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OSIBODU TASKS COMPLIANCE OFFICERS ON INT'L STANDARDS

By NBF News

By BABAJIDE  KOMOLAFE
COMMITTEE of  Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria (CCCOBIN) has been advised to adhere to International Standards as they grapple with new challenges of a cashless economy, anti-money laundering and countering financing terrorism in order to change the negative perception of Nigeria in the global financial market.

The Group Managing Director /Chief Executive of Union Bank of Nigeria PLC, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, made this call in Lagos while addressing members of the Committee at a general meeting hosted by the bank.

Osibodu said that the negative perception and threat to blacklist Nigeria in the global financial market stemmed from non-adherence to anti-money laundering and countering financing terrorism laws; and for the country to change the perception, the compliance function in different banks need to be enhanced and made more stringent even as they participate in the international AML/CFT programmes so as to appreciate the country's stance against money laundering.

On the cashless policy, Osibodu canvassed for shared experience and robust discussions amongst all stakeholders would help to tackle issues emerging from the new policy; pointing out the tremendous progress made in the electronic  banking products, mobile banking and prepaid cards.

She averred that cashless policy would bring both positive and negative effect on money laundering, financing terrorism and other forms of financial crimes but stressed that the positive impact would far outweigh the negatives.

While positing that the cashless policy has come to change the face and mode of operations in Nigeria and no one can claim to be an overall expert, Osibodu believed that sharing of experiences would go a long way in helping the citizens derive the benefits of policy.

The advent of the cashless economy, she argued, would frustrate some illegal activities used by money launderers and terrorists to generate revenue that is difficult to track in the financial system.

And given that legitimate businesses are also used by the terrorist groups and their supporters to either raise funds in support of logistics and operational requirements to cover some activities of the groups or as a front for money laundering, the Commi-ttee, she said, should develop the sensitivity and tools that can be in focusing on these areas.

To this end, she emphasized that customer due diligence should remain the bedrock of an effective AML/CFT programme for any financial institution; adding that banks must ensure that they really know their customers especially now that these customers do not have to approach the bank premises before conducting their business.

She further advocated increase collaboration amongst banks in the area of information sharing on the fraud attempts, successful or not and how to deal with them, stressing that in so doing, the financial system would be safer.