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Infractions: CBN, SEC Fine Three Banks

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  • Infractions: CBN, SEC Fine Three Banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission have slammed various fines on three banks for committing 16 regulatory infractions.

The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission have fined Access Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, and United Bank for Africa Plc the sum of N200m for committing a total of 16 regulatory infractions.

The offences, which ranged from violating regulatory guidelines on anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism, rendition of reports on politically exposed persons, to failure to conduct enhanced due diligence on directors of some customer firms, were committed during the 2016 financial year.

The details of the offences and the fines apportioned by the CBN and SEC in the various instances were contained in the 2016 annual reports of the three banks.

Access Bank, in its 314-page annual report, revealed that it committed a total of six infractions in the year on which the CBN and SEC imposed a total fine of N49.475m.

While the CBN fined the bank N48m for five of the offences, SEC imposed N1.475m on the lender for an infraction.

According to the annual report, the details of the fine imposed by the CBN are: the sum of N24m in discharge of the penalties on the AML/CFT examination; N18m in respect of risk-based supervision examination; and N2m penalty with respect to the rendition of reports on politically exposed persons.

Others are N2m penalty for failure to conduct enhanced due diligence on directors of some customers’ firms; N2m penalty for usage of general/blanket PEP approval for a particular customer; and the sum of N1.475m penalty to SEC for late submission of annual report.

GTBank, in its 378-page annual report, revealed that it committed four infractions for which it was slammed a total of N62.05m fine by the CBN during the year.

According to the report, the details of the fines are: penalty in respect of services rendered by unapproved International Money Transfer Service Operators, N50m; penalty in respect of un-refunded negotiable current account maintenance fees, N6m; penalty in respect of anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism examination as of April 2016, N6m; and delay in rendition of returns, N50,000.

UBA, in its 246-page annual report, also revealed that the central bank imposed N87.64m fines on it for committing six regulatory infractions last year.

The lender confirmed under the notes to its financial statements that during the year, it paid the fines in relation to non-compliance with banking regulations.

According to the report, details of the infractions and the penalties are: penalty in respect of customers using the ATM cards issued to other customers related to them, N48m; penalty for failing to file timely reports on suspicious transactions of some customers, N30m; and penalty for omission of updated means of identification in customers’ files, N4m.

Others are penalty for late processing of monthly pension payments on behalf of various organisations, N2.49m; penalty for processing payment for software licence for a customer prior to the receipt of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion/Nigerian Communications Commission approved agreement, N2m; and penalty for errors in charges applied to Pension Fund Administrator accounts, which were not reversed within the agreed turnaround time, N1.15m.

However, the independent auditor of the three banks, PricewaterhouseCoopers, stated that the lenders complied with most regulatory guidelines except in the areas in which the regulatory infractions were committed.

But a financial expert and Chief Executive Officer of HighCap Securities, a securities and investment advisory firm, Mr. David Adonri, said there was a need for the three banks to strengthen their compliance departments as well as their compliance-related activities in order to avoid future fines.

He said, “The three banks involved in these 16 infractions are very big banks and, as such, it is difficult for controls to be 100 per cent. Along the line, there may be infractions that will attract regulatory sanctions. Having said that, it is not a good development for those contraventions to be happening. Measures must be taken to exert greater controls to avoid reoccurrence in the future.

“It is not a pleasant development because some of the infractions are heavy. Take for instance the infraction that bothers on violation on the AML/CFT; it makes the fight against terrorism difficult and it is a threat against national security. The banks need to be up and doing to forestall a reoccurrence.”

The CBN had in November 2016 fined four banks heavily for committing various regulatory infractions. Specifically, the lender imposed N4bn fine on Skye Bank Plc for failing to render appropriate returns on accounts of some government institutions and agencies.

It also sanctioned First Bank of Nigeria Limited N1.87bn for allegedly refusing to remit about N37.55bn belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

It also fined UBA N2.94bn for failing to remit N58.84bn to the NNPC and to the Treasury Single Account as and when directed.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Holds Non-Oil Export Webinar Series, Creates Awareness of The Bank’s Export Solutions

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced the convening of its non-oil export webinar series. The Event is centered on deliberating opportunities that will enhance the country’s expansion of its drive towards diversifying the national economy, thereby reducing the reliance of oil as a mainstay of the country’s revenue.  

The first series of the virtual event is scheduled for 10am on Tuesday, 30th November 2021 via Zoom meeting. To register and be part of this transformational knowledge session, click on this link-https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/business/non-oil-export/ . Registration is Free!! 

The event is themed “Building Sustainable Non-Oil Export in Nigeria; Harnessing Opportunities within the AfCFTA Treaty & Agro Commodities” and will have the attendance of Mr. Segun Awolowo MD/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC); Dr Biodun Adedipe, Founder and Chief Consultant of B. Adedipe Associates Limited (BAA Consult)  amongst others, as guest speakers.  

The webinar series aims to facilitate sustainable exports as well as guide participants on ways of navigating the hurdles and challenges of exports in Nigeria. The webinar will explore market and economic trends, unique export opportunities and potentials within the non-oil export industry across the geopolitical zones in the country.  

The importance of exports in Nigeria remains a front burner conversation by individuals and organisations as it provides a means of increasing the markets for producers, and an opportunity to attract the much needed foreign exchange earnings to boost the national economy, which is critical to expanding its Gross Domestic Products. 

Speaking on the event, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said: “in recent years, the country has witnessed increased activities by the government towards diversifying the economy, thereby boosting the export potentials of the country – beyond the contribution of crude oil – which has been the mainstay of the national economy for many decades.  

Our forthcoming Non-oil Webinar series will expand discussions that are crucial to the growth of Nigeria’s export potentials as we unlock numerous opportunities that will promote the economic diversification drive of the government which is essential to the continued growth of the national economy, especially with the current business challenges posed by the pandemic.”

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Currency in Circulation Now N2.97 Trillion in October – CBN

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Currency in circulation hit N2.97 trillion in the month of October, according to the latest report from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The currency in circulation rose by N129 billion from N2.84 trillion recorded in the month of September to N2.97 trillion in October. This was after the currency in circulation declined from N2.8 trillion in July to N2.78 trillion in August.

Currency in circulation stood at N2.74 trillion in June, N2.79 trillion in May, N2.79 trillion in April, N2.8 trillion in March, N2.78 trillion in February and N2.83 trillion in January.

The CBN said, “The currency in circulation increased by N465.47bn or 19.06 per cent to N2.91tn in 2020, compared with N2.44tn in 2019.

“In 2020, there were higher withdrawals by DMBs than deposits, due to the panic need to hold cash to deal with the emergencies and reduced banking hours due to restrictions to curb spread of the pandemic.”

The bank said to maintain public confidence and ensure integrity of circulated notes in the economy, it developed and unveiled a clean note policy and banknote fitness guidelines in 2018.

The guidelines outlined details of quarterly and yearly activities towards the achievement of this objective.

The CBN said it employed the “accounting/statistical/withdrawals and deposits approach” to compute the currency in circulation in the country.

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Banking Sector

2021 NCOY: FirstBank Partners Junior Achievement Nigeria, Reiterates Commitment to Innovation and Education

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For 11 years, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) to host its annual flagship event; the National Company of the Year competition (NCOY), which convenes winners of the JA Company Regional Competitions across Nigeria to compete for the National Company of the Year Award.

This year, the event will bring together outstanding ‘student business teams’ across Nigeria to compete for prizes and an opportunity to represent the country at the national competition – JA African Company of the Year Competition (ACOY). The 2021 edition of the NCOY competition will be held virtually via Zoom meetings at 10am on Saturday, 27th November 2021.  Interested participants are to register via the link https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtd-qvqz4pE90NXOHcy-tve6aEXpY_yYAE

The competition themed ‘Innovation with Grit’ will have 12 teams from 12 schools pitch their innovations to a team of 5 guests judges. The represented schools at the competition include: The Seer company from Alvana High School; Sonic Informatics company from Heritage Global Academy; Nexus Queens company from Queens School; JA Stars from Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN); Amazing Amazon Students from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Abaji; KereTerra Company from Secondary School Etoi, Uyo and The Exploit thinkers from Taidob College.

Other teams competing include: Mystic Global Company from Rosa Mystica High School, Agulu;  PetraMech Tech from Petra Schools; The Amazing Inventors from Government Secondary School Tudun Wada; Blue crystal company from Methodist Girls school and the Artisans from Igbobi College.

Judges at the event include: Oludolapo Adigun, Group Head, Retail Banking Lagos & West First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Chidimma Juliana Okparah, Project Management Consultant (PMIEF); Sheila Ojei, Head of Communications Jobberman;  Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative and Simbo Olatoregun, Policy Programs Manager for Facebook in Africa. In attendance also is the Honourable Commissioner for Education Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo as a Special Guest.

The 2021 National Company of the Year Program will also feature SPARK Competition. SPARK as an initiative of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, is an acronym for Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness. SPARK reiterates the Bank’s commitment to institutionalise kindness in Nigeria by encouraging and amplifying a culture of kindness.

The SPARK competition will feature 15 finalist schools across Nigeria, whose CSR projects align with the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability pillars of Education, Welfare and Health, Financial inclusion and Responsible Lending and Procurement.

Speaking on the event, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said “FirstBank’s partnership under its Future First initiative with JA Nigeria Company programme has positively impacted over 100,000 people in different locations across the country in preparing and teaching them how to generate wealth, effectively manage it and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Our commitment to fostering entrepreneurial development amongst youths is mainly the driving force behind our support of the National Company of the Year (NCOY) and Africa Company of the Year (ACOY) competitions in past 11 years”.

According to the Executive Director, JAN, ‘’the National Company of the Year Company competition provides our students with a platform to show how innovative they are while displaying their dexterity and grit especially as it relates to creating sustainable business solutions to problems in their immediate community. The students have learned critical skills during the implementation of the Company Programme and we are proud to celebrate them as they compete in the National competition. I would like to specially appreciate FirstBank Nigeria for their continued support and belief in the boundless potential of young Nigerians’’.

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