Telcos push for payment banking services licence

Telecommunications companies, telcos, in Nigeria are not leaving any stone unturned in their quest to play in the mobile money space. 

Although telcos say their sole purpose of seeking formal participation in this market segment is not purely commercial, rather a response to government’s quest to deepen financial literacy in the country, there are clear evidences that if they have their way, they will still make a business kill.

Mobile Money allows customers to transfer or receive money to wallets across all telecom networks, which offer mobile money services. It also allows users to transfer money between mobile wallets and bank accounts.

Mobile Money Transactions in Nigeria has witnessed tremendous growth over the last half a decade. From just under 50,000 transactions a month it grew to about 3 million transactions a month. At some point in March 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said mobile money hit an all-time high 5.1 million transactions with a transaction value of about N49.4 billion. In July, transactions jumped to N77.7 billion and as at December that year transactions were in excess of 6.5 million. The growth parameters, have however, been in geometric since then. According to CBN also, mobile money was the greatest driver of the impressive records of e-payment channels’ transactions which hit N65.3 trillion in the first half of 2018. 

With these statistics in mind and with the plans to turn the over one million airtime agents across the country into mobile money agents, the services will improve, the e-payment channel market will expand and it will not be difficult to guess who will smile to the banks with a huge chunk of the revenue.

However, the argument against the telcos has been that if allowed, they could diminish the essence of retail banking and possibly drive operators out of the 0market. While the telcos have repeatedly denied being competitors to retail bankers but could complement their efforts, many technology industry practitioners have also dismissed the argument.

Countering the argument, a senior official of one of the top GSM operators in the country who pleaded anonymity, said: “We are not banks but we are service providers, the banks should be our major business partners to support what we do as we support theirs too. All the transactions that people do today the banks are the custodians, they hold these funds and ensure that the funds are also protected from the customer’s point of view. So looking at it dispassionately, the banks have a lot to gain” He called for better collaboration between the banks and telcos to improve the mobile money industry in the country.  

5 Ways to Protect Your Debit Card Against Scam

Scammers are everywhere. You can play directly into their hands if you are not careful. Protect your debit card by paying attention to the following tips

1. Regularly update your details
Updating your contact details regularly (i.e. mobile number, e-mail, address, etc.) with your bank enables them notify you easily in the case of a suspicious transaction. 
2. Watch your online transactions
Be smart with your online transactions. When shopping, shop on credible sites and look for secure transaction symbols like the “lock” icon on your browser. Avoid using public hotspots for online payments by all means. It could be very risky.
3. Regularly check your account balance and transaction history
Keep tabs of your bank account balance and transaction. If you suspect any unauthorized transaction, report to your bank as soon as possible.

4. Destroy old cards
Always destroy your old card when you receive a new one. Cut out the magnetic strip and destroy the chip.

5. Don’t share your pin
Never share your ATM PIN with anyone you don’t trust. It is meant to be confidential.

Microfinance Bank sues CBN over licence

The management of BFL Microfinance Bank has sued the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for “illegally” revoking its operating licence.
The bank, in the originating summons filed at the Federal High Court by its counsel, Velma Solicitors, prayed the court to declare the purported revocation null and void as the bank was not solvent.
The Government, CBN and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) were joined in the suit as the defendants.
BFL, among other things, sought a declaration that the plaintiff was not in default of any of the provisions of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2004 to warrant a revocation of its licence.
The counsel to BFL also prayed that the court should determine whether by the cumulative reading of Sections 12, 35, 36, 39 and 62 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2004, the CBN had the right to revoke the licence.
BFL is also seeking general damages of N2m and punitive damages of N3m.
BFL’s Managing Director, Mrs. Ajayi Olu, in an affidavit, swore that the bank was not declared insolvent and neither had it been informed by the CBN or anybody whatsoever of any insolvency.
“The revocation was never communicated to us at any time, neither is it published in the official gazette,” she had sworn.
The NDIC, in a notice pasted on the bank’s door titled: Revocation of Banking Licence, dated September 30, said the bank was declared insolvent and closed by the CBN and the NDIC appointed as the liquidator.

Your Rights As A Bank Customer (2)

How often do you get mistreated by your bank for being ignorant of the rights you have as a customer? I bet you’re trying to count and somewhere along the line, you’ve lost count. Fortunately, this will be a thing of the past and like they say, knowledge is power. Knowing and exercising your rights as a bank customer will determine the level of service rendered to you.
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, customers of banks have certain rights and duties guaranteed by law, regulation and conventions. I highlighted some here and as promised, this is the concluding part. 
1.      The Right to redress:
A bank must provide its customers a redress mechanism to express their displeasure or grievance. The mechanism must be free, accessible, transparent, timely and convenient. You have a right to efficient complaints management system through which you can lodge complaints against your bank. You also have the right to be kept abreast of resolution process, acknowledgement, feedback, updates, explanation and ultimately, basis of decision. Where you are not satisfied with the decision of your bank, you have the right of review either by your bank, the CBN or the court.
2.      The Right to good service:
All customers have a right to value for their money which involves the right to be treated with respect and dignity by banks and their representatives. The hallmark of banking is customer satisfaction and as such your bank would have failed if it was unable to offer quality and value-adding banking services to you as a customer. Part of this right is that your bank must provide appropriate response to your needs and complaints.

3.      The Right to equality:
This right requires that a customer is treated equally as other customers regardless of differences in financial standing/deposit balance, physical ability, age, gender, ethnicity, or creed. It is wrong for a bank to offer preferential treatment to some customers at the expense of other similar kind of customers. However, banks may decide to differentiate customers on account of the nature of products customers purchase or subscribe to. In this case, some customers may benefit from certain privileges which are features of specific products or services.

4.      The Right to free monthly statement of account:
The provision of the Revised Guide to Bank Charges is that banks are required to provide their customers free statement of account on a monthly basis. This means that you have a right to get your monthly statement of account from your bank at no cost. It should be noted, however, that the Guide provides that any special request attracts a fee of N50 per page.

Although the foregoing rights of bank customers are not exhaustive, they nevertheless, represent the core rights. It is necessary to stress that these rights are often unconditional even though there are instances where customers can only lay claim to their rights if they discharge their duties. 

I’ll be sharing some of your duties as a bank customer soon but until then stay informed.

Fidelity Bank Unveils New Savings Promotion Campaign

Fidelity Bank Plc has unveiled its latest account opening initiative, just as it launched a new savings promotion campaign aimed at rewarding new and existing customers of the bank. 

The new account opening initiative enables members of the public to open online savings accounts through a Quick Response (QR) code which can be scanned from any of the promotional materials such as roll up banners, fliers, posters and newspaper adverts.

This is expected to significantly ease the process of enrollment of new accounts and deepen the penetration of the new savings promo tagged, Get Alert in Millions Season 3. The GAIM Season 3 is also expected to run for nine months till June 2019.

Under the promo, over N120 million in cash and consolation prizes, including weekly airtime rewards will be given out by the bank.

Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, thanked customers, stating that the bank is motivated to continue to incentivize them for their patronage. He said it was imperative to acknowledge the contributions of customers to the growing fortunes of the bank. He also added that as a customer-centered bank, they would continue to leverage technology, in line with its digital retail strategy to better serve customers through innovative products, services and solutions. 

He reeled out some of the products to include the newly upgraded Fidelity Online Banking, *770# Instant Banking and Flashkey. “This solution enables you to effect monetary transfers whilst on any social media platform, without recourse to the online banking platform installed on your mobile device” he stated.

To participate, Head, Retail Banking, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Richard Madiebo said “customers can open a savings account and grow it to N20, 000 or top up an existing account with N10, 000 or more to qualify for the monthly draws to win N1million or N2 million.

To qualify for the star prize of N3m, he explained that customers are expected to grow their account balances by N50, 000 monthly whilst accounts that maintain a minimum of N200,000 qualify for the grand prize of a whooping N10 million. “As a bank with branches across the country, the draws ceremonies will be done to ensure that everybody, irrespective of where their accounts are domiciled, stand equal chances of winning” he explained. There will be a total of six draws to produce 77 cash and 108 consolation prize winners over the duration of the exercise.”

Federal Government Seeks Increase of Nigeria’s AFREXIM Bank Shares

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has said Nigeria is discussing the possibility of increasing its shareholding with AFREXIM Bank.

The minister during a meeting with the President, African Export-Import Bank, Prof Okey Oramah, on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 said, Nigeria currently owns 40 per cent shares in the bank.

She said, “We have met with a delegation of Afrexim Bank from Cairo. Nigeria is a major shareholder in the bank. Part of what we have discussed is the possibility of increasing our shareholding and we discussed some of the projects and programs that Afrexim is supporting in Nigeria.

Afrexim has a very large portfolio in Nigeria. About 40 percent of the bank’s portfolio is in Nigeria – support to the government but largely to the private sector. We have the need to increase our shareholding in the bank because there is a lot of value that we are getting from Afrexim Bank.”

On trade agreements, the finance minister said, “Trade Agreements are not things that the government will just enter into without due consultations with stakeholders in the private sector. We need to discuss with the private sector and agree with operators in that sector before we join. The discussions have been going on but we have not reached a consensus. We need to reach a consensus before we agree, that discussion is being driven by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.”

Also speaking on the high-level discussion between Nigerian officials and the Afrexim Bank delegation, the President of the Bank, Dr. Oranma said, “Nigeria is still a major shareholder in the bank, although of recent, it has fallen back in terms of its relative position. That is why we have had this discussions with the Minister of Finance to see how Nigeria could return the position it was.
“We have gotten assurances that the government would look at it and we hope that Nigeria’s holdings would come to the levels that would reflect the size of the Nigerian economy.”

CBN Revokes Licence of Micro-Finance Bank

The CBN has revoked the licence of Garu Micro Finance Bank Bauchi for its inability to meet up with the financial obligations guiding operations of micro-finance banks.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, a manager of the bank, Ibrahim Abubakar, confirmed the revocation in Bauchi, adding that the bank had been taken over by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC. Abubakar said the micro-finance bank was closed because it was facing liquidity problem, and also because shareholders of the bank had been unable to recapitalise it. According to him, timing of the closure is inauspicious because they are currently paying pensioners and September salaries. He assured that the NDIC and the management are collecting forms from depositors to process their payment with designated banks across the state, to enable them receive their money.

He said the micro-finance bank had been operating for over 20 years in the state, adding that pensioners and other depositors had gotten used to the bank.

A senior staff of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Bauchi office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the CBN approved the liquidation of the bank.

7 Tips For Safer Mobile Banking

Mobile Banking is a value added service offered by a bank to enable customers conveniently and securely conduct their banking transactions on their mobile phone. While a good number of Nigerians with smart mobile devices have embraced the use of their Bank’s Mobile App for convenient transactions, the need for security consciousness is vital as there have been cases of scam in various forms.

As simple as your mobile phone looks to you, one single act of it falling into the wrong hands might leave you devastated for a very long time. It is therefore necessary to take these basic precautions.

1. Never store your account information, such as the account number, debit and credit card PINs, on your mobile handset.

2. If you use a banking app, never store your user name and password on your mobile handset for automatic login. This may allow faster access, but is a potential hazard if the mobile falls in wrong hands.

3. Never use mobile banking when you are on a public network, including free WiFi hotspots. Always use your mobile service provider’s network or a password-protected WiFi connection.

4. Set a screen unlock pattern, a number-based or a text-based password.

5. Never send your account information via text message.

6. Don’t respond to fraudulent emails or text messages appearing to be from your bank requesting for personal information, such as passwords, Bank Verification Number (BVN), credit card numbers etc.

7.  Use your bank’s official App

Most financial transactions occur through your mobile device, so it’s important to keep your information protected.

Got more tips on mobile banking? Share with us on the comment section.

4 Important Things You Must Know As A Nigerian Bank Account Holder

Just like knowing your name, state of origin, phone number and other vital information about yourself, it is expected that as a bank account holder, you know these four important details even in your sleep.

1. Account Name/Number

Having this detail off-heart always saves the day especially at moments when it's needed urgently. It is advisable to memorize your account name and number till it sticks in your mind. 

2. Bank Verification Number(BVN)

Ever since it's introduction by the Central Bank of Nigeria to capture customers data and check fraud in the banking sector, most bank transactions depends on it. In some cases, this unique identification number is needed to request for loans. 

3. Account Officer's Details

Every bank account has an officer overseeing it. Having your account officer's details helps you resolve issues with your account swiftly. Getting this detail is not a difficult thing to do. Simply walk into any of your bank's branches, request for your account officer details and keep it safe at all times. You never know when you might need it. 

4. Customer Service Number

Walking into the bank to make complaints or inquiries can be stressful and time consuming. Thanks to technology, you can do all of these and more from the comfort of your home, office or wherever you are. It is therefore important to have your bank's customer service number so as to reach them at any time of the day including weekends. Banks's customer service operates 24 hours and with the introduction of digital media, you can also reach out to your bank on social media.

Your Rights As A Bank Customer (1)

They say the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.  It’s common to hear people talk about human rights but have you ever thought of your right as a bank customer? As uncommon as it may sound, you have certain rights and duties guaranteed by law, regulation and conventions. 

1.      The Right to be informed
As a bank customer, you have a right to disclosure of information from your bank on goods and services the bank offers. The information provided must be complete, relevant and truthful. Your bank must explain to your understanding all contractual terms and charges prior to the consummation of any agreement or contract. This right enables customers to have relevant information in order to make rational choices. It amounts to a breach of your right if your bank fails to provide this information or deliberately misleads you in any way
2.      The Right to choose

You have a right to select from the range of products and services made available by your bank at competitive prices. This means that as a customer, you can, at all times, decide on the product or service to accept/purchase and the ones to decline. It is wrong for a bank to restrict your choices or compel you to accept/purchase products or services that are ill-suited for your needs. Where you are not satisfied with your bank’s service delivery on any product or service, you have the right to end the contract or even the banking relationship provided all outstanding commitments are settled by the customer.

3.      The Right to safety

This right requires a bank to guarantee all its customers a secure and conducive banking environment devoid of threats to their safety and health. You have the right to be reasonably protected from accidents while on the premises of your bank. You also have the right to be protected from the negative effects of pollution of any kind whether arising from your bank’s operations or from other sources. It is necessary to stress that your bank is obligated to adhere strictly to applicable safety laws and directives to ensure that your safety and well being are adequately guaranteed while you are on the premises of your bank.

4.      The Right to privacy and confidentiality

As a bank customer, you have the right to freedom from disclosure of your account details by the bank as well as intrusion into your account by third party. In other words, your bank must not divulge your account information to a third party; the bank must also protect your information from unauthorized access by a third party. There are, however, exceptions to this right as follows:
1. Where the bank is required by law to make disclosure; and
2. Where the customer consents to the disclosure.

These are certainly not the only rights you have as a bank customer. There are a few others which I’ll share with you some other time. For now, share this information with others and exercise your right!


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