Some commercial banks refunded about N3.01 billion and $1.724 million to customers that lodged complaints over excess/unauthorised charges, fraud cases, dispense errors and fund transfers, Financial Stability Report of the Central Bank of Nigeria, revealed.
The report, which was released on November 17, 2019, also disclosed that the total claims made by the customers amounted to N7.995 billion and $1.767 million but a total refund stood at N3.093 billion and $1.724. A total of 1,496 complaints were successfully resolved by the end of second half of 2018 as against the 4,723 complaints in the first half of 2018.
According to FSR, the number of complaints received increased by 173 or 12% when compared to the 1,439 received in the first half of 2018. The second half of 2018 had 1,612 complaints of which 99.38% were against commercial banks, while 10 complaints or 0.62% were against Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).
Details: The reported cases of fraud and forgeries by banks increased to 25,029 at the end of December 2018, from 20, 774 at end of June 2018, while cyber attacks dropped to N18.94 billion at the end of December 2018, from N19.77 billion by the end of June 2018.
The Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and mobile money channels recorded the highest incidences of fraud. In order to tackle this trend, bank customers were continually sensitized on safe banking practices while banks were encouraged to implement strong authentication controls and carry out comprehensive infrastructure risk assessments.
FBI warns …
FSR also disclosed that the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning to banks on a new type of fraud known as the ATM Fraud or ATM Cloned Card fraud.
What it means: It involves hackers accessing bank systems or payment card processors and altering data in order to withdraw large sums of cash within a short period.
High profile victims
By the end-December 2018, various cyber-attacks had been carried out on high profile entities like the Central Bank of Bahamas, Marriot Hotels, Google plus, Arik Air, British Airways and UK NHIS. This led to the loss of customers’ private information, revealing the vulnerability of all classes of organizations.
CBN moves in
To curb the incidence of attacks in the financial system, the apex bank released cybersecurity framework and guidelines for banks and payment service providers.
The framework stipulates, amongst other requirements, the establishment of Cyber-Threat Intelligence (CTI) programmes to proactively identify, assess and mitigate potential cyber-threats and the appointment of a “Chief Information Security Officer” (CISO) to oversee and implement a bank’s cyber-security programme.
In line with good practice, the Bank also appointed a Chief Information Security Officer to oversee its Cyber-security programme.
Operational costs of banks increased at end-December 2018, reflecting increased fuel expenses as well as the 14 per cent hike in electricity tariffs
Back story: Nairametrics had reported that the apex bank had directed financial institutions to resolve customers’ complaints in 72 hours.
Fund Transfer and card related issues: The Central Bank, in a series of tweets educated bank customers on the procedures to lodge their complaints when faced with card-related and fund transfer issues.
Excess charges: Also, CBN informed bank customers to contact the central after a complaint has been tabled to their respective banks on excess bank charges. The tweet reads:
Bank account management: On the case of bank account management, the Central Bank noted that 14 days ultimatum shall apply, after which the customers can contact the apex bank through emails.
Consumer complaint tracking number: Furthermore, the Central Bank accentuated the need for bank account holders to lodge complaints to the apex bank to enable them to do a follow-up. Customer, after lodging complaints, must insist on getting the Consumer Complaint Management System (CCMS) tracking number from the banks.
Why this matters: It means that there is security on the finances of account holders, and the fear of irregular and excess charges from the deposit money banks can be reduced to the barest minimum.
This move made by the Central Bank has been lauded by many people, who stated that the commercial banks’ regulator is on the road to instilling regularities and transparency in the financial services sector.