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Mastercard Unveils AI Tools to Help Banks Fight Cyber Risks

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Mastercard Unveils AI Tools to Help Banks Fight Cyber Risks, SiliconNigeria

Mastercard has unveiled an AI-powered suite of tools designed to help banks assess cyber risks across their ecosystem and prevent breaches.

Drawing on the capabilities of RiskRecon, which Mastercard acquired earlier this year, the Cyber Secure suite’s AI combines multiple public and proprietary data sources.

Then, it evaluates this data against 40 security and infrastructure criteria, with the impact and importance of each vulnerability analysed to produce a cyber risk rating and issue priority navigator.

This information can be used by banks to identify and prioritise threats and vulnerabilities as well as to help their merchant clients.

Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence, Mastercard, says: “The world today faces a $5.2 trillion cyber breach problem. This is one of the biggest threats to consumer trust. At Mastercard, we aim to stay ahead of fraudsters and to continually evolve and enhance our protection of cyber environments for our bank and merchant customers.

“With Cyber Secure, we have a suite of AI-powered cyber capabilities that allows us to do just that, ensuring trust across every experience, for businesses and consumers.”

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Quickteller Gives Out Phones, Game Consoles in ‘Transact and Win’ Promo

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Quickteller Gives Out Phones Game Consoles in ‘Transact and Win’ Promo, SiliconNigeria

Quickteller, Africa’s leading digital payment platform, has announced plans to reward 10 of its highest transacting customers with amazing gifts, including iPhone 12, Play Station 5, and Samsung A21, in the grand finale of its ‘Transact and Win’ promo.

The ‘Transact and Win’ promo is designed to reward customers for using the various Quickteller digital channels. The promo started on March 1, 2021 and will end on May 2, 2021. So far, about 1,000 customers have been rewarded with weekly and monthly airtime and phones.

For the grand finale, Quickteller is set to reward 10 people with the highest transactions with iPhone 12 or Play Station 5, while other two customers will be rewarded with Samsung A21 phones.

Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Interswitch Group, commended customers of the payment platform for their unwavering trust and loyalty in the product and assured users of its continuing commitment to its qualitative service delivery.

She noted that Quickteller allows you to pay for almost anything, in just a few clicks. In addition to payment, Quickteller gives easy access to exclusive flight deals, global shopping with guaranteed local delivery, events tickets and more.

She encouraged customers who were not selected to remain committed to the brand. She also said that beyond the rewards, it was important for customers to enjoy making payments because Quickteller is constantly upgrading its platform to make payment one less thing to worry about.

In its recent upgrade, Quickteller introduced an interesting feature called ‘Transfer link’. The link helps users create unique payment links that allow them receive payment from people, monitor collection and share transaction history. This can be used typically for group contributions among friends, family and colleagues.

According to the company, to qualify for the grand prize in the ‘Transact and Win’ promo, you need a minimum of 10 transactions before May 2, 2021, using any of the Quickteller digital channels. The more you transact on Quickteller, the better your chances of winning the grand prize.

Customers can perform any of the following transactions for a chance to win the grand prize: bills payment (DSTV and GOTV subscription, electricity bill, Bet9ja, toll fees, tithe and offering, etc.), airtime purchase and fund transfer (local and international).

The grand prize winners will emerge from the final draws that will hold on May 2, 2021.

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CBN Sacks Boards of First Bank, FBN Holdings, Appoints Replacements

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CBN Sacks Boards of First Bank FBN Holdings Appoints Replacements, SiliconNigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria has sacked the board of directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and FBN Holdings Plc and has appointed a new set of directors for the two companies with immediate effect.

CBN had this afternoon queried the Board of the bank for removing Adesola Adeduntan as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, and appointing Gbenga Shobo as MD/CEO designate without regulatory approval.

The CBN had also faulted the appointment of Abdullahi Ibrahim as deputy managing director, as well as the appointment of Ini Ebong, Segun Alebiosu, Seyi Oyefeso and Bashirat Odunewu, as executive directors.

Addressing the media, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced the sacking of all members of the board of the bank for the supposed affront. Emefiele also reinstated Adeduntan as the MD/CEO of the bank.

  1. Emefiele announced the appointment of  Tunde Hassan-Odukale as Chairman of First Bank Limited while Remi Babalola will serve as Chairman of FBN Holdings.

The text of his media briefing are reproduced below:

“The media has been awash with commentaries on the purported management changes at First Bank of Nigeria Ltd (FBN) and the related regulatory inquiry by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the Board of First Bank of Nigeria Limited. It has therefore become necessary for me to address the public to clear any misconceptions.    

“Ordinarily the board is vested with the authority to make changes in the management team subject to CBN approval. However, the CBN considers itself a key stakeholder in management changes involving FBN due to the forbearances and close monitoring by the Bank over the last 5 years aimed at stemming the slide in the going concern status of the bank. It was therefore surprising for the CBN to learn through media reports that the board of directors of FBN, a systemically important bank under regulatory forbearance  regime had effected sweeping changes in executive management without engagement and/or prior notice to the regulatory authorities. The action by the board of FBN sends a negative signal to the market on the stability of leadership on the board and management and it is in light of the foregoing that the CBN queried the board of directors on the unfortunate developments at the bank.

“As you may be aware, FBN is one of the systemically important banks in the Nigerian banking sector given its historical significance, balance sheet size, large customer base and high level of interconnectedness with other financial service providers, amongst others.  By our last assessment, FBN has over 31m customers, with deposit base of N4.2trn, shareholders funds of N618bn  and NIBSS instant  payment (NIP) processing capacity of 22% of the industry.  To us at the CBN, not only is it imperative to protect the minority shareholders, that have no voice to air their views, also important, is the protection of the over 31m customers of the bank who see FBN as a safe haven for their hard-earned savings.

“The bank maintained healthy operations up until 2016 financial year when the CBN’s target examination revealed that the bank was in grave financial condition with its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) and non-performing loans ratio (NPL) substantially  breaching acceptable  prudential standards. 

“The problems at the bank were attributed to bad credit decisions, significant and non-performing insider loans and poor corporate governance practices. The shareholders of the bank and FBN Holding Plc also lacked the capacity to recapitalize the bank to minimum requirements. This conclusions arose from various entreaties by the CBN to them to recapitalize.

“The CBN stepped in to stabilize the bank in its quest to maintain financial stability, especially given FBN’s systemic importance as enumerated earlier. Regulatory action taken by the CBN in this regard included:

  1. Change of management team under the CBN’s supervision with the appointment of a new Managing Director/ Chief Executive Office in January 2016.
  1. Grant of the regulatory forbearances to enable the bank work out its non-performing loans through provision for write off of at least N150b from its earning for four consecutive years.
  1. Grant of concession to insider borrower to restructure their non-performing credit facilities under very stringent conditions
  1. Renewal of the forbearances on a yearly basis between 2016 and 2020 following thorough monitoring of progress towards exiting from the forbearance measures

“The measures had yielded the expected results as the financial condition of FBN improved progressively between 2016 when the forbearance was initially granted to the current financial year. For instance, profitability, liquidity and CAR improved whilst NPL reduced significantly.

“Notwithstanding the significant improvement in the bank’s financial condition with positive trajectory of financial soundness indicators, the insider related facilities remained problematic.

“The insiders who took loans in the bank, with controlling influence on the board of directors, failed to adhere to the terms for the restructuring of their credit facilities which contributed to the poor financial state of the bank. The CBN’s recent target examination as at December 31, 2020 revealed that insider loans were materially non-compliant with restructure terms (e.g. non perfection of lien on shares/collateral arrangements) for over 3 years despite several regulatory reminders.  The bank has not also divested its non-permissible holdings in non-financial entities in line with regulatory directives

 “Following further review of the situation and in order to preserve stability of the bank, so as to protect minority shareholders and depositors, the Management of the CBN in line with its powers under BOFIA 2020 has approved and hereby directs:

  • Immediate removal of the all directors of FBN Ltd and FBN Holdings Plc
  • The appointment of the following persons as directors in FBN Ltd and FBN Holdings Plc

Holdco

  1. Chairman – Remi Babalola
  2. Dr. Fatade Abiodun Oluwole
  3. Kofo Dosekun
  4. Remi Lasaki
  5. Dr Alimi Abdulrasaq
  6. Ahmed Modibbo
  7. Khalifa Imam
  8. Sir Peter Aliogo
  9. UK Eke – Managing Director

Bank

  •    Chairman – Tunde Hassan-Odukale
  •    Tokunbo Martins
  •     Uche Nwokedi
  •     Adekunle Sonola
  •     Isioma Ogodazi
  •     Ebenezer Olufowose
  •     Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo
  •     Sola Adeduntan – Managing Director
  •       Gbenga Shobo – Deputy Managing Director
  •     Remi Oni – Executive Director
  •     Abdullahi Ibrahim – Executive Director

“The CBN hereby reassures the depositors, creditors and other stakeholders of the bank of its commitment to ensure the stability of the financial system. There is therefore no cause for panic amongst the banking public, given that the actions being taken are meant to strengthen the bank and position it as a banking industry giant.,” Emefiele ended his speech.

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IFC and Nigeria’s LAPO Partner to Expand Microfinance Lending in Sub-Saharan Africa

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IFC and Nigeria’s LAPO Partner to Expand Microfinance Lending in Sub-Saharan Africa, SiliconNigeria

To help expand banking services to low-income populations in sub-Saharan Africa, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) today announced a partnership with the Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), which is seeking to expand its microfinance business to some of the continent’s less developed economies and fragile states. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.

Under the partnership, IFC will conduct market analysis of several African countries, including fragile states, and provide advisory support to LAPO to help it expand its microfinance business beyond Nigeria and Sierra Leone, where it currently operates with more than 495 branches, serving over 800,000 customers.

LAPO’s planned microfinance expansion will help boost financial inclusion and increase lending to individuals and micro and small businesses in the region, stimulating economic activity. The expansion will specifically target women borrowers, low-income earners, and those in rural areas.

“Through IFC’s advisory support, we will expand our capacity to build greater financial inclusion among a rural, low-income client base in sub-Saharan Africa. IFC’s advisory will also help us deepen our efforts to reach more women-owned micro enterprises, which currently represent about 70 percent of clients in our existing microfinance operations,” Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LAPO said.

“IFC’s support to LAPO is part of our commitment to strengthen economic development in sub-Saharan Africa, support micro enterprises, and reduce poverty,” said Kevin Njiraini, IFC’s Regional Director, Southern Africa and Nigeria. “This project marks a significant milestone in the development of microfinance in Africa, particularly as countries continue to suffer the severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”   

“LAPO’s existing microfinance businesses target women and the financially excluded. IFC’s support to LAPO will extend to more women in the region and contribute to the development of economic opportunities,” said Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, IFC’s Director for Transaction Advisory Services.

Supporting financial inclusion is an important part of IFC’s strategy in Africa to boost private sector growth and job creation. Individuals and businesses, in fragile and conflict-affected situations especially, struggle to access loans and other banking services because of underdeveloped domestic financial sectors.

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