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MMM: Participants Worry as January 13 Draws Close

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MMM, the Ponzi scheme also known as Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox, sent its participants into panic last month when it announced that all accounts used by Nigerians had been frozen.

According to Daily Post, precisely on Tuesday December 13 2016, one day after the Eid-el-Maulud holiday, Nigerians woke up to the news which many MMM enthusiasts, who fondly call themselves Mavrodians, received with mixed feelings.

MMM had sent out the unexpected circular to all Nigerian users explaining why accounts will remain frozen for a period of 30 days.

The circular urged participants to be calm and unperturbed, saying the development was to help prevent any problems in transactions, among other reasons, during the New Year season.

With the duration expected to lapse on or before January 13, 2017, investors are anxiously looking forward to mid-January, with the hope that they finally will be able to have access to their accounts once again.

But while some participants say they believe the accounts would be reopened, others have remained in a worrying state, expressing doubts about the assurance given by MMM.

“My brother, I don’t sleep well these days. I cannot wait for middle of this month to hear and see the good news,” said a respondent who wishes to be identified only as Chuks.

“I blame myself for not totally resisting the temptation because I put money just 4 days before MMM froze accounts.

“My friends have been pledging, putting money and getting 30 per cent. Since it wasn’t hearsay, I eventually decided to give it a try with N500,000.

“My money is hanging now and I just want to get it back. I did for two weeks, so obviously my interest and profit is due for collection. Let MMM please unfreeze the accounts; I know millions too are waiting for that day.”

Another MMM investor, Toyin, told DAILY POST that she was confident the scheme would bounce back.

The self-employed lady in her early thirties further lectured our correspondent on why accounts were frozen.

“The December period is when many investors take their money and this would affect the aim of MMM which is to put money in people’s hands.

“Assuming the accounts were left open, 70 percent of people would have cashed out. The effect is that when people seek assistance, they will not get money in 9, 10 days, unlike normal circumstance when you can get within 48 hours.

“MMM foresaw this and from experience, they know that pledges reduces during Yuletide. It was a timely decision that Nigerians will still appreciate.”

On how the popular scheme works, Toyin said participants can register themselves or have someone do so for them.

“If you come to me that you want to invest and decide to pledge N100,000, I will help spread it. An amount can be shared into as many as 4 places or more, depending on what the computer generates.

“I pay on your behalf to those accounts and then inform the owners of your payment; I also send proof. After this process, I continue to monitor. This of course is why people like me get 5 percent referral bonus. I have 13 participants under me.

“Those who have thousands of participants under them are the Guiders. They are the MMM multi-millionaires; the ones you see buying cars, houses and living large.

“What I noticed is that many actually prefer to give money to others to invest because they don’t want to go through the stress of staying online or making payments. Theirs is just to see credit alert.”

Meanwhile, top MMM Nigerian guiders have continued to assure Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm.

While one, a self-styled Nigerian pastor, Ernest Chigozie Mbanefo, boasted that MMM will run smoothly until Jesus Christ comes, another threw a lavish ‎end of the year party in Lagos, apparently to boost investors’ confidence that all is well.

Similarly, MMM founder Sergey Mavrodi, a fortnight ago warned critics to stop castigating the scheme.

“Leave MMM alone and let us work. Nothing has collapsed, and MMM will perfectly resume its work in January. We can change the world!” he asserted.

But President of Omega Fire Ministry, Apostle John Suleman, predicted doom for the Ponzi scheme in his prophecies for the year 2017, concluding that money-doubler will crash.

While investors and Nigerians await the next news about MMM, the arguable fact is that the current recession in the country helped to make the scheme popular in Nigeria.

But for MMM, the freezing of accounts in Nigeria does not stop it from launching in other countries as it recently did in Kenya and Ghana.

During the launch in Kenya, MMM noted that it is “a community of ordinary people, selflessly helping each other. The goal here is not the money. The goal is to destroy the world’s unjust financial system. Financial Apocalypse! Before you join, be sure to get acquainted with our IDEOLOGY!”

Before Nigeria, MMM had taken its message to other African countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe. In 2016 though, South Africans who took part in the scheme had their accounts frozen and up till now, it has remained that way.

MMM was founded by Mavrodi, former Russian politician, who went on the run when the original MMM collapsed in the late 1990s. By different estimates, from 5 to 40 million people lost up to $10 billion. The exact figures are not known even to the owners.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

Court Asks FG to Take over Bank Accounts without BVN

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Bank account owners who are yet to have a Bank Verification Number (BVN) run the risk of forfeiting their money to the federal government within the next two weeks unless they can justify their ownership of such accounts.

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted a temporary forfeiture order on such accounts.

It also restrained commercial banks from operating such accounts for the meantime and directed them to disclose the owners of the accounts and the status of the funds in them.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba handed down the order on October 17 while ruling on an ex-parte motion filed by the Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

The ex-parte motion – FHC/ABJ/CS/911/2017- was filed on September 28 this year and argued by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, A. D. Tyoden.

It was brought pursuant to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Know Your Customers Guidelines and Section 3 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2011 as amended.

The enrolled orders from the ruling reads: “That the 1st – 19th defendant banks shall disclose: (a) the names of the accounts as operated; (b) account number(s); (c) outstanding balances (d) domiciliary accounts and (e) the branch/location where the accounts are domiciled of all accounts without BVN.

“That the 1st – 19th defendant banks to disclose any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any products including fixed/term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial Papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the accounts.

“That an order is hereby made freezing the said accounts by stopping all outward payments, operations or transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the accounts pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.

“That an order is hereby made directing the 1st to 19th defendant banks to disclose any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any products including fixed/term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the accounts.

“That an interim order is hereby made directing the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems to validate the information contained in the affidavit of compliance/disclosure filed by the respective 19 banks within seven days from the date of service on the Central Bank and NIBSS.

“That an interim order is hereby made appointing a Bank Examiner from the Central Bank of Nigeria to examine the books of any bank that fails to comply with the order of the honourable court to file affidavit of disclosure.

“That an interim order is hereby made granting leave to the applicants or any officer authorised by them to advertise the accounts without BVN disclosed by the bank in a widely circulated national newspaper as notice to any person or body corporate or financial institution who may have any interest in any of the said accounts to claim ownership of same within 14 days of the publication of the order and show cause why the proceeds in the account should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Further hearing in the case was fixed for November 16.

At the last count, the Central Bank (CBN) had issued 30,511,506 BVNs.

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) says a total of 45.85 million bank accounts remain unlinked although when compared with the active accounts the number stood at 15.72 million unlinked to BVN as at February 2017.

Even before the court order the CBN had issued a memo warning the banks and NIBSS, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) to ensure proper capturing of the BVN data and validate same before linkage with customers’ accounts; ensure all operated accounts are linked with the signatories’ BVN; and ensure customer’s names on the BVN database are the same in all of his/her accounts, across the banking industry.

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UBA Introduces Video Live Chat with Co-Browsing Technology

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In recent times, customer behaviour and expectations are ever-evolving and with this challenge, comes the need to meet their needs as well as ensure, new offerings are at the forefront of technological evolution.

 

On the back of this development, UBA a leading innovative player in Financial Services is finding new ways to communicate and engage with their customers.

 

With the growing mobile consciousness, customer demand for online services is on the rise and it is imperative to meet this demand with digital self-service platforms.

 

However, to meet this demand, the role of human interaction in the process cannot be underestimated.

 

It fits into our creed to continue to foster our unlimited dedication and access to the customers.

 

In this regard, the United Bank of Africa, in its unrelenting effort to raise the bar, likewise the levels of ease and convenience in customer experience through innovation, has introduced Video live chat with Co-browsing technology.

 

Firstly it enables Customer Experience Experts to help customers in real-time, enabling a support experience centred on visual engagement.

 

Why is this important? 65% of the world are visual learners. Not only can enquiries and issues be resolved more efficiently and swiftly, but co-browsing can complement other channels, improving the overall customer experience

 

UBA is differentiating with Customer Experience and use of Video Live Chat and Co-browsing to improve customer acquisition, service and to improve x-sell & retention by enabling more meaningful contact with customers.

 

Video Co-browsing enables customers to virtually have a one-on-one interface with the bank through co-browsing application via video live chat, text chat, and through real time document exchange. This makes it easier for bank staff to assist customers through a number of difficulties; from filling intricate bank forms and even helping them resolve much more complex transactions. Sometimes, the platform simply facilitates directing the customers to the exact information they need.

 

It provides a secure file-sharing, compliant, real-time communication solutions that enables the bank hold co-browsing sessions to expedite troubleshooting as well as ordinary enquiries.

 

This without a doubt moves light years ahead of the old customer service where interaction is purely through phone calls; this method which has proven to be frustrating especially when it involves fixing a problem urgently.

 

It also comes resourcefully as a quick and easy fix for those who do not have enough time for a physical visit to the bank to take care of their transactions.

 

Other benefits include:

o       All session actions are accountable

o       Secure collaboration

o       Navigate the web together

o       Control access

o       Collaborate online, effectively

 

With this latest innovation, UBA can engage visually and digitally with customers while maintaining human interaction at any given time, in a bid to continue to virtualize customer experience.

 

It offers faster solutions in response to customer enquiries on a more personalised basis anywhere, anytime and from any device.

 

UBA as always, is committed to ensuring greater efficiency and better customer satisfaction. To experience the Video Love chat and Co-browsing technology, visit ubagroup.com .

 

 

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E-Financial

BVN: CBN Orders Banks to Keep Database of Fraudulent Customers

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Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday directed banks to establish a database of their customers identified through their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to be involved in a confirmed fraudulent activity in the banking industry.

The directive was contained in the Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) Operation and Watch-list for Nigerian Financial System released by the CBN. The implementation of the framework is with immediate effect.

’Dipo Fatokun, CBN Director, Banking & Payments System, who signed the framework, said bank customers are to by this framework, abide by  the regulatory framework for BVN operations and the watch-list for the Nigerian Banking Industry and also report all suspicious or unauthorized activities on their accounts.

Data from the CBN showed that Nigeria experienced a total of 3,500 cyber-attacks with 70 percent success rate and loss of $450 million within the last one year mainly through cross-channel fraud, data theft, email spooling, phishing, shoulder surfing and underground websites.

Although e-fraud rate in terms of value dropped by 63 percent, after the BVN introduction and improved collaboration among banks via the fraud desks, the total fraud volume rose significantly by 683 percent.

The new regulation is expected to assist the CBN to a great deal, in curbing the menace of fraudsters

According to Fatokun, the new framework is in the exercise of the powers conferred on the CBN, by Sections 2 (d) and 47 (2), of the CBN Act, 2007, to promote the development of efficient and effective payments systems for the settlement of transactions.

He said the framework provides standards for the BVN operations and watch-list for the Nigerian Banking Industry. The watch-list comprises a database of bank customers’ identified by their BVNs, who have been involved in a confirmed fraudulent activity in the banking industry in Nigeria.

Fatokun said the regulatory framework shall guide activities of the participants in the provision of the BVN operations in Nigeria and that the CBN, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) and Bank Customers are participants in its implementation.

He said the CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers Committee, proactively embarked upon the deployment of a centralized BVN System and launched the BVN in February 2014. This, he said, was part of the overall strategy of ensuring the effectiveness of the Know Your Customer (KYC) principles, and the promotion of a safe, reliable and efficient payments system.

The BVN gives a unique identity across the banking industry to each customer of Nigerian banks.

“This framework also defines the establishment and operations of a Watch-list for the Nigerian Banking Industry, to address the increasing incidences, of frauds, with a view to engendering public confidence in the banking industry.

“This framework, without prejudice to existing laws, is a guide for the operations of the watch-List in the Financial System.”

The Watch-list is a database of bank customers identified by their BVNs, who have been involved in confirmed fraudulent activities.

The framework is expected to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders; clearly, define the operations of the BVN in Nigeria; define access, usage and management of the BVN information, requirements and conditions and provide a database of watch-listed individuals.

It is also expected to outline the process and operations of the watch-List and deter fraud incidences in the Nigerian Banking Industry.

In implementing this framework, the CBN is expected to approve the Regulatory Framework and Standard Operating Guidelines as well as approve eligible users for access to the BVN information.

The Nigeria Interbank-Settlement System (NIBSS) is to collaborate with other stakeholders to develop and review the Standard Operating Guidelines of the BVN while the banks are to ensure proper capturing of the BVN data and validate same before the linkage with customers’ accounts.

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