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UBA Assures of Innovative Services to Boost Trade, Financial Inclusion in Africa

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United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Pan African financial Institution, has assured its customers that it is dedicated to facilitating intra African trade and financial inclusion, by providing premium services, through consistent innovation and relentless investment in technology.

 

This bank said is targeted towards spurring financial inclusion on the continent.

 

Chiugo Ndubisi, Bank’s group executive, Transformation and Resources, made this disclosure on Thursday, during the Africa Day Celebration, at the ongoing 2019 Lagos International Trade Fair.

 

Speaking at the event which had the theme ‘Boosting Intra Africa Trade: Institutions, Finance and Technology,’ Ndubisi said: “As Africa’s global bank, we understand the importance of intra-African trade. Therefore, we have put services in place to support this. With Africash, our intra-African money transfer services, customers can easily move money around for trade and investment within the continent.

 

He continued: “More importantly, financial institutions like the UBA have taken up the Financial Inclusion challenge, using different digital channels to expand access to financial services.

 

Explaining UBA’s role in service delivery to its customers, he said, “In our quest to make every UBA branch a home branch to our customers, regardless of the African country they come from, we introduced UBAConnect, a service that has effectively supported trade in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) region. We have recorded massive success in this regard.”

 

Ndubisi added that UBA customers in the CEMAC region – Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea – can enjoy instant access to their accounts in the bank’s branches anywhere within the region, explaining that these services are in line with the bank’s belief that greater access to financial services can contribute to increase in the productivity of businesses, especially Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) – engines of economic growth on the continent.

 

“At UBA, we are excited about the possibilities the future holds for intra-African trade, with the required number of countries ratifying the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). The agreement will create a single African market of more than a billion consumers with a total GDP of over $3 trillion. UBA is well positioned to support individuals and businesses when AfCFTA comes into force,” he noted.

 

On his part, Ruwase while addressing the participants and business owners said the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a welcome development, adding that almost all African nations have shown interest in the agreement.

 

Ruwase said, “We believe the pact will further boost trade in a continent with a population of 1.2 billion and market size of about U$2.5 trillion, as it allows members to specialize in their areas of comparative advantage.”

 

“However, it is important to note that AfCFTA may not work out as planned if members fail to reform their business environment, diversify their exports base, fix their infrastructural problems, address regulatory challenges as well as institutional constraints, and map out strategies to improve their economic competitiveness, he noted.

 

A high point of the event was the visit to UBA branch by  Ndubisi, were a first- hand experience of UBA’s self- printing debit card machine was carried out. While at the branch it was a bee-hive of activity as  tonnes of customers gathered in their numbers to enjoy the unique service recently introduced by the bank.

 

The new self-printing debit card machine allows for  seamless business transactions with great value to customers and businesses. The Product is Self Service Mobile Kiosk designed to give customers control of the following Banking transactions as they can initiate and complete the following requests/transactions with little or no interaction with Bank staff.

 

Self-service debit card printing allows customers to obtain personalised debit cards at their convenience with faster Turn Around Time. (TAT). This hands control over to the customers to enjoy this service at any time of the day. It also allows customers to block their existing cards in case of theft or misplacement.

 

A cardinal goal of instant card issuance is the reduction of the time expended in furnishing the customer a debit/credit card. The self-service solution takes this further by ceding the responsibility of the CSO to the customer who initiates the process and follows it through till a card is produced.

 

The following services is also available on Self Service Kiosk; Statement Printing, Card hot listing, Account Opening/Customer onboarding, Funds Transfer, Airtime recharge, Bills Payments and so much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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E-Financial

Banks Fingered in $2trn Dirty Money Scam

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Some of the world’s top banks have been found to be complicit in aiding criminals move $2 trillion in dirty money around the world, according to leaked government files.

Banks Fingered in $2trn Dirty Money Scam

The exposition was done by Buzzfeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a group that brings together investigative journalists from around the world, which distributed them to 108 news organisations in 88 countries.

In the revealing documents, they said: “global banks including JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, among others defied money laundering crackdowns by moving staggering sums of illicit cash for shadowy characters and criminal networks that have spread chaos and undermined democracy around the world.”

It was also revealed that they kept profiting from these powerful and dangerous players even after the United States authorities fined these financial institutions for earlier failures to stem flows of dirty money.

FinCEN is the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. These are the people at the US Treasury who combat financial crime. Concerns about transactions made in US dollars need to be sent to FinCEN, even if they took place outside the US.

Known as the FinCEN files, these are more than 2,600 documents which banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017 which help show that these banks raise concerns about what their clients might be doing.

They have also been regarded as some of the international banking system’s most closely guarded secrets.

Some of what has been found so far showed that JPMorgan, the largest bank based in the United States, moved money for people and companies tied to the massive looting of public funds in Malaysia, Venezuela and Ukraine, the leaked documents reveal.

The bank moved more than $1 billion for the fugitive financier behind Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal, the records show, and more than $2 million for a young energy mogul’s company that has been accused of cheating Venezuela’s government and helping cause electrical blackouts that crippled large parts of the country.

JPMorgan also processed more than $50 million in payments over a decade, the records show, for Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump. The bank shuttled at least $6.9 million in Manafort transactions in the 14 months after he resigned from the campaign amid a swirl of money laundering and corruption allegations spawning from his work with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

It was also revealed that one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates used Barclays bank in London to avoid sanctions which were meant to stop him from using financial services in the West. Some of the cash was used to buy works of art.

HSBC allowed fraudsters to transfer millions of dollars around the world even after it had learned of their scam, leaked secret files show.

Britain’s biggest bank moved the money through its US business to HSBC accounts in Hong Kong in 2013 and 2014.

The United Arab Emirates’ central bank failed to act on warnings about a local firm which was helping Iran evade sanctions.

Deutsche Bank moved money launderers’ dirty money for organised crime, terrorists and drug traffickers.

Standard Chartered moved cash for Arab Bank for more than a decade after clients’ accounts at the Jordanian bank had been used in funding terrorism.

The FinCEN Files represent less than 0.02 per cent of the more than 12 million suspicious activity reports that financial institutions filed with FinCEN between 2011 and 2017.

Mr Fergus Shiel from ICIJ said the leaked files were an “insight into what banks know about the vast flows of dirty money across the globe”. He said the documents also highlighted the extraordinarily large amounts of money involved.


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SEC Boosts Investor Protection with Digital Assets

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has explained that its Digital Assets and their Classification and Treatment is aimed at boosting investors’ protection in the capital market.

Emomotimi Agama, Head, Registration, Exchanges, Market Infrastructure and Innovation of the SEC speaking on the guidelines in an interview said: “The first thing the SEC bothers about is investor protection.

“This is no different from what we have been doing. We are looking at investor protection, integrity, transparency and of course we want to make sure that the market is safe and everyone is comfortable with what is going on in the investment climate”.

Agama noted that last year the Commission launched the Fintech Road map and after that was done, it went ahead to set up the block chain virtual financial assets committee.

“These committees are both market wide and principally done to engage the market, to be able to have discussions with the market and get their buy-in into what we are doing.

“What we found out today is that a lot of persons, youths are all involved in this space and it is important that even as far as that is the case, the SEC lives up to the expectations  and making sure that those people that are getting into the business are protected

“Clearly, that is our aim and the market is part of this and indeed the feedback has been wonderful. People are happy with what we are doing, being able to provide some clarity as to where we stand in terms of digital assets regulation.

“Digital assets is the next thing, our idea is not to stifle innovation, but to promote innovation within a reasonable space and that is exactly what we are doing. Section 13 of the ISA empowers us to do this and so we are doing what we have been empowered to do by law,” he said.

On what internal capacities the SEC is developing to meet the challenges of this fast changing digital financial world, Agama said “the SEC is a knowledge based institution and before we come out of this kind of initiatives, we would have done so much research.

“I need to tell you that the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance has been partnering with the SEC and up to this point, we have been engaging with them and several of our staff have been part of their programmes.

“The World Bank and other institutions are also working with us on Fintech to see that the Nigerian landscape is not left barren but guided with basic principles, we will not leave any stone unturned, but ensure that everyone within the SEC that has the responsibility to guiding investors and the populace in making sure we have an investment environment that people will be proud of is provided.

“Capacity building is a continuous exercise, we will continue to upgrade ourselves, we will continue to learn because knowledge is for life”.


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Rising Covid-19 Cases Keep Risk Assets Under Pressure

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By Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM

Equity markets kicked off Monday on the back foot following three weeks of consecutive declines in US stocks, which marked the longest weekly losing streak since 2019. Investors are becoming increasingly worried about the momentum in the economic recovery given the resurgent numbers of global Covid-19 cases and lack of progress on a new US stimulus package.

Although President Trump signaled his readiness to back a bigger stimulus bill last week, the Supreme Court’s empty seat left by the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is likely to complicate the matter. The fight between the President and Congressional Democrats on whether to fill the vacant seat now or wait until after the election is expected to lead to more delays in reaching a middle ground on a new fiscal package. Hence, we would expect that the much-needed stimulus will be pushed back until after the US elections.

Given that the list of uncertainties is growing, especially on the pandemic front, risk is now skewed to the downside. We have US elections just around the corner, hefty valuations in growth sectors despite the recent correction and the high stakes of possible national lockdowns in the UK and elsewhere all pointing to waning momentum in the economic recovery. All these factors indicate more volatile times for the next several weeks.

Datawise, investors need to keep a close eye on September’s flash PMIs coming out of Germany, France and the UK this week for further indications on how the big European economies are faring following the strong rebound in early Q3. Signs of weakness here will be a strong signal that the economic recovery is indeed losing its way and further action is needed from fiscal and monetary policymakers.

Currency markets are not yet reflecting the risk aversion seen in equities. The Dollar is trading slightly lower against its major peers, with the DXY -0.15% at the time of writing. The Fed is clearly the winner among other central banks in providing the most accommodative monetary policy, which means the long-term projections for the Dollar remain to the downside. However, if the selloff in US equities accelerates this week, expect the greenback to regain some support.

In commodity markets, Brent fell by 1% after trading slightly higher in early Asian trade. The battle between the bulls and bears is keeping prices rangebound between $40 and $45. At this stage, the demand outlook is far more important than the supply side. That’s why oil traders need to keep a close eye on the trajectory of the virus, especially if it’s going to lead to renewed lockdowns. Gold is also another commodity stuck in a narrow range as traders await new clues on the Fed’s policy approach towards inflation.  This could happen later this week as Chairman Jerome Powell may provide new hints when he appears before the Congress on Tuesday.

 


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