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Heritage Bank Plc, ­­­­­­­­Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider, has successfully attained recertification of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) version 3.2, having achieved the International Organisation for Standardisation ISO 27001:2013 recertification recently.

With its legacy of innovation, the recertification reaffirms the bank’s leading position in the payment card industry in Nigeria, as first to issue a transparent Mastercard debit card in Sub-Saharan Africa and pioneered the mPOS in response to the CBN Cash-less initiative.

A statement signed by the Divisional Head, Corporate Communications of the bank, Fela Ibidapo explained that the PCI DSS is a proprietary information security standard for organizations that process, store, transmit or access cardholder information for major debit, credit, prepaid, e-purse, ATM and POS cards. The standard’s framework originated from the five global payment brand programmes (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB) and was designed to increase cardholder data (CHD) controls to reduce credit card fraud. Any enterprise that falls within the scope of the standard must implement the standard and seek compliance.

The PCI DSS helps enterprises dramatically reduce credit card fraud and brings significant additional benefits, including increased bank/consumer credibility; reduced/optimised business impact and risk; and fewer breaches/increased security awareness.

Speaking on the award of the PCI DSS’ certification, MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo it was a strong indicator that Heritage Bank consistently has its customers’ interest at the core of its business operations, is committed to appropriately protect customers’ information as well as maintaining a safe and secure environment for customer transactions.

He noted that banking is a business of risks management, from assets to data, adding that it is fundamental that whatever a customer keeps in a bank is in safe custody. According to “We are a service company providing banking service, and we are the best in the class of security of our information systems. It means funds kept with us are safe. This award is a validation of our mission to promote high ethical standards, integrity, and good business practices,” Sekibo stated.

The certification is said to be in recognition of the bank’s commitment to effective and secured financial system which has conferred internationally-recognized standard on its operations. This will also enable Heritage Bank to protect the funds of its customers and frustrate efforts by fraudsters to access their information and assets.

Also, the ISO 27001: 2013 recertification attained recently is part of the ISO 27000 family of standards which helps organisations keep information assets secure. The certification was achieved on the heels of the bank’s drive to revolutionalise the banking sector digital experience with Octopus, by putting in place a systematic approach to managing sensitive organisational information, ensuring it remains seamless, secure and available. The Octopus platform enables small businesses to key into electronic payment system easily, efficient collections, social integration, retention strategy, bills payment, mobile virtual top-up, funds transfer, balance enquiry, movie show time, news.

BUSINESS

Senate Orders CBN To Suspend ATM Card Maintenance Charges, ATM’s To Dispense N40,000

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to look into the suspension of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) maintenance and withdrawal charges by banks.

This was after a motion on “illicit and excessive charges by Nigerian banks in customers’ accounts” was raised by Senator Gbenga Ashafa during the plenary session on Wednesday.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion, saying: “The ATM charge is not the only charge we get from the bank, there are VAT charges and so on; this is unacceptable. We have the Customer Protection Agency in Nigeria, but they are not living up to expectations.”

The issue generated much debate on the floor of the Senate and after much deliberations, a few resolutions were made.

The Senate directed the committees on banking insurance and other financial institutions and finance to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate.

It also mandated the committees on banking, insurance and other financial institutions and finance to invite the CBN Governor to appear before the body in order to explain why the official charges as approved by the CBN are skewed in favour of the banking institutions as against the ordinary customers of the banks.

The lawmakers urged CBN to suspend the ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers accounts, just as they called on the CBN to instruct the commercial banks to configure their machines to extend to N40,000 per withdrawal, pending the outcome of the investigation by the committees.

The Consumer Protection Council was called upon to be up and doing in taking up the plight of ordinary Nigerians by looking into the various complaints of excess and unnecessary charges by Nigerian banks.

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Reasons To Bank With Zenith Bank [VIDEO]

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BUSINESS

UBA Shows Resilience As Gross Earnings Hit N375billion, With Group Profit Of N79billion

Gbemileke Ajayi

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United Bank for Africa Plc, the pan African financial institution with presence in 20 African countries has announced its unaudited 2018 Third Quarter Financial Results, with impressive growth in Gross Earnings, which berthed at N374.8 billion, an 12.3 percent increase when compared to N333.9 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.

According to the report filed to the Nigerian Stock Exchange(NSE) on Tuesday, UBA’s net operating improved 1.7 percent year-on-year to N227.7 billion, when compared to N224 billion achieved in the similar period of 2017.

Amidst inflationary pressures and uncertainties undermining the business environment in Nigeria and a few other countries in Africa, UBA’s operating expenses only increased by 2.3 percent to N149.1 billion, compared to N145 billion recorded in the same period of last year. The low cost profile can be better appreciated when put in the perspective of double digit inflation rate in Nigeria. Overall, the Bank posted a Profit Before Tax of N79.1 billion whilst Profit After Tax stood at N61.7 billion. This profit performance puts the Bank’s annualized return on average equity at 16% and 20% at pre-tax and post-tax profit level respectively.

The Bank continues to maintain a very strong balance sheet, with Total Assets of N4.51 trillion, an impressive 10.8 per cent year-to-date rise over the N4.07 trillion total asset recorded as at December 2017. Another strong indication of the growth of the Bank and more so, acceptance of the franchise across Africa is the remarkable 16.2 percent year-to-date growth in Customer Deposits, which grew to N3.18trillion, compared to N2.73 trillion as at December 2017. The shareholders’ fund remained very strong at N509.3 billion, even as the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 9, moderated the Group’s equity by 3.8% year-to-date.

Commenting on the result, the Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Kennedy Uzoka, said; “We achieved a number of strategic imperatives during the quarter and committed more investments in the future of the business – building a solid foundation for sustainable and superior return to our shareholders”

Uzoka said that he is pleased that the Bank’s Virtual Banking Chatbot, Leo, which debuted on Facebook earlier in the year, was successfully launched on WhatsApp during the quarter. “This new channel offering, which enables our customers to fulfil their banking transactions through simple chat commands, is another premier initiative in our suite. The early pay-offs are quite compelling – recent customer acquisitions and broader transaction volume growth are exciting leading indicators that reinforce our confidence in these novel channels,” he said.

“Our franchise is increasingly renowned for financial solution and I am happy with the consistent growth in our businesses across the continent. We have grown balance sheet by 11% year-to-date to over N4.5 trillion. Notwithstanding the statutory-induced cost growth, our earnings proved resilient, as we recorded nine-month profit before tax of N79 billion. Notwithstanding the macro-risk arising from upcoming elections in Nigeria, our single largest market, we are confident of finishing the year strong,” Uzoka concluded.

Also speaking on UBA’s financial performance and position, the Group CFO, Ugo Nwaghodoh said that despite the relative volatility in the third quarter of 2018, especially in the face of U.S. interest rate hikes and concerns over global trade war, which has disrupted the interest and exchange rate environment in many African countries, the bank remains on track to deliver its earnings target for the year.

He said “We remain committed to our five-year plan of working down CIR to 50%, which we consider to be a normalised medium-term CIR. Overall, we closed the third quarter with a post-tax RoAE of 16% and the Group remains well capitalized and liquid, as reflected in the Group’s capital adequacy of 21% and Bank’s liquidity ratio of 53%.”

UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. It also has presence in the global financial centres; London, New York and Paris. UBA provides banking services to more than 15 million customers globally, through diverse channels.

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