This month, it was reported that Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh asked, in Prime Minister’s Decision No 942/QD-TTg, the State Bank of Vietnam to study and execute a pilot implementation of a central bank digital currency before the end of 2023. Currently, cryptocurrencies are not legally recognized as an asset in the country, nor do any crypto exchanges hold licenses from the central bank. Last year, the country set up a group to study digital assets, with a purview that extended to potentially proposing regulatory mechanisms.
“Vietnam is a country that has had its eye on blockchain, even though they haven’t made many steps towards mainstreaming cryptocurrencies. It is a country that is interested in technology and riding a potential economic wave brought upon by new innovation, from blockchain to AI and VR. But, what’s notable here is that this decision was pushed forward very near the time that many pundits began to ask whether the Chinese e-Yuan would become a digital currency which transcended China and became something of a regional powerhouse as an asset,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.
“I think that’s important. Many countries are looking at what’s happening in China, then taking a look at their own place in the CBDC rat race, and they’re making decisions, I think, which moves up their timetable. This isn’t an innovation where you want to be last to the party. Doing so, in fact, could have ripple effects across a country’s monetary policy,” noted Gardner.
“Digital money is an inevitable trend,” said Huynh Phuoc Nghia, Deputy Director of the Institute of Innovation under the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City. Some believe that moving quickly to develop a CBDC could give countries like Vietnam greater influence in the global financial system.
“I think it’s too soon to say what kind of ripple effects this development will have. It’s worth noting that Vietnam is in the very early stages. This isn’t a case where they’re ready to begin a pilot test in the short-term. Vietnam isn’t Ghana. But, forging ahead now can only be a positive. It’s better to move forward than continue to wait. Those countries that continue to take a wait-and-see approach are going to find themselves in last place. This is a race you don’t want to finish last. It very well could be the 21st century equivalent to the Race to Space,” opined Gardner.
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable exchanges, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
“Vietnam is so close in proximity to China, and China is so far ahead in the development of their own CBDC, it was likely the push that they needed to move on this. Earlier this year, some pundits wondered if the e-Yuan would replace the dollar. That’s a premature discussion to have. But, if successfully rolled out, could it have a real regional impact? Absolutely,” Gardner offered.
Foreign Exchange: First Bank to Discontinue Dollar Transactions on Naira Card
First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022
First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022.
In a recent email that First Bank sent to its customers, the bank stated customers will no longer be able to perform international transactions on First Bank Naira credit card, virtual card and visa prepaid card.
The message read, “Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on 30 September 2022,” First Bank said.
The message added that customers can only use their multicurrency and other permitted cards to make international transactions.
“Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000.” The statement concluded.
It could be recalled that in July 2022, Standard Chartered Bank also suspended international transactions on its naira visa debit card.
Other banks that have suspended international transactions on naira cards include Flutterwave, Eversend and other financial technology platforms.
Investors King had earlier reported that Nigerian banks have reduced international transactions to $20 on Naira cards due to the ongoing foreign exchange scarcity in Nigeria.
The reduction started in 2020 from $500 to $100 in 2021. In March 2022, many of the financial institutions subsequently reduced international transactions on naira cards to $20.
At the 364th Bankers Committee Meeting in Abuja in 2021, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed that the apex bank will stop supplying foreign currency to Deposit Money Bank (DMBs) otherwise known as commercial banks by the end of the year. He, therefore, urges them to source for their foreign exchange from export proceeds.
Islamic Finance: Move Towards Open Banking Set to Accelerate
Leading Islamic finance professionals expect the sector to move rapidly towards greater use of open banking over the next three years.
New research shows that most leading Islamic finance professionals expect the sector to move rapidly towards greater use of open banking over the next three years.
In the research conducted to support the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2022 (GIFF2022), 90 per cent of Islamic finance professionals believe the adoption of open banking by financial institutions, Governments, fintechs and other stakeholders will increase by 2025, with nearly two out of five (38 per cent) expecting a dramatic rise in adoption.
Growth of open banking in Islamic finance will partly be driven by more and better regulations, the study also found. Almost a third (32 per cent) of Islamic finance professionals who were questioned predicted a dramatic increase in regulation, with another 59 per cent forecasting a slight increase in regulation.
The study found that Islamic finance professionals working across a wide range of sectors believe open banking will mean greater use of fintech innovations in Islamic finance such as Waqf, Zakat and Sadaqah. More than half (62 per cent) questioned, strongly agree open APIs will enable the platforms to access customer accounts in Islamic finance, with the result that customers can make contributions through the platforms. Another 30 per cent slightly agree.
Islamic finance professionals believe that the key benefit of open banking in the Islamic finance industry is to meet strong customer demand and offer more choice with the ability of banks to offer more innovative products. Other benefits include being able to manage the escalating costs of launching new digital services at scale and developing strategies to monetise customer data to generate new revenue streams. The growth of open banking will also enable institutions to meet regulatory requirements to provide higher transparency for reporting data.
Chief Executive Officer of Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia said, “Increased adoption of open banking in Islamic finance brings a wide range of benefits to the sector and research shows Islamic finance professionals are expecting rapid developments in the sector over the next three years. There is a clear need for more and better regulation around open banking and open finance in Islamic finance, and that is recognised by Islamic finance professionals who are expecting strong progress.”
First Bank CEO, Adesola Adeduntan Ranked First on Nigeria Banks CEOs Media Performance Report
Adesola Adeduntan topped the Nigerian Banks’ Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) media performance report for August.
It is another testimony to the sterling performance and media engagement of the First Bank helmsman, Adesola Adeduntan as he was ranked top in the Nigerian Banks CEOs Media Performance Report for August.
An independent analysis of the media performance and prominence of Nigeria Commercial Banks CEOs placed Adesola Adeduntan ahead of Yemisi Edun of FCMB, Ademola Adebisi of Wema Bank and Abubakar Suleiman of Sterling Bank.
According to the analysis which was carried out by MATE+, using various data gathering and PR Metrics, the prominence of the bank CEOs was tracked both in the online and print media.
He was followed by Yemisi Edun of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) with 23%, while Ademola Adebisi of Wema Bank and Abubakar Sulieman of Sterling Bank completed the chart with 19% and 14% respectively.
In June, First Bank also topped the list of Nigerian Banks in the media while it was also ranked first in promotional media content in May.
Meanwhile, the report also tracked the media prominence of the CEOs in the Nigeria Insurance sector.
The performance report revealed that the MD of AIICO Insurance, Babatunde Fajemirokun had the most media exposure with 45%.
He was followed by Eddie Efekoha of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance with 17%, Kunle Ahmed of AXA Mansard Insurance with 14% and Tunde Hassan- Odukale of Leadway Assurance with 11% media exposure.
Investors King could recall that Mr. Adesola Adeduntan was appointed as the CEO of First Bank of Nigeria by the central bank in April 2021 to stabilise the bank after a brief controversy.
Adeduntan has since been repositioning the bank. It is not a surprise that First Bank has now generated enough public interest which includes the purchase of a majority stake in the bank by one of the foremost Nigerian billionaires, Femi Otedola.
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