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Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte canvass use of tech to rescind effects of Covid-19, tackle fraud

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced  fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, Director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.

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FIRSTBANK CEO, DR. ADESOLA ADEDUNTAN, BECOMES A MEMBER OF BRETTON WOODS COMMITTEE

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Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that its CEO, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has been honoured with membership of Bretton Woods Committee (BWC).  FirstBank has also joined Bretton Woods Committee as an Organisational Supporter in line with the commitment to demonstrate cooperation and foster global well-being.

The membership, which is by invitation only, is in recognition of Dr. Adeduntan’s sterling leadership qualities including efforts in ensuring that FirstBank remains at the forefront in promoting financial inclusion in Africa.

According Bretton Woods, ‘’committee members are leaders at the top of business, academic, and nonprofit sectors. Influencers from every region of the world – including industry CEOs, international policymakers, and former U.S. officials – we champion efforts to spur economic growth, alleviate poverty, and advance global financial stability. Given your leadership and background, we believe you would be a valuable addition to the Bretton Woods Committee’’.

Since its founding in 1983, members of BWC include leaders at the top of the business, finance, academic, and non-profit sectors, including many industry CEOs, as well as former presidents, cabinet-level officials, and lawmakers who share the belief that international economic cooperation is essential and best served through strong and effective International Finance Institutions (IFIs). Members include President Jimmy Carter; Professor Henry Gates Jr, Harvard University; Mr. Michael E. O’Neill, Chairman of Citigroup (2012-2019).

The mission and work of the Committee is motivated by the conviction that systematic, principled and effective multilateral cooperation is the surest means of achieving economic and social progress.  Through its programs and events, the Committee convenes policymakers together with members and stakeholders across its network to explore current issues in global finance, development and trade, and to propose ways in which the system – and the institutions that comprise it – can be strengthened and made more effective.

Appreciating the recognition, Dr. Adeduntan said “On behalf of the board, management and staff of FirstBank, I’m deeply honoured to be recognised as a member of The Bretton Woods Committee. In addition, as a contributor, FirstBank remains committed to the goals of the Bretton Woods Committee. This is especially at this time when the role played by business and political leaders is critical to exploring efficient ways of deepening collaboration and inclusion across borders whilst mitigating the adverse effects of the coronavirus on not just the global economy but on other aspects of the livelihood of every individual and household.

“I look forward to working with other members of The Bretton Woods Committee as we continue to build on the successes achieved over the years. With these, we will make the world a better place,” he concluded.

Dr. Adeduntan has since the start of the year received various recognitions and applauses for his priceless leadership and role in promoting economic growth and development in Nigeria and the continent at large. These include; the conferment of The Cranfield Alumnus 2020 Award by Cranfield School of Management Alumni, The African Banking Personality of the Year 2019 by African Leadership Magazine and very recently, the Forbes Best of Africa Award.

 

About FirstBank

 

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.

With over 750 business locations and over 76,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 9million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 3 million people on FirstMobile platform.

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.

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Customer Service Week: UBA Hinges Customer Satisfaction on Innovation, Optimisation and Upgrading of Banking Platforms

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has said that the recently embarked transformation of its processes is to ensure that customers’ expectations are not only met but surpassed while enjoying seamless and world-class banking services. 

 In ensuring this, the bank has embarked on several initiatives that include streamlining and automating its processes, upgrading technology, training, and rewarding staff excellence all towards ensuring that customers enjoy the very best of services.

 UBA’s Head of Operations, Alex Alozie, who explained this during a virtual media parley on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, to mark the 2020 Customer Service Week, said the bank has intensified its focus on putting the customer first whilst still reaffirming its leadership position.

Alozie said that in line with this year’s theme, the ‘Dream Team’, which embodies UBA’s core goals, the bank has recorded considerable milestones in its journey.   

 He said, “In the last one year we have embarked on an intensive drive to transform our services across all service touchpoints including but not limited to banking halls, channels – internet, mobile, USSD, etc in Nigeria, Africa, and territories where we operate. We have ensured that our customers enjoy self-service, where they can carry out their transactions seamlessly on their devices, without visiting the banking hall. This has further boosted customers’ confidence as the services provide ease and convenience, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 “Honestly,  I will say that the pandemic brought out the best of us. With newly improved products like UBA Connect – where our customers can carry out transactions from anywhere in the world – and our recently improved Mobile App, our uptime has improved significantly, and our branch operations have also recorded considerable improvement. All these are the outcome of the transformation journey which we embarked upon,” Alozie noted.

 He added that there have been cases of failed transactions, and the bank has taken relevant corrective and preventive actions for service improvement. 

 UBA’s Group Head, Marketing and Customer Experience, Michelle Nwoga, pointed out that the bank is focused on being more intentional in the quality of service delivery to customers. She added that strategic initiatives have been implemented to deliver a differentiated experience to customers across all service touchpoints. 

 According to her, UBA is keen on meeting the demands of today’s diversified customer base by focusing on innovation, process re-engineering, experience optimization, and technology upgrade, etc. This is all in our effort to improve our service delivery, improve our customers’ satisfaction, and deepen our market share.  

 “Apart from this, we have also embarked on thoroughly equipping our people to deliver exceptional service, while also leveraging on data for insight to guide business decision making. We are no longer a one-size-fits-all organization, as we now personalize services based on individual specific demands; this is largely because we know that the customer is the only one that matters, and we tailor all our activities in line with their expectations,” Nwoga noted.

The Customer Service Week is celebrated annually all over the world and recognizes the importance of customer service and seeks to show appreciation to the staff who serve and support customers with the highest degree of care and professionalism.

 United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-one million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints, in 20 African countries. 

With a presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance, and ancillary banking services.

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Nigeria’s female business wiz, Denise Ajayi Williams absorbed into Forbes Business Council

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Co-founder of Silicon Valley-Nigerian Economic Development,  Denise Ajayi Williams, has been absorbed into the Forbes Business Council, the foremost growth and networking organization for successful business owners and leaders worldwide.

 

The organisation which has had the presence of prominent Nigerians like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mansur Dani Ali, the former minister of defense, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, among many others, has been responsible for various human capacity training in the country.

 

According to a release e-signed and made available to www.securenigeria365.com by the Forbes Business Council, Denise Williams, was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of her experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.

 

“We are honoured to welcome SV-NED Inc. into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Business Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

 

As an accepted member of the Council, Denise Williams will have access to a variety of exclusive opportunities designed to help her reach peak professional influence. She will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum and at members-only events.

 

Denise Williams will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share her expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

 

Finally, SV-NED Inc. will benefit from exclusive access to vetted business service partners, membership-branded marketing collateral, and the high-touch support of the Forbes Councils member concierge team.

 

SV-NED is very excited about joining Forbes Business Council, we strongly appreciate the value of this community, and we believe our growing ecosystem of 200 Million in the diaspora of professionals and entrepreneurs will strongly benefit from the council,” CEO & Co-Founder, SV-NED Inc.

 

SV-NED is an organisation located in San Jose – Silicon Valley, California.

Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).

 

In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

 

Denise Ajayi Williams who started out her career at age 23 has worked with various companies. She got the world’s attention when she was featured on Forbes Africa’s Top 30 Under 30.

 

Apart from co-creating the Silicon Valley organisation, she also serves on board of three other companies which are Global Connection for Women Foundation, and Sky Clinic Connect. Williams got BA degree in economics from the University of California, Riverside and had her MBA from Golden Gate University San Francisco. It should be noted that Williams started her career at the young age of 23 working with companies like Gilead Sciences, Abbott Laboratories, Kaiser Permanente among others.

Williams has also received many international organisations US Senatorial Award, US Congressional Award for Outstanding Contributions from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Williams got the world’s attention when featured on Forbes Africa’s Top 30 Under 30 and has featured in media organisations Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Thrive Global. She uses her spare time to promote children education and has authored a young adult fiction titled, Akiti the Hunter.

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