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Banks Suffer Fraud Cases Worth N16.5bn in Three Years

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Godwin Emefiele CBN - Investors King
  • Banks Suffer Fraud Cases Worth N16.5bn in Three Years

The banking sector recorded 31,736 fraud cases involving the sum of N16.5bn between January 2014 and December 2016, figures obtained by our correspondent from the Central Bank of Nigeria have revealed.

The fraud statistics are contained in the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Report, which was prepared by the Banking and Systems Payment Department of the CBN.

The frauds were perpetrated through various payment channels in the banking sector such as Across the Counter, Automated Teller Machines, cheques and electronic-commerce platforms.

Others are Internet banking, mobile banking, Point-of-Sale and web transactions.

The report stated that in the last three years, there had been more attempts in the number of fraud cases, adding that the development might be linked to the economic hardship being experienced in the country.

For instance, the report stated that the volume of fraud cases rose by 635.3 per cent from 1,461 incidents in 2014 to 10,743 in 2015.

Between 2015 and 2016, the report stated that the incidents of fraud rose by 81.8 per cent from 10,743 to 19,532 cases.

Cumulatively, the incidence of fraud rose by 1,236 per cent during the three-year period.

In monetary terms, an analysis of the report showed that while there had been an increase in fraud volume, the rate of increase could not be achieved financially.

For instance, the report stated that in 2014, out of the total transaction value of N43.85tn in the banking sector, about N7.75bn was fraud-related.

However, it noted that while the transaction volume rose from N43.85tn in 2014 to N48.93tn in 2015, the amount involved in fraud-related transactions declined by N3.38bn or 43.6 per cent from N7.75bn to N4.37bn.

Between 2015 and 2016, the report stated that while the value of financial transactions rose significantly from N48.93tn to N64.18tn, the amount of fraud involved during the period dropped marginally from N4.37bn to N4.36bn.

The report read in part, “Although, values of the year 2016 are almost same with those of 2015, the difference in its volume when compared to 2015 suggests more success in curbing fraud.

“More attempts in volume can be seen over a period of three years, and the rate is expected to increase significantly if the current recession is to be taken into consideration.

“The current economic recession has and will always drive persons deeper into fraudulent activities.”

In terms of payment channels from which the frauds were perpetrated, the report stated that in 2014, fraudulent transactions conducted through the ATM were 491 cases; Internet banking, 287 cases; and web channels, 218 cases, were the top three.

In 2015, there were 5,133 ATM fraud incidents; PoS, 1,853 cases; and web, 1,463 cases, accounting for the top three most used channels to perpetrate fraudulent transactions.

In 2016, ATM with 9,522 cases; mobile, 3,832; and web channels, 2,677, were the three most used channels.

The report added, “Apparently, ATM and web channels have consistently appeared in the top three channels used to perpetrate fraudulent transactions for three years running.

“This is something we have to look at collectively in the industry as it can be deduced that ATM channel has been the focal point for fraudsters in the last three years.

“The emergence of mobile channel in this category cannot be extraneous to the various financial products and services we have these days, which ride on mobile platforms.”

Speaking on the increasing rate of frauds in the banking system, financial analysts called on the CBN and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation to step up their regulatory oversights, adding that sensitive positions in banks should not be given to those who were not members of relevant professional bodies.

Those that spoke to our correspondent in separate telephone interviews are the Head, Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Uche Uwaleke; and a former Managing Director Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Rislanudeen Muhammed.

Uwaleke, an Associate Professor of Finance, said the value system in the country, which celebrates wealth with no questions asked as to the source, needed to be changed.

He said, “There is also a justice system that is very slow and, therefore, fails to act as a deterrent to fraud. Equally are lapses in internal control systems of banks, which are circumvented by fraudulent staff sometimes with the connivance of auditors.

“Furthermore, the flip side of electronic banking is the level of sophistication associated with bank frauds and the specialist skills required in detecting such. So, it is not a surprise that the level of bank frauds is on the rise. Worse still, banking in Nigeria has become an all-comers affair where anybody who can bring deposits is employed.”

As a way forward, he suggested that the control systems in banks should be strengthened.

“Only professionals who belong to bodies that self-regulate their members, such as the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, should be assigned to sensitive positions in the banks,” he added.

Muhammed said since bank frauds were a threat to the stability of the financial sector, both the CBN and the NDIC should step up strategies for tackling the menace.

He said, “Recent elevated risk in fraud cases will naturally impact negatively on the individual bank’s loan loss provision, other known losses as well as profitability and capital adequacy ratios.

“The risk of under capitalisation will also impact negatively on solvency ratios. This underscores the imperative for strengthening internal control as well as risk management divisions in banks.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria should ensure compliance by banks of having internal control officers in each branch. This ensures that fraud cases are dealt with timely and proactively rather than reactively or after the fact.”

He stated that in situations where fraud cases were at the corporate level, the chief internal control officers were duty bound to report directly to the regulators as provided by the law.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Launches N127.1bn Public Offer and Rights Issue on June 20

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Fidelity Bank Plc, Nigeria’s sixth-largest bank, is set to open its public offer and rights issue to investors on Thursday, June 20, 2024.

In preparation for this significant financial event, Fidelity Bank will host a “Facts Behind the Offer” presentation at the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) on the same day.

This presentation is expected to provide detailed insights into the bank’s strategy and the opportunities presented by the public offer and rights issue.

Under the rights issue, Fidelity Bank will offer 3.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N9.25 per share. These shares will be available to existing shareholders in the proportion of 1 new ordinary share for every 10 ordinary shares held as of January 5, 2024.

In addition to the rights issue, the bank will also offer 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to the general investing public at N9.75 per share. This dual approach is part of the bank’s comprehensive strategy to raise a total of up to N127.1 billion.

The acceptance and application period for the rights issue and public offer will commence on Thursday, June 20, and close on Monday, July 29, 2024.

This timeline provides investors ample opportunity to participate in the bank’s capital expansion.

Fidelity Bank has engaged Stanbic IBTC Capital as the lead issuing house for the combined offer. The joint issuing houses include Iron Global Markets Limited, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Afrinvest Capital Limited, FSL Securities Limited, Futureview Financial Services Limited, Iroko Capital Market Advisory Limited, Kairos Capital Limited, and Planet Capital Limited.

These firms will play a crucial role in managing the offer and ensuring its success.

The bank’s initiative to raise N127.1 billion is seen as a strategic move to bolster its capital base and ensure compliance with the CBN’s revised capital requirements, which were introduced on March 28, 2024.

This capital raise is expected to enhance the bank’s capacity to support its growing customer base and expand its operations across Nigeria and beyond.

In recent years, Fidelity Bank has demonstrated robust financial performance and growth, positioning itself as a key player in Nigeria’s banking sector.

The successful completion of this public offer and rights issue will further solidify its standing and enable it to pursue new opportunities in the competitive financial landscape.

Investors and stakeholders are keenly anticipating the outcome of this capital-raising exercise, which is poised to mark a significant milestone in Fidelity Bank’s journey toward sustained growth and stability.

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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Plc Promotes 11% of Staff Following Record Financial Performance

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Leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc has announced the promotion of 11% of its workforce, a testament to the exceptional performance and dedication of its employees.

This significant move follows the release of the bank’s 2023 full year Audited Financial Statements, which reported an impressive 131.5 percent growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) to N124.26 billion.

The recent promotions span every level within the bank, reflecting Fidelity Bank Plc’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding excellence across its entire organization.

This strategic initiative has garnered positive reactions from staff members, who see it as a validation of their hard work and contribution to the bank’s remarkable financial achievements.

In addition to the promotions, Fidelity Bank Plc has also concluded arrangements to raise a total of N127.1 billion through a Rights Issue to existing shareholders and a Public Offer. This move is part of the bank’s broader strategy to strengthen its capital base, support future growth, and enhance shareholder value.

Fidelity Bank Plc’s impressive financial performance and the subsequent employee promotions highlight the bank’s robust operational strategy and its commitment to fostering a rewarding work environment. By investing in its people and ensuring their career growth, the bank continues to build a motivated and high-performing workforce.

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8.5 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.

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Finance

Nigeria to Receive $2.25 Billion from World Bank for Economic Growth

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The World Bank has approved a $2.25 billion funding package aimed at stabilizing the economy and assisting the most vulnerable segments of the population.

The Washington-based lender announced this approval on Thursday.

The fresh infusion of capital is designed to bolster Nigeria’s efforts to stabilize its economy, which has been plagued by years of foreign-exchange shortages and economic instability.

The funding will also focus on enhancing non-oil revenue streams and safeguarding oil revenues to ensure fiscal sustainability.

This, in turn, will help deliver quality public services and support the poor and economically at-risk communities.

Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank’s Vice President for Western and Central Africa, emphasized the importance of this financing package.

“Nigeria’s concerted efforts to implement far-reaching macro-fiscal reforms place it on a new path which can stabilize its economy and lift its people out of poverty,” Diagana said.

“This financing package reinforces the World Bank’s strong partnership with Nigeria, and our support towards reinvigorating its economy and fast-tracking poverty reduction, which can serve as a beacon for Africa.”

Since assuming office in May 2023, President Bola Tinubu has initiated a series of reforms aimed at addressing the chronic foreign-exchange shortages and stimulating economic growth.

Key measures include allowing the naira to trade more freely, significantly increasing interest rates, and phasing out a costly fuel subsidy by adjusting gasoline prices.

Also, the Central Bank has taken steps to clear a $7 billion backlog of unmet foreign-exchange obligations to industries and foreign investors.

These reforms are part of a broader strategy to attract foreign investment and diversify the economy, which has traditionally relied heavily on oil production.

Despite Nigeria’s status as Africa’s largest oil producer, low crude production levels and a lack of economic diversification have contributed to ongoing fiscal challenges and foreign-exchange shortages.

The World Bank’s funding is expected to provide much-needed support for these reform efforts, helping to stabilize the economy and improve the overall economic outlook.

The injection of $2.25 billion will not only address immediate fiscal needs but also lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

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