Bankers’ Committee tackles cyber risks as fraud statistics hit N18.94b

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The Bankers’ Committee led by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) aims to to reduce rising fraudulent activity and its gains which stood at N18.94 billion in the past six months.

Speaking at the weekend at the 2019 Bankers’ Committee retreat in Ogere, Ogun State, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele urged banks to invest in technology to tackle fraud and reduce revenue losses to fraudsters.

According to the CBN, reported cases of fraud and forgeries by banks increased to 25,029 at end of December 2018, from 20,774 at the end of June 2018.  But the total amount involved decreased to N18.94 billion at the end of December 2018, from N19.77 billion at the end of June 2018.

Emefiele said: “I am saying the banks have so far been able to have a firm grasp of the risk associated with their business, whether it is credit risk or operational risks, just to be very direct. Cyber risk is growing in different parts of the world and banks, CBN, government and everybody need to do something about it. Banks were advised to do more in their management and control of cyber risks.”

The CBN governor advised banks to invest more money in tools, such as soft or hardware, to help them in containing cyber risks in their operational environment.

He said the CBN had been issuing guidelines and frameworks on how the banks can combat cyber risks and how the industry and the country can combat cyberattacks.

“We need to prepare so that when they strike, we are able to withstand the shock and we are able to discover it early enough for the banks not to lose money or for depositors’ funds not to be lost by a bank,” Emefiele said.

The CBN governor spoke on the theme: Delivering Inclusive Growth: Leveraging Digital Finance.  He said the topic came when efforts were being made by the monetary and fiscal authorities to structurally rebalance and diversify the Nigerian economy.

This, the CBN governor noted, can be achieved by leveraging digital finance tools in supporting growth across key sectors of the economy, including agriculture, manufacturing and the creative industries.

CBN data also showed that actual losses declined to N2.21 billion at the end of December 2018, from N12.10 billion in the first half of 2018.  Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and mobile channels recorded the highest level of fraud.

To tackle the trend, bank customers were continually sensitised on safe banking practices while banks were encouraged to implement strong authentication controls and carry out comprehensive infrastructure risk assessments.

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