…As CBN calls for efficient cashless driven services
Stories by Blaise Udunze
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) cashless policy initiative improve their banking experience as the value of mobile payment transactions increased to an all time high of N40 billion monthly.
Deputy Governor, Corporate Services of the CBN, Suleiman Barau, who called on operators and customers in the Nigerian financial industry to speed up the cashless initiative to meet with global standards, disclosed this at the weekend.
But despite this improvement, he said Nigeria was still far from being cashless when compared to countries like Sweden which has only two per cent of its transactions is done in cash.
Barau, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), in his keynote address at the first Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Awards, held in Lagos at the weekend said Nigeria has made considerable progress since the cashless policy started in 2012.
According to him, the Nigerian payment industry has grown “dramatically” from barely 5000 registered point of sales terminals in 2012 to 138,900 as at last week, noting that the awards was to encourage companies to work harder and spur others to strive for the awards.
At the award event, however, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc received five awards for its drive towards a cashless Nigeria including the highest volume in instant payment, highest volume POS issued card transactions, efficient instant payment transactions, efficient electronic reference operations and efficient automated direct debit mandate management.
Zenith Bank on the other hand was rewarded for the highest volume in bulk payment, and highest volume POS transaction acquirer, while First Bank Nigeria Limited received the award for the highest BVN enrollment.
Meanwhile, Citi Bank Nigeria received the award for instant payment transactions efficiency having achieve the Nigerian record time of 20 seconds, while Diamond Bank was awarded for POS issued card transaction efficiency having recorded the lowest transaction failure on the part of banks.
For the cashless driver merchants, Ikeja Electric recorded the highest transactions in POS while Benin Electricity Distribution Company recorded the highest volume through the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System Instant Payment (NIP).
BVN: Banks warn customers against compromising personal details
Following the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that customers having difficulties in linking the Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to their accounts should effect the necessary corrections, fraudsters have intensified effort to defraud unsuspecting account holders.
To this end, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) through text messages have being telling their customers not to respond to text messages or emails requesting for personal account details.
A typical scam mail seeks to inform recipients that their account is due for an update.
“Kindly login and update your details: https:/www.gtbank/ibank3/customer-update/Please update within 24 Hours of notice to avoid Service Interuption/Suspension.
“Your Internet Banking user ID and password, ATM card number and PIN are confidential and should never be disclosed to anyone,” a scam mail received by our correspondent read in part.
To save customers from falling prey, a message from the United Bank for Africa (UBA) to its customers read as follows:
“UBA or CBN will NEVER request for your Account/Card/BVN security details via Phone, email or SMS. Please beware of scam messages. Call 01-2808822.”
Last year, the CBN had said that any bank customer without the BVN would from November 1, 2015 be deemed to have inadequate Know Your Customer (KYC) information.
The bank had clarified that a Nigerian resident’s bank account without the BVN would not be allowed to operate as “No customer initiated debit” account until the holder of such an account obtained and attached a BVN to the account.
The CBN had also instructed deposit money banks to resolve issues associated with BVN within five working days from the date the customer submits all the required documents.
Regardless, the CBN director of Banking and Payment Systems Department, Dipo Fatokun, last week said it had received reports of customers facing difficulties linking their BVN to their account due to discrepancies in their records on the BVN database and core banking applications with the DMBs.
To resolve the problems, Mr. Fatokun said the CBN has approved that correction of dates of birth on BVN record could be corrected once with the relevant supporting documents evidencing the correct date of birth.
Other corrections approved by the CBN include change of name due to marriage, which should be corrected by providing the supporting document, such as marriage certificate/affidavit, while minor corrections in name due to misspelling was approved for correction with supporting documents like international passport showing the correct name.
Although change of names that are totally different or partially different was also allowed, the CBN director said such should be allowed after the customer had produced supporting document to the change of name, including a report to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as a suspicious transaction.
Insisting that customers’ names on the BVN database must be the same in all their accounts across the banking industry, the CBN director said customers wishing to close their accounts should be allowed.
Where such accounts were not linked with the BVN, the CBN said a payment instruction should be issued in the name in which the account was opened with.
In cases where the balance on the account was more than what is legally allowed on paper instrument (N10 million), the bank should seek and obtain clearance for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and NFIU before such accounts and the balance transferred electronically to another account.
Where the bank raises suspicion on the activity of its customer, Suspicious Transaction Report should be filled with the NFIU, while the timeline for the resolution of all BVN issues shall be five working days from the date of the date the customer submits all the required documents.
External reserves records marginal increase
Nigeria’s external reserves which had been on a steady decline over the past few months, rose marginally week-on-week to $27.808 billion as at Wednesday, compared with the $27.790 billion it attained the previous week, according to the latest figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
But analysts at the Cowry Assets Management Limited attributed this to an increase in international crude oil prices which hit highs on Friday not seen in four weeks, as a positive economic report offset continuing concerns about a global supply glut. The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the US benchmark, rose to $34.13, while the price of Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose to $36.62.
However, oil analysts argued that the global glut of oil was more than enough to absorb increased demand, likely leading to a prolonged period of low prices.
The analysts at Cowry Assets Management said a downside risk to Nigeria’s fiscal and foreign sectors near-term outlooks remains incessant disruption of activities at downstream petroleum sector amid below budget crude oil price.
On the fiscal side, the IMF proffered the establishment of medium-term fiscal policy goals that support fiscal sustainability as a priority especially by boosting the ratio of non-oil revenue to GDP, including improvements in revenue. administration and broadening of the tax base while also rationalizing spending.
But commenting on Nigeria’s external reserves position, CSL Stockbrokers Limited, in a report noted that what was more interesting was that the level of reserves in terms of goods import cover had been steady if not rising gradually over recent months.
This, the firm attributed to the fact that imports had been contracting, revealing that the 12-month moving average of goods imports in the country is presently at 5-year low.
“The steadiness of import cover is not a positive sign as the decline in imports is reflective of the economic slowdown. From a balance of payments perspective however, the fact that the reserves/import ratio is not falling perhaps provides some indication of why a genuine balance of payments crisis has not forced the Central Bank of Nigeria to abandon its commitment to keeping the currency at N200/$1 on the interbank market,” they added.
Meanwhile, the CBN has assured Nigerians that it would continue to implement policies that would lead to the convergence of the official and parallel markets exchange rates.
This is just as the naira appreciated to N310 to a dollar on the parallel market yesterday; up from the N330 to a dollar it had closed on Thursday.
Why we’re investing in capacity building –Sterling Bank
The Executive Director, Finance and Strategy, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, has advised banks in the country to invest more in capacity building initiatives for staff in the industry to compete favourably with their peers in both local and international markets.
Suleiman who gave the advice at an interactive session where he shared the bank’s people-led initiatives with reporters in Lagos, explained that the decision to invest in capacity building initiatives was hinged on the need to have a pool of technically sound and equipped staff with latest development in the global market to enable them compete with their peers anywhere in the world.
The Sterling Bank Director who hinged the accreditation of the bank’s training school by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) to the quality of facility put in place and products from the school, maintained that financial institutions must continue to see the need to put in place staff-oriented policies that would encourage staff to be more committed, dedicated and result-oriented.
Apart from providing a robust training programme and competitive remuneration for its employees, Suleiman disclosed that the bank has also introduced an initiative that would provide an alternative career path and help them when they eventually leave the banking sector.
His words: “At Sterling Bank we place value on our staff as they gracefully retire from the system. We have put a system in place to train those about to go on retirement on various programmes that would enable them stand on their own after retirement.