Access Bank advocates collaborative efforts against cybercrimes


The Group Managing Director/CEO Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, on Thursday called on banks to fight fraud through active collaboration, stressing that improved usage of digital banking exposes lenders to cybercriminals.

Speaking at the 2017 Anti-Fraud Week hosted by Access Bank in Lagos, Wigwe said cybercriminals will continue to target banks, but advised lenders to ensure the fraudsters fail every time they try.

Wigwe, who was represented by the bank’s Executive Director, Personal Banking, Victor Etuokwu, said financial fraud was as old as mankind.

“As some people tend to do well, others are motivated to do evil. In the world of today, there are people that fight financial crimes and others that commit financial crimes,” he said.

The Access Bank boss said the advancement in technology helps lenders into new markets and understanding of their business better.

He said digital banking is also creating new opportunities for fraudsters.

“In Access Bank, our sales mantra is Speed, Service and Security. There is need for stakeholders to inaugurate appropriate laws to secure online transactions. Fraudsters dedicate their time and resources to discover imperfection in the banking system,” he said.

Head, Information System Security & Fraud Management at Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS), Olufemi Fadero, defined digital banking as the moving online of all the traditional banking activities and programs that historically were only available to customers when physically inside of a bank branch.

He said that digital banking has changed everyday life for consumers – dramatically altering the way they transact businesses.

According to him, while digital banking has forever transformed the way people bank, it is also increasingly creating new opportunities for fraudsters. “Due to the speed and ease of digital banking, more frauds are perpetrated effortlessly. Ongoing migration of the banks to faster payment mechanisms is a definite magnet for fraud. Online channels help criminals remain hidden and anonymous,” he said.

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Fadero said that financial losses affect customers’ trust. “Joint efforts are most effective in curbing fraud not just in digital banking but fraud in general. Collaborations fosters proactive measures which are instrumental in tackling fraud. Information shared will aid in the reduction of payment transactions fraud,” he said.

Continuing, he said: “Cooperation between relevant stakeholders is a key element necessary to effectively identify and counter cybercrime”.

He said that fraud trend shows drop despite increase in transactions amount and count at the point financial institutions began to join efforts to tackle fraud. It is highly anticipated that heightened collaborations would mean further reductions in fraud.

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director, Payment Systems Department, ‘Dipo Fatokun, said apex bank recognises the need to harness expertise and consult broadly across the banking industry, payments services organisations, ICT sector, law enforcement to effectively combat electronic frauds.