By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Banks operating in Nigeria have been informed that from Wednesday, September 1, 2021, they would be held liable for fraudulent deposits if they fail to provide the necessary information to the government.
This warning was dished out on Tuesday by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, when he held a meeting with the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN).
He said the commission was determined “to rid our country of corruption” but stressed that the agency “cannot do this job alone” as it needs information to achieve this goal.
Mr Bawa said the EFCC would be happy to work closely with ACAEBIN in tackling financial crimes and related challenges in the banking sector.
The EFCC boss appealed to the bank auditors to take issues of transparency in banking operations seriously, adding that starting from September 1, 2021, it will no longer be business as usual as the commission will hold banks liable where there are established cases of institutional complicity in fraud in the sector.
“I will like to urge you to know your customers, know the kind of businesses they do before opening an account for them because some customers will open an account within a space of two months a huge sum of money is found in the account. So, there is a need for you to try and query this information including their linked accounts,” Mr Bawa said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of ACAEBIN, Mr Yinka Tiamiyu, said his association was ready to cooperate with the anti-graft agency to sanitise the banking industry as it was not in the interest of the organizations to incubate or suppress financial malfeasance.
Amplifying this point, the Vice Chairman of the group, Mr Uduak Udoh, noted that, “Some customers are conniving with bank staff to loot funds.
“We want you to look into that area, not only the banks as we are ready to give you all the cooperation you need; we want you to trust bank auditors with information sharing because we cannot support fraudulent staff as they are a threat to the organization.”
Airtel Commences SmartCash Payment Operations in Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
Airtel Africa has announced that its subsidiary, SmartCash Payment Service Bank Limited (SmartCash PSB), has commenced operations in Nigeria.
Services will initially be available at selected retail touchpoints, and operations will be expanded gradually across the country over the next few months.
Speaking on the development, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, Airtel Africa chief executive officer, said, “I am very excited to announce our commencement of operations for financial services in Nigeria through SmartCash PSB. This is the beginning of our journey to revolutionise the financial services landscape in the country.
“To help further digitise the economy, and most importantly to help bank the unbanked by reaching the millions of Nigerians who do not currently have access to financial services by delivering current and savings accounts, payment and remittance services, debit and prepayment cards and more sophisticated services.”
This is coming less than one month after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted the company the license to operate mobile money services in the country.
The licence will enable the telco to expand its digital financial products and reach the millions of Nigerians that do not currently have access to traditional financial services.
It will also be able to augment plans by the Nigerian Government, the CBN, and traditional financial institutions to further deepen financial inclusion in the country for the benefit of all citizens and the Nigerian economy.
Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries across Africa.
Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank Introduces Education Loans
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A leading microfinance bank supporting small businesses, Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank Limited, has introduced education loans aimed to provide funding support to school owners and parents.
A statement from the small lending institution said the education loan products created for its customers are the Advans School Boost, Advans Eduloan and Advans Kiddies.
It was explained that the Advans School Boost is a product designed to provide working and investment capital for school owners, Advans Eduloan is to assist parents to pay their children’s school fees with ease, while the Advans Kiddies is high-yield savings account to help parents save towards the future of their children while still earning interest.
According to the Marketing and Communication Manager of Advans La Fayette MFB, Mr Kayode Abraham, “The process of accessing the education loans is neither rigorous nor daunting.”
“Simply visit our website: www.advansnigeria.com to complete the application form and receive the funds immediately, if eligible,” he advised.
The Project Manager of Advans La Fayette MFB, Ms Fanny Belhomme, stated that, “Advans School Boost allows school owners to access loans up to N75 million to cover school expenses. The loan has a very competitive interest rate, a flexible repayment plan and no hidden costs.
“Parents can access up to N500,000 with the Advans Eduloan, to pay their children’s school fees. The loan is easy to access, with a low-interest rate and flexible repayment plans,” she added.
The Managing Director of the lender, Mr Gaëtan Debuchy, while speaking at the unveiling of the products at the Shoregate Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, disclosed that the firm came up with the loan packages because “we recognised that lack of finance is one of the biggest banes of education.”
“Emboldened by the fact that investment in quality education yields the best dividend, we created these products to offer solutions to the challenge. As a leading microfinance bank, we are focused on providing premium financial services to our customers,” he added.
Advans Nigeria is a member of Advans Group; a leading international microfinance group currently serving over 1.1 million clients in 10 countries including Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Pakistan, Nigeria, Tunisia and Myanmar.
For more than 15 years, the bank has offered a complete range of financial services that has helped build over 4 million small businesses.
AppZone Gets CBN Switching Licence Approval in Principle
By Adedapo Adesanya
AppZone, Sub-Saharan Africa’s payment infrastructure company, announced that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued the organization an approval in principle to operate under the Switching and Processing license category.
This will enable AppZone further expand its transaction switching and processing services currently offered to banks and fintech’s through its blockchain-based payment network, ZONE, launched in December 2021.
ZONE is the first private blockchain payment network that enables the direct flow of payments from bank to bank while empowering previously excluded financial institutions to participate.
It has been adopted by over 16 commercial banks and payment service banks in Nigeria and will further expand to other financial institutions, Fintechs and commercial banks across Africa.
Speaking about the license issuance, co-founder and CEO of AppZone, Mr Obi Emetarom, said, “We are excited about the issuance of the Switching license. We look forward to the progress it will enable for the payment and finance ecosystem.
“As a payment infrastructure company, we believe that this milestone will enable us to connect every financial store of value within Nigeria and link them to the rest of the world.”
With this new milestone, AppZone can now operate on the same level as other tier-one financial technology and private switching companies.
The switching license will enable the company directly to engage and collaborate with crucial payment system stakeholders such as the Nigeria Central Switch hosted by NIBSS and the various Card Payment Schemes.
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