CBN Sets New Standard For Banks On Compliance

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According to reports, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all Deposit Money Banks in the country to appoint new Executive Compliance Officers (ECOs) who must not be below the level of an Executive Director.

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In a circular by the bank posted on its website,recently, the CBN also set a new qualification standard for the Banks in their appointment of people into the position of Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) in line with its decision to enhance minimum qualification for the position.

A Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) is a corporate official in charge of overseeing and managing compliance to regulatory requirements within an organisation, and that the company and its employees are complying with internal policies and procedures.

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“…DMBs are required to appoint not only a CCO who must not be below the rank of a General Manager regardless of the category of institution but also an Executive Compliance Officer (ECO) who should not be below the rank of an Executive Director,” the CBN said in a circular that was issued by its Director, financial policy and regulation department.

The aim is to ensure strict compliance with all extant regulations; particularly those relating to foreign exchange transactions, Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The CCO will report to the ECO while ECO will in turn report directory to the Board of Directors, the apex bank said.

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“The CBN will hold the Executive Compliance Officer responsible and accountable for any breach of any extant regulation in the DMBs,” the CBN said, adding: “for avoidance of doubt, the CBN shall suspend/dismiss any ECO and CCO found wanting in the discharge of his/her responsibility.”

According to the circular, the DMBs are required to forward the names of their ECOs and CCO together with their curriculum vitae to the CBN for approval on or before October 10, 2016.

The ECOs are however allowed to combine the responsibility with other functions while CCOs will focus ONLY on compliance matters in the bank, the apex bank added.

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Most banks in Nigeria have just CCOs who are often appointed not based on special or laid down laws by the whims and caprices of their board of directors.

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