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CBN Introduces Social Media Verification in Fight Against Financial Crimes

The latest regulations aim to strengthen compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) provisions while aligning with international best practices.

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Central Bank

In a significant move against financial crimes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled its Customer Due Diligence Regulations 2023, imposing stricter measures on financial institutions under its regulatory purview.

The latest regulations aim to strengthen compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) provisions while aligning with international best practices.

The CBN’s new regulations introduce a crucial requirement for financial institutions to collect and verify customers’ social media handles as part of their Know Your Customer (KYC) process.

By including social media verification in the KYC requirements, the CBN intends to enhance the accuracy and depth of customer identification and fortify the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing.

Under the new regulations, financial institutions are obligated to establish internal processes and procedures for conducting comprehensive customer due diligence measures for both potential and existing customers, including occasional customers.

These measures include obtaining specific information such as legal names, addresses, contact details, identification documents, account types, nature of banking relationships, signatures, and the identification of politically exposed persons (PEPs).

To verify customer identities, financial institutions must rely on reliable and independent source documents, data, or information. This involves confirming personal details, including date of birth, residential address, contact details, and the validity of official documentation for individuals.

For legal entities or arrangements, financial institutions are required to conduct searches on public registries or databases, review annual reports or relevant financial statements, and examine board resolutions.

Record-keeping and maintaining up-to-date customer information are also emphasized in the new regulations. Financial institutions must retain records obtained through customer due diligence measures, account files, business correspondence, and analysis results for at least five years after the termination or cessation of a business relationship or an occasional transaction.

Additionally, regular reviews of existing customer records are mandated based on risk categories, with high-risk customers requiring annual reviews, medium-risk customers requiring reviews every 18 months, and low-risk customers requiring reviews every three years.

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Banking Sector

Unity Bank Customers Win Over N4 Million in Cashtoken Rewards Promo

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Unity Bank customers have claimed over N4 million in cash rewards in its ongoing loyalty programme recently rolled out with Cashtoken, a Cash Reward-as-a-Service company.

The winners included no fewer than 40 customers who adopted and transacted on the Bank’s digital banking platforms, including the UniFi mobile banking application, the *7799# USSD platform or activated their Unity Bank Verve Card to transact on e-payment terminals across Nigeria.

Beginning from onboarding in our customer lifecycle journey, the Unity Bank Cashtoken Partnership commenced as a loyalty and reward scheme to reinforce the benefits of e-banking platforms. To begin, Customer transactions earn cash tokens, which are then redeemed to qualify for the monthly Cashtoken Rewards draw. Consequently, winners emerge from the draws to claim the cash prizes.

Recall that the retail lender announced the ongoing Cashtoken Rewards loyalty programme in December 2023 in partnership with Cashtoken Rewards Africa to empower customers and improve customer satisfaction. The partnership with Cashtoken Rewards also provided an opportunity for the Bank to migrate customers—old and new—to a platform that will continually create exciting rewards and appreciation for loyalty.

Eghomware Iyamu, Unity Bank’s Head of E-Business, commenting on the success of the Cashtoken Rewards loyalty program, stated: “We are excited to see our customers win over N4 million in cash rewards through our partnership with Cashtoken. This initiative demonstrates our commitment to recognizing and rewarding the loyalty of our customers”.

“By leveraging our digital banking platforms, including the Unifi mobile banking application and the *7799# USSD platform, we are not only enhancing customer experience but also providing life-changing opportunities. The Cashtoken Rewards program is a testament to our dedication to improving customer satisfaction and creating meaningful rewards along our customer lifecycle journey. We look forward to seeing more of our customers benefit from this exciting program as we continue to innovate and deliver exceptional value to them.”

Unity Bank has robust electronic banking products which include mobile and digital banking channels, including ATM, PoS, or any digital payment channels which support retail product transactions across the country. New-to-Bank customers are invited to open a Unity Bank account, onboard onto the digital platforms and begin transacting on the various platforms to earn cash token rewards and cash prizes while existing customers are encouraged to onboard and transact to win even more rewards and cash prizes.

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Banking Sector

Access Bank and FMO Sign Landmark $295 Million Syndicate Tier II Facility Agreement

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Access bank

Access Bank Plc, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest bank by customer base, has reached a significant milestone in its enduring partnership with the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO).

This collaboration, spanning over two decades, marked a historic moment on Tuesday with the signing of a monumental syndicate Tier II Facility agreement valued at $295 million, approximately N442.5 billion.

The relationship between Access Bank and FMO, which began in 2003, has been a testament to their shared commitment to economic development in Nigeria.

This latest agreement, the third of its kind arranged by FMO for Access Bank, represents more than just a financial transaction; it symbolizes the deep-rooted trust and synergy between the two institutions.

This historic agreement is notably the largest syndication in FMO’s history, a substantial investment resulting from a collective effort involving a syndicate of Global Development Finance Institution (DFI) partners.

These partners include esteemed entities such as British International Investment (BII), Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), BlueOrchard, FinDev Canada, Finnfund of Finland, Norfund of Norway, Oikocredit, and Swedfund of Sweden.

The $295 million facility is earmarked to empower local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with a particular focus on underserved segments such as youth- and women-owned businesses, agricultural enterprises, and very small enterprises.

This significant infusion of capital aims to catalyze growth across various sectors, stimulate business development, create jobs, and deepen financial inclusion, aligning with Access Bank’s mission to drive progress and development throughout the continent and beyond.

The ceremony, held in the Netherlands, was attended by dignitaries including Oluremi Oliyide, Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, and representatives from the Dutch government.

During the event, Roosevelt Ogbonna, MD/CEO of Access Bank Plc, expressed profound gratitude to FMO for their unwavering support and emphasized the bank’s commitment to becoming the world’s most respected African bank by adhering to global best practices and maintaining high standards of accountability.

“Today marks a significant milestone in our longstanding partnerships with FMO. This monumental syndicate Tier II Facility agreement underscores the deep-rooted trust and synergy among our institutions. This facility not only enhances our capital reserves but also strengthens Africa’s trade capabilities and export potential,” Ogbonna said.

“Putting these funds to use, we aim to catalyze growth across various sectors, stimulate business development, create jobs, and deepen financial inclusion.”

In his remarks, Michael Jongeneel, CEO of FMO, stated, “We extend our gratitude to our longstanding partner, Access Bank, and our syndication partners for their outstanding cooperation and collective effort in making this loan facility a reality. The syndicated loan provides significant support to SMEs in Nigeria, particularly underserved segments such as women and young entrepreneurs, aligning perfectly with our shared strategy to enhance financial inclusion and empower local entrepreneurs in the agribusiness and SME sectors.”

Marchel Gerrmann, representing the Dutch government, and members of the syndication partners—BII, Finnfund, and BlueOrchard—were among the distinguished guests who witnessed this historic agreement.

This landmark deal is set to bolster Nigeria’s private sector, providing much-needed support to SMEs and contributing significantly to the country’s economic development.

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Banking Sector

FCMB Halts International Use of Naira Cards, Introduces New Forex Card

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FCMB - Investors King

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has announced its Naira Debit and Credit Cards can no longer be used for international transactions.

In a statement to its customers, FCMB said the volatility and challenges within the foreign exchange market had prompted the bank to make necessary adjustments to provide better financial solutions for customers who travel frequently or make online purchases from international vendors.

The bank has introduced a new Foreign Currency Card linked to a USD or GBP Domiciliary account and offers a significantly higher international spending limit.

The new card boasts a monthly limit of $10,000, double the previous limit of $5,000. Additionally, there is potential for further increases based on customer needs and usage patterns.

FCMB encourages customers to apply for the Foreign Currency Card to continue enjoying seamless international transactions.

The bank assures customers that this card will offer a more robust and reliable option for their foreign spending needs.

“We understand the inconvenience that the discontinuation of Naira cards for international use may cause our customers. However, the introduction of the Foreign Currency Card is a strategic move to ensure that our customers have access to higher spending limits and a more stable transaction experience abroad,” FCMB said in the statement sent to customers.

The bank has urged customers to contact their Relationship Managers or visit any of its branches to apply for the new card.

The process has been streamlined to ensure that customers can transition smoothly to the new system without any disruptions to their international transactions.

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