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CBN Seeks Shell Banks Abolished In Nigeria

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has called for the abolition of shell banks in the country, saying they serve as institutions for money laundering.

Shell banks are institutions that carry out activities where they are not licensed.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made the request in Abuja on Tuesday at a public hearing organised by the House committee on Banking and Currency on a Bill to amend the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) and other bills.

He said that the shell banks, apart from being used for money laundering, distort the banking system and might pose a problem to regulatory agencies.

Emefiele, represented by the Director, Legal Services Department, Mr Johnson Akinwunmi said “we wish to propose the introduction of new subsections 3(6) and (7) for the proscription of shell banks in response to the latest recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering.”

Similarly, the CBN is also seeking additional powers to revoke licences of banks and “power to inject funds into a falling bank by way of equity participation up to a level that guarantees control by CBN”.

The additional powers, according to the governor, is to enable the CBN acquire equity investment institutions and its ability to ensure a sound financial system.

The CBN also backed the House of Representatives in imposing stiffer penalties and terms of imprisonment of certain offences on erring commercial banks and their staff.

But in his presentation, the Director of Legal/board secretary, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr Belema Taribo opposed the proposed fines saying they were too high.

“The NDIC, as a deposit insurer supports the passage of the bill into law as the current fine of N1000 does not meet contemporary realities.

“However, it is our submission that the proposed penalty of N200,000 is above 100 per cent increment from the current penalty. In view of the above, we propose a fine of N5000.”

On the issuance of licence, NDIC proposed that the CBN should seek its consent before granting an application for banking licence.

“This is to enable the corporation to have a prior evaluation of the applicants with regard to insurance of deposits.”

In his welcome address, Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, Rep. Jones Onyereri, said that increase in penalties to the bank operators would streamline the operations of such banks to conform to international best practices.

He said that the proposed amendments to the Bofia Act 2017 were initiated by three lawmakers, which include Reps. Daniel Reyeneiju (Delta-PDP), Betty Apiafi (Rivers-PDP) and Jones Onyeriri (Imo-PDP).

Some of the penalties in the proposed amendments to the BOFIA Act 2017 include a fine of N20 million on banks that fail to comply with the conditions of the licence, a fine of N20 million on any director that fails to declare any property he/she owns that runs contrary to the Act.

“A fine of N10 million against a director or manager that fails to keep a book of account and a fine of N2 million on banks that fail to publish its annual report of its general meeting in two reputable national dailies among others”

While declaring the public hearing opened, the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said the House opted for stiffer penalties of millions of Naira as fine for commercial banks which engaged in an illegal deduction of spurious charges on customers accounts domiciled in such banks.

Dogara, who was represented by the House Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Chukwuka Onyema, said that the process of law making was dynamic noting that bank customers have not stop compiling of spurious charges on their accounts.

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E-Financial

Fidelity Bank MD Not On The Run – Bank

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Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo

Fidelity Bank Plc has said that Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, its managing director/CEO, has not jumped bail, clarifying that he was on a sick leave.

 

The bank in a statement expressed shock at the online media report, stressing that it was a “responsible corporate citizen and staff members, including the MD/CEO, conduct their operations in line with the laws of the Federation”.

 

The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to recent online media re¬ports that Fidelity Bank MD/CEO has jumped bail. The reports are completely untrue and the facts of the matter are hereby presented as follows;

 

“The MD/CEO has been away on medical leave, which was duly approved by the Board, since December 4, 2018.

 

“The Bank informed the CBN Governor of this development as the MD/CEO was unable to attend the annual Bankers Committee retreat held between December 8 & 9, 2018, on ac¬count of this. An Executive Director represented the bank.

 

“The Bank received a letter from the EFCC about 48 hours ago, requesting for the attention of the MD/CEO.

 

The Bank responded to the EFCC immediately that the MD/CEO was on medical vacation and gave an indicative date that he will report to the Commission.

 

“The Bank also attached the following documents to the response; the leave approval by the Board Chair¬man and the letter sent to the CBN Governor on the inability of the MD/CEO to attend the Bankers Committee retreat”.

The bank continued: “We are therefore shocked by the misleading reports in the online media and have provided the above clarifications to set the records straight.

 

“Fidelity Bank is a responsible corporate citizen and staff members, including the MD/CEO, conduct their operations in line with the laws of the Federation”, it concluded.

 

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CBN says TSA Transactions Value Hit N13.53trn in 2017

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the migration of the Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has led to positive growth in the value and volume of transactions recorded in end to end payments in 2017.

The bank made the assertion in the 2017 Annual Activity Report released by its Banking and Payments System Department on its Website.

It also attributed the growth to the rise in the number of MDAs accounts migrated to the TSA.

The CBN said that the value of transactions recorded at the period reviewed stood at N13.53 trillion from the N10.65 trillion in 2016, representing an increase of 27.01 per cent.

The apex bank also said that volume of transaction grew with an increase of 3.84 per cent to record 39.7 million in 2017 as against the 38.24 million recorded in 2016.

According to the CBN, the payment instructions comprises recurrent, overhead and capital expenditure.

On the TSA implementation, the bank added that during the year, stakeholders’ engagements took place to improve the operations and address some of the challenges facing it.

“In order to engender healthy competition and ensure effective service delivery, the Federal Government’s TSA payment gateway model was modified to accommodate other service providers.

“The aggregator model was developed to bring in more players into the e-collection process, thereby providing a level playing ground for all the Payments Service Providers (PSPs), with NIBSS as the aggregator.

“The initiative was driven by the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) as the implementing agency, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria,” it said.

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Nigeria’s OneFi Secures First Ever Credit Rating for an African Fintech

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One Finance Limited (OneFi) announces that is has been assigned a “BB” rating with a Stable outlook, from Global Credit Rating Co. The company behind Paylater, Nigeria’s leading digital financial services platform that specialises in consumer lending, becomes Africa’s first fintech company to secure such a rating, as it looks to increase transparency around its credit and lending service.

Global Credit Rating Co. is Africa’s leading ratings agency, accounting for the majority of all ratings accorded on the African continent.

The report analysed key financial and operational factors including risk management, liquidity positioning, borrowings and capital under management. In arriving at this rating of “BB” with a Stable outlook, Global Credit Rating Co’s analysis found that OneFi is well capitalised vis-a-vis its current risk level, and also highlighted the fact that the company currently has a low liquidity risk.

Commenting on the news, Chijioke Dozie, OneFi CEO says, “The entire process of securing this rating from Global Credit Rating has been rigorous, testing, but ultimately, hugely beneficial for the company.

It has allowed us to scrutinise our finance and business models, as well as provide full transparency not only to our stakeholders, but to Paylater’s tens of thousands of customers across Nigeria.

“The work does not stop here. We are a young company, and the very first African fintech platform to be awarded with a credit score, and whilst we are pleased with our “BB” rating and Stable Outlook, which we believe fairly reflects our current standing, we are now focussed on expanding our product offering, improving our asset quality, driving up customer loan applications and looking at ways in which we can bring our innovative approach to finance management to additional markets”.

Paylater, launched in 2016 by Nigerian finance entrepreneurs Chijioke and Ngozi Dozie, provides hassle-free loans without need for human intervention or bias in decision making.

Loans are disbursed to applicants account within 5 minutes of approval. The credit-as-a-service company aims to be a one-stop-shop where all the financial needs of the Nigerian consumer can be met through one platform.

To-date, the Paylater app has been downloaded over 1 million times with over 1,575 loans approved daily. The average disbursement time is 12 seconds and the average loan borrowed is $80 with a 3 month loan tenor.

As part of its ongoing commitment to transparency, the lending platform has, since September, provided each Paylater loan applicant with a free credit bureau report, irrespective of decision, with 100% reporting of positive and negative data. To date, the company has shared over 60,000 reports with customers.

Chijioke Dozie concludes, “With the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] currently revising the Licensing Regime for finance providers and fintech platforms in Nigeria, and with more formality and  regulation surrounding the sector, this was the right time for OneFi to undertake the positive step of securing a credit rating score, as we work to build a legitimate, trusted lending brand. We are now held to the same levels of transparency and scrutiny as other leading financial institutions in Nigeria”.

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