The Nigeria Banking Services User’s Handbook
To address this, The Nigeria Banking Services User’s Handbook written by Rose Umoren is the product of decades of research and insight. The handbook spans some 400 pages apportioned into fifteen chapters, with requisite references, diagrams and other illustrations.
Banking services – whether offered by traditional banks or other institutions - are increasingly at the heart of living in this physical realm. The more formal life gets and integrated the world becomes, the fewer there remain opportunities – private, social, political or business - independent of banking.
Besides the long obligatory foreign transactions, many local things which in the recent past could be paid for directly, now have their payments routed through banks and other institutions offering banking services. Such include school fees, sports and airline tickets, medical bills, taxes and other levies, subscriptions, and third party contractual payments. The proverbial money under the mattress or buried under the ground is becoming less and less an option.
In effect, banking – performed by both traditional and non-traditional banking institutions – is becoming equivalent to money. Facilitating this progression is the proliferation of banking services providers (BSPs) – archetypal banks and allied institutions, and non-allied institutions, including courier companies, supermarket chains and other retailers, transport agencies/companies — even in hitherto foreboding rural nooks and crannies. At the same time, as regulators concede, banking is becoming more complex, due largely to rapid technological advances.
The knowledge of banking, however, remains largely restricted to its few practitioners, to the great disadvantage of the paying public. Yet, a customer equipped with knowledge stands to have the best of deals – in credit, deposit, transfer payments or whatever transaction.
This book is an attempt to extend the frontier of this imperative banking knowledge. In view of the convergence of financial services and the fact that even non-financial institutions increasingly offer banking services, with global regulatory recognition, this book uses the term banking services providers (BSPs) to refer to all purveyors of those services and banking services users (BSUs) for customers.
The book is primarily meant for the Nigeria banking services user (BSU), Nigerian or foreign, but it is globally located in cognisance of the fact that banking is really not jurisdiction-specific in principles or application.
Thus, while processes examples are mostly Nigeria-derived, they are globally situated, as are all other aspects of the book. Those aspects range from regulation and supervision including the new Basel II risk assessment framework and the forty recommendations on money laundering and terrorist financing of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to forbidden transactions and future trends such as regarding electronic banking, credit syndication and overall products/services demand and delivery vehicles. Indeed, where relevant, most non-processes examples are global.
The book takes the perspective that banking transactions, especially lifestyle and electronic products/services, are very challenging to all parties – BSPs, regulators and, of course, BSUs. This applies even in the most advanced banking jurisdictions, such as the United States, Japan and the European Union; but particularly so to BSUs in the Nigerian jurisdiction. This is for two basic reasons. One is that banking did not begin organically in Nigeria. It began to meet colonial needs and has retained this elitist nature.
Consequently, most Nigerians have little clue about the transactions they are forced to make as banking becomes increasingly imperative, with even local medical bills having to be settled through BSPs. The other basic reason is that the industry’s underdevelopment, occasioned by several years of economic and political crises, have caused misalignment with international practices, which renders it difficult to navigate by nationals – corporate and individual – of developed banking jurisdictions operating in Nigeria.
The book’s 15 chapters make for a cohesive and compelling analysis. On the whole, after some two decades of stagnation, the Nigerian banking industry faces a resurgent future full of exciting opportunities. The BSU looks set to be spoilt for choice in delivery channels – ATMs, internet, etc, products/services, credit and other cards, private banking, among others, and financing mechanisms including lifestyle or consumer loans. Yet, in these exciting opportunities could lie bankruptcy and lifelong regrets. So, just as the exciting opportunities are detailed, the dark side of especially consumer credit is explained in chapter fourteen – The future.
About Rose Umoren
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