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Dearth of Software Engineers Compounding Internet Banking Difficulties,  Nigerian Banks Reveal



Retail banking

One of the challenges confronting the cashless policy of the Federal Government is the dearth of software engineers at the money deposit institutions to fix complaints of poor network trailing the use of digital transactions, Investors King has learnt.

Many Nigerians have complained bitterly about their difficulty in making use of alternate channels including mobile apps and internet transfers following the cash crunch ravaging the country.

They said most of the bank apps were malfunctioning and that payments and reception of transfer alerts are being delayed and further frustrating them.

For some of them, the nation appeared not ready for the cashless policy it has introduced through the redesigning of larger denominations of the naira currency and the non-circulation of the same.

Explaining the reason behind the hiccups, commercial banks in Nigeria said they lost most of their software engineers to the mass exodus of young Nigerians abroad in search of a better life, adding that they have been struggling to replace these tech gurus to attend to the issues of the poor network during transfer among other problems affecting the smooth implementation of digital banking.

The President of the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB), Rasheed Bolarinwa, while speaking during an interview, assured Nigerians that the challenges would soon be resolved as banks have been working towards recruiting fresh engineers to attend to the problems at the backend of the sites.

While agreeing that the challenges that have been happening with the digital transaction were real and that banks have been seeing difficulties at the backend, Bolarinwa said most of the banks have been losing some of their software engineers to the exit of youths in the country.

He said the Japa syndrome impacted significantly on some of the resolutions that normally happen at the backend, but, noted that resources are being mobilised and talents are being streamlined to ensure that the banks have a minimal obstruction in the technological space.

According to him, “We understand the frustration and everything that has happened but nothing justifies an attack on the banking institutions. If there are those who have left the country (software engineers), the banks have the capacity and muscle to train more people that will come into the industry and fix whatever challenges that we face. Our investments in the alternate channels cannot go to waste. This situation will normalize and Nigeria will take its pride of place in the comity of nations.”

Bolarinwa urged Nigerians to embrace the cashless method by using alternate channels of transactions. He said it was high time Nigerians desist from depending on cash for their daily transactions and that banks have invested heavily to see to the full realisation of the policy.

“We (Nigerians) should stop paying attention to cash. We shouldn’t abuse the naira. We should embrace the cashless policy. We can’t be referencing advanced society and fail to do what the advanced society do. A country that doesn’t manage its monetary system very well won’t work and that’s why CBN is ensuring that everyone embraces cashless policy.

“80 percent of Nigerians have access to one form of alternate channels or the other. We have the USSD, we have the internet banking, we have the mobile banking, you have the POS, where the banks were able to provide billions of jobs for the unemployed and that’s one of the values that banks brought into the system, then we have the digital banks itself. You have more than eight alternate channels and I believe every Nigerian who had had active service, must have used one or two,” he said.

On how Nigerians who are unable to make successful digital transactions, Bolarinwa explained that, “there are laid down resolution mechanisms; whenever you buy things and you are unable to get value or maybe the merchant didn’t get value, once that happens, just collect your ticket and call the bank. Every bank has 24/7 multilingual call centre where hundreds of Nigerians are employed to work round the clock to restore customer-issues. So, when this happens, all that you need to do is to lodge complaints. You will get your money back, it may be immediate or maybe one week. Once you have incidented it, you will be given a complainant card and that’s what you will be using to reference it once that issue has not been resolved.”

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Osinbajo Lauds China on Loans Offered to Africans, Repayment System




Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has commended the Chinese government for the loans given to African countries and its repayment system.

According to Osinbajo, the Chinese loans have reduced the reliance of Africans on international financial institutions like the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund amongst others.

He stated these at King’s College, London on March 27, 2023 while delivering a public lecture on ‘China’s Investment in Africa, Investors King reports.

The Vice President lauded China for constantly meeting the needs of African countries which has reduced the burden on the western institutions.

He further mentioned that the loan servicing system was made easy to aid the African economies, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020. 

Through its Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), China offered 73 low income economies suspension of principal and interest payments.

“Chinese banks provided 63% of the total debt relief while being only owed 30% of the debt service payments due,” Osinbajo noted.

The VP pointed out that China is the largest provider of foreign direct investment which provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of Africans.

On Chinese investment in Africa, Osinbajo stated that $254 billion was disbursed in 2021 which was calculated as four times the volume of US-Africa trade.

“China remains by far the largest lender to African countries. Chinese companies have also taken the lead in exploiting minerals in Africa, many now in lithium mining in Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Most African countries are rightly unapologetic about their close ties with China. China shows up where and when the west will not or are reluctant.

“And many African countries are of the view that the ‘beware of the Chinese Trojan loans’ advice from the west is wise but probably self serving. Africa needs the loans and the infrastructure. And China offers them.”

“All of Chinese lending to Africa is only 5% of all outstanding public and publicly guaranteed debt in low and middle income countries, compared to 23% held by the World Bank and other multilaterals. Chinese lenders account for 12 per cent of Africa’s private and public external debt,” the vice president stated.

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FirstBank Announces a Name Change of its Subsidiaries, Reiterates its Commitment to Boosting Cross-border Payments



First Bank Of Nigeria

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier financial services institution, has announced a phased corporate name change of its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and Sub-Saharan Africa.

FBNBank UK, FBNBank Sierra Leone, FBNBank Gambia and FBNBank DRC are the first set of subsidiaries effecting the name alignment. They are now known and addressed as FirstBank UK, FirstBank Sierra Leone, FirstBank Gambia and FirstBank DRC. The Ghana, Senegal and Guinea subsidiaries will be next in the phased name change implementation.

The name change is being implemented to align the subsidiaries with the parent brand and to enjoy the strong heritage and brand equity built by FirstBank Nigeria in its 129 years of banking leadership. This will further enhance the quality-of-service delivery resulting in better brand clarity, uniformity and consistency across all the markets where the Bank operates.

A leading financial inclusion services provider, FirstBank Group is committed to its nation-building goal. It has taken giant performance strides on its unique growth trajectory as it continues to build distinctive capabilities through partnerships and the constant drive to reinvent itself.

This performance is evidenced in the numerous awards and recognitions bestowed on the institution. These awards include Best Private Bank for Sustainable Investing in Africa 2023 by Global Finance Awards; Best Corporate Bank in Western Africa 2022 by Global Banking; Finance; Best CSR Bank Africa by International Business Magazine in 2022; and ranked as number one in Nigeria in terms of Overall Performance; Profitability; Efficiency and Return o Risk by the Top 100 African Bank Rankings 2022 released by The Banker Magazine from the stables of Financial Times.

In addition, in Euromoney Market Leaders, an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers conducted by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc., the Bank was crowned: Market Leader in Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR); Market Leader in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG); Highly Regarded in Corporate Banking and Digital Solutions and Notable: in SME Banking.

Speaking on the name change, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group, said ” the name change which coincides with FirstBank’s 129th founding anniversary (March 31 st , 2023) is indeed a milestone reflective of our resolve to continuously provide the gold standard of excellence and value as we put our customers First.  The new identity of the subsidiaries contributes to an enhanced brand presence. It helps our customers and stakeholders better appreciate the value of the diversified products suites, competitive pricing and extensive business networks the FirstBank Group offers. These include our commitment to boosting cross-border businesses including trade and investment opportunities essential to enhancing trade relations amongst countries, thereby strengthening the economies of host communities and reducing poverty,” he concluded.

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First Bank Denies Forgery Allegation in Face of Legal Battle with Loan Defaulter



Loan - Investors King

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has issued a denial against the forgery allegation made by Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, the owner of Whiteplains British School.

In the lawsuit marked CR/266/2023, the federal ministry of justice had accused the bank of forging a “tripartite legal mortgage without the consent of Mr Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, with intent to commit fraud.”

In an official statement, First Bank described the accusation as a spurious allegation made by a delinquent debtor, which is aimed at tainting the bank’s loan recovery efforts and legal enforcement of its security collateral interest in line with the terms of the loan.

The bank emphasized that it operates by the highest standards of ethical conduct and will under no circumstances involve itself in any act of illegality. It further assured its numerous customers, stakeholders, and the general public that it remains focused on its mission of providing the best financial services.

The case has been adjourned until May 8th, as the prosecution lawyer stated that all the defendants had yet to be served with the charge.

It is common for loan defaulters to resort to legal battles with banks and this case is no different. However, it is important for both parties to ensure that the matter is handled in a transparent and legal manner.

First Bank’s denial of the allegation is a clear indication that it is standing firm against any attempt by recalcitrant debtors to fritter away depositors’ funds under its custody. The bank’s focus on its mission of providing the best financial services to its numerous customers is commendable and should be the guiding principle for all financial institutions.

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