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Auditors strategise to stop frauds in banks


WITH the introduction of electronic banking notwithstanding its challenges, it would not be business as usual for fraudsters to steal from banks as loopholes in the system will be blocked.

This was the conclusion of Chief Internal Auditors, under the umbrella of Committee of Chief Internal Auditors of Banks in Nigeria (CCIABN) during their four-day retreat/conference with the theme “The Future of Banking”,
in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Some other topical issues discussed at the retreat included “corporate governance and risk management as key catalyst for sustainable banking industry development”, “IT governance for banking industry” and achieving results through emotional intelligence”.

The Chairman, sub-Committee on Research and Publicity, Samuel Ekanem, said the conference was timely especially when the banking industry was facing challenges and risks as a result of moving from manual to electronic transactions.

“You have seen development in the world, the movement from manual or analogue to digital approach of processing transaction. Most of the transactions done manually in the banking hall have been replaced by electronic transaction.

“You can sit in your room, using your mobile-phone you can do any transaction running into millions of naira. This has made live easy for the users of the facility. But the transformation from manual to electronic banking has also brought some challenges and risks to us.

“The speed that transactions are taking place some fraudsters have also taken advantage of such by also using speed of the transaction to move money illegal across the banks”, Ekanem said.

As Chief Internal Auditors, he said they need to equip themselves to protect the future of the banking industry based on the situation on ground, the crisis and challenges being faced and also able to resolved as well as the movement from manual transactions to electronic processing to protect depositors money.

“We have fraud running to millions of naira in the industry. It is not limited to Nigeria alone. What an international bank in another country has lost is more than what all the banks in Nigeria have lost.

“One incident in the international bank that occur you cannot compare with the whole fraud here but is still significant because it is a lost to Nigeria economy”.

According to him, the operators have taken steps to ensure that internal fraud is reduced to the barest minimum by engaging people of good integrity especially when significant of the fraud were externally induced sources.

Besides hiring people with integrity, he said what the banks are doing to seal the loopholes of the fraudsters also include training and equipping staff with relevant skills to be able to even outsmart the fraudsters.

The State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio had while declaring the conference opened expressed hope that forum will strengthen the banking sector and further boost the nation economy.

Akpabio who spoke through his Deputy, Lady Valerie Ebe noted the role of the banking sector in promoting economic growth and development, saying the Central Bank of Nigeria deserves commendations for banking reforms in Nigeria, which has restored the confidence of Nigerians in the sector.

The theme of the annual retreat, “the Future of Baking”, the Governor said was quite apt, as digitization has affected all aspect of human endeavor including the banking sector.
Despite the revolution in the electronic banking, Akpabio expressed concern that only 40 per cent of retail banking activities is digitized.

“This is not ideal for the future of banking in Nigeria. The banks must consider the digitization of all aspect of their transactions. It is only in this lies the future of banking.

“This is the direction that the banking industry must take. This is the future of banking and the path our banking industry must toe”, the Governor stressed.

He equally expressed optimism that the outcome of discussion in the conference, candid contributions an deliberations will chart a new direction and set new paradigm for the future of banking in Nigeria.

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