BoI to verify claims for loan applications under YES initiative
Following the detection of fraud in many applications for loans under the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has deployed the services of Background Check International (BCI) to verify the authenticity of the certificates submitted by the loan applicants.
The bank stated that the move became necessary to check fraudulent access to its funds for purposes different from what was indicated in the proposal, adding that the outcome of the verification results received so far, showed that a total of six certificates have been returned as fake in which the applicants neither attended the tertiary institutions nor obtained the grades stated on their certificates.
It added that incidences of fake or overstated pro-forma invoices, embellished business proposals with the aim to diverting funds for personal gains, have been on the rise.
While over N978.1 million has been approved for 261 applicants under the YES initiative, the bank noted that only 29 per cent of the total participants trained were able to submit their loan application and provide relevant documents required by it.
To this end, BoI has decided to engage with all Vice Chancellors and Rectors of higher institutions of learning by soliciting their cooperation in fast tracking certificate verification in order to improve the Bank’s loan processing turnaround time under its youth empowerment programme.
Furthermore, the bank explained that the fact that the funding component of the YES-Programme is a loan which must be repaid and not a grant and that thorough due diligence will be undertaken concerning information submitted by candidates to avert fund diversion, informed decisions taken by many candidates not to proceed with loan applications.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme was launched on March 17, 2016 as one of BoI’s youth-centric initiatives to kindle the spirit of entrepreneurship and tackle the high rate of unemployment in the country.
“The security for the loan includes Degree or Ordinary National Diploma Certificates of the candidate and two (2) external guarantors. BOI had employed the services of Background Check International (BCI) to verify the authenticity of the certificates submitted by the loan applicants. BCI is a company that specializes in full-service Background Checks, Vital Documents Verification and Investigative Due Diligence Services.
“Unfortunately, not all applicants have been honest in their loan applications. Such malpractices include embellishing or outright falsification of their educational qualifications. Therefore, educational qualification verification and due diligence on information provided by these young Nigerians have proven to be a veritable integrity check, while helping to protect the Bank against fraudsters and potential losses.
“One other factor that affects the processing of loan applications is the protracted verification of the certificates by some tertiary institutions which is outside the control of the Bank. The certificate verification exercise is expected to be concluded within seven (7) days of receipt of such request by BCI. The resultant delayed loan processing often leads to agitation by the loan applicants”, the bank’s management added.