile money business that will assist in driving financial inclusion. If interoperability issue is resolved, it means a problem of financial inclusion would have been adequately addressed”.


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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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Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

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President Muhammadu  Buhari has approved the establishment of an   Infrastructure Company (Infraco) to be driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

This is coming  on the heels of the foreign reserves’ slump to $36 billion following a cocktail of monetary policy interventions by the apex bank to cushion the scathing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made these disclosures in Abuja at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with the theme: Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance.

According to him, Infraco would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.

“This entity would also be able to raise funds from the capital markets and mobilise long term finance to address some of our infrastructure needs, while providing reasonable returns to investors. “We believe this well-structured fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective.

“A well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country”, he explained.

On foreign reserves, Emefiele attributed its crash to the decline in foreign exchange earnings and subsequent adjustments in the value of the naira to the dollar.


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Amana Bank signs Comprehensive Software Deal with Path Solutions

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Amana Bank, a leading Islamic bank in Somalia has announced that it has selected iMAL, the AAOIFI-certified core banking platform from Path Solutions to replace its legacy IT system and deploy a single, cloud-based digital banking platform to underpin its banking operations.

This is Path Solutions’ third win in Somalia after Premier Bank and MyBank Ltd. The company went through a lengthy competitive bidding to which all international suppliers were invited, before being selected as Amana Bank’s preferred technology partner.

According to a statement following the signing, Path Solutions will supply and install its flagship Islamic core banking platform iMAL in addition to its comprehensive digital suite at Amana Bank Somalia. The new digital software will provide instant 24/7 service availability with fast, inexpensive, easy and convenient online banking, frictionless payments and transfers, personalization, engagement and retention.

Abdirizak Hussein Malin, Chairman of Amana Bank Somalia commented, “As part of our strategy, Amana Bank has instituted a digital transformation plan that will help us meet the emerging needs of our customers and the increasing demands of innovation.

“Consequently, we required a partner with open and agile technology that will drive powerful change. We have chosen Path Solutions for its ability to deliver vital digital financial solutions at this critical time with its depth of experience supporting Islamic banks in Africa.

“The company has differentiated itself from other vendors in its unique ability to combine core Islamic values with modern digital banking solutions, and to fully comply with Sharia and banking regulations.

“We are confident that the new technology, proven to significantly improve levels of customer fulfilment, will transform our operations by driving incredible efficiency gains while also reducing risk, lowering overall IT costs via higher automation and lower maintenance spending”.

The new iMAL platform leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to help financial institutions get predictive insights for better data-driven decision making. It will also help strengthen customer loyalty through enhanced security transactions.

“We are delighted to partner with a leading Islamic bank in Somalia on a project that will set a new standard in digital banking for the country. Today, every financial institution has an incredible opportunity to apply advances in cloud computing to redefine every aspect of its business”, said Mohammed Kateeb, Path Solutions’ Group Chairman & CEO.

“Somalia’s Amana Bank is a good example of this transformation to drive innovation forward and ensure much more secure banking experience, enabling customers to enjoy the nuances of non-stop banking with cloud-based services.

The bank will also benefit from the full Islamic coverage which bridges the gap between modern customer requirements and intrinsic Islamic values. Our multi-award winning Islamic core banking platform will support the delivery of innovative digital products that are both Sharia-compliant and specialized for Amana Bank’s retail and corporate customers”.

The new agreement was signed by Amana Bank’s Chairman Abdirizak Hussein Malin and Path Solutions’ Group Chairman & CEO Mohammed Kateeb on Sunday 6 September at Path Solutions’ Dubai office. The implementation will be delivered 100% in the cloud and 100% remotely amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.


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