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Is banking an endangered species? – Part 2

By Marcel Okeke
01 December 2021   |   2:42 am
Recently, Head of Cybercrime Section of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abbah Sambo, who represented the Commission’s Executive Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa

Recently, Head of Cybercrime Section of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abbah Sambo, who represented the Commission’s Executive Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, at a national seminar on “Banking and Allied Matters for Judges”, alluded to this ugly trend.

At this event jointly organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Sambo said, “the rate at which young men are perpetrating cybercrimes is seriously alarming,” adding that the fraudsters were mainly “insider ICT employees” of banks.

Not a few banks are grappling with this rising spate of cyber criminality as well as the high turnover of ‘lower-level staff’. Ironically, because of the very high rate of graduate unemployment in Nigeria today, many fresh graduates keep taking up banking jobs just as temporary work or ‘interim livelihood’. As a sequel, many youths get scared of the augury of banking jobs that keep them exposed to the vagaries of unsettled careers and uncertain futures.

But while banking is contending with all these, a more incendiary attack on the profession is lurking around. Incredibly, prospective bankers (or graduates of banking and finance) are being discriminated against by some employers of labour. Apparently, holders of higher national diplomas and/or first degrees in banking and finance are perceived as inferior to graduates of other disciplines. A circular recently issued by the Civil Service Commission of Ekiti State in Nigeria explicitly conveyed this inferior status.

The document titled “Call Circular for the 2022 Public Service Examination (PSE) in Ekiti State” and dated November 8, 2021, said: “…the Commission has commenced the sale of PSE forms for entry into the cadres of Administrative Officer, Accountant, Auditor, Inspector of Taxes and Registrar of Cooperatives for the year 2022”. The circular said further that prospective candidates must be holders of a university degree in Social and Management Sciences and Humanities; and stressed that: “holders of HND and university degree in Banking and Finance…are not eligible for the examination.” It finally enjoined Accounting Officers to “give this circular letter a broad publicity in your MDAs.”

The direct import of this circular is that holder of degrees in banking and finance are not considered as good as their counterparts in the social and management sciences and humanities. This, in a way, is also a direct affront to the banking profession and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) which, in recent years, had gone round, vetted and accredited the syllabi (or course contents) of higher diploma and degree-awarding institutions in banking and finance across the country. Even training schools owned by banks and allied institutions have had to be accredited/approved by the CIBN in line with its enabling Act.

In the accreditation drives by the CIBN, it ensured that a degree or HND in banking and finance from its accredited institutions is as good as a degree in the management and social sciences, and more. Since 2014, the CIBN had ensured the broadening and updating of the syllabi for banking and finance in tune with 21st-century banking, including the management and leadership skills entailed. And so, the Ekiti State ‘apartheid’ (which may not be an isolated case) implied in the Civil Service Commission circular is unfounded and unjustifiable. It is indeed another avoidable slur on the banking profession and has the potency to further discourage aspiring students from studying banking and/or venturing into the profession.

All said, the current state of the banking industry in Nigeria urgently requires the ownership and leadership of banks to re-strategize and change the ‘face’ of the profession in order to attract and retain the best hands. The extant trend whereby young bankers are getting scared or frustrated, leaving the profession in droves, with banking being perceived as unattractive is worrisome. Employees should be made to have optimum job satisfaction; not just being paid relatively good salaries. It is not good to have just bank workers, but motivated professional staff who can clearly see their career paths ahead and deploy the requisite commitment and loyalty to tread on them and climb the ladder of success and attain self-actualization.

Concluded

Okeke, an economist and consultant in Business Strategy & Sustainability, lives in Lagos. He can be reached at: obioraokeke2000@yahoo.com; 08033075697 (SMS only)