The sustainability of the banking industry may have been hinged on strict adherence to compliance principles in line with the global best practices.
The Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Jibril Aku, who made the observation, explained that every activity in banking operations have a link to compliance principles because there are set standards, which represent international best practice.
Aku, while declaring open the September 2015 general meeting of the Committee of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria (CCCOBIN), said the next level for the compliance officers is to seek collaboration and cooperation with other industry committees.
The bank chief said that given recent global events with respects to terrorism financing and money laundering, there was need to constantly seek ways to strengthen compliance.
The compliance, which starts with adherence to local laws, would also include evolving technologies that would enable access to information within the industry, as well as mitigating non-compliane transactions.
“Clearly, as compliance continues to evolve, there is still a long way to go in seeking to align the interests of all stakeholders in the collaborative development and evolution of international best practice in compliance in Nigeria.
“The CCCOBIN is in a position to take the lead in Africa in ensuring that banks operate under strong compliance rules in order to ensure the survival of the industry. Globally, various industries are trying to instill a strong risk culture in their businesses.
“While some firms are focused on assessing whether they have any reason to be concerned about the culture across their business, others have moved into the phase of correcting or reinforcing the culture.
“One of the key issues highlighted is the need for a complete organizational risk acculturation across all segments which will undoubtedly enhance the compliance culture. Collaboration with all other key risk functions in the Nigerian banking industry should therefore be a focus for CCCOBIN,” Aku said.
According to him, CCCOBIN is in a position to take the leadership role in Africa, ensuring compliance with risk culture in business and where necessary, correct and re-enforce the culture.
Recognizing that decisions are made daily and every activity, Aku charged compliance chiefs to ensure that operations balance costs, investor expectations, depositor’s interests and social responsibilities.
He also charged the group to influence regulation and policies in a positive direction, as well as using its revered institute to advance professionalism and deepening of knowledge in compliance standards.
“Banks are set up to create value for their investors. CCOs must therefore balance the interests of the shareholder/investor with the high level of compliance expectation from regulators and depositors of banks.
“Again the value of collaboration and engagement cannot be underestimated. Compliance should be an integral part of boardroom discussions on strategy and risk management. Directors and Executive Management of banks must, through the Compliance Units, be well aware of the myriad of laws and regulations to which banks are subject and appreciate the intrinsic value contributions of the Compliance unit,” he added.