Regulatory Agencies, Banks should Sensitise Customers to Embrace e-banking - Expert
The transition of banking activities from fiduciary to electronic platform, and a projection that more than 80% of the all banking transactions would be electronically conducted in the next 50 years has made customers to crave an understanding of the electronic banking environment.
Guest Speaker at the recent Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Banking and Finance, Covenant University, Barrister Chimezie Onwudiwe, while speaking on the theme “Legal Perspective of Electronic Banking in Nigeria: An Overview” said the level of electronic banking that has already flooded the modern banking and commercial world is aggressively pushing cash and paper banking into the pothole of history, with customers eager to know how much the system can secure and guarantee their funds.
According Onwudiwe, who is also the Managing Partner, Harvad Law Firm, even as at today, it will not be out of the ordinary to assert that electronic devices are gradually becoming indispensable part of our everyday existence, and survival will be based solely on how ready and willing a particular country, group or individuals are to adapt to the e-movement reality.
Barrister Onwudiwe noted that electronic banking, as currently situated, is rigged with complexities and difficulties in view of the fact that the risks of the modern technology are unforeseeable and some are unavoidable.
He stated that there is a paradigm shift in the general contractual terms and conditions. “The use of ICT in banking business has added more duties, like informing customers about foreseeable system failures, interruptions by scheduled maintenance services and the current practice where nearly all banks operating electronic banking transfer the risk to customer by a combined use of general terms and condition,” he added.
The guest speaker highlighted some of the commonly encountered legal questions in electronic banking transactions in Nigeria. Some of these issues include, what should be considered as electronic signature? What constitutes electronic signature? Is electronic signature valid and legally admissible in Nigeria? Who is responsible for mis-documentation of electronic funds and who bears liability for unauthorized transactions?
He called on regulatory agencies and tertiary institutions to embark on serious consumer education, introduced clear channels of dispute resolution mechanism, incorporation of international law and best practice in the banking sector, enact specific legislation on electronic banking and introduction of electronic banking as a separate course in schools.
In his welcome remark, the Head, Department of Banking and Finance, Dr. Kehinde Adetiloye, told participants that the nation’s economy has a large volume of cash in circulation. He noted that since the introduction of the cashless policy in 2012, most Nigerians are skeptical and feel insecure to embrace this policy, and it will take an understanding of the legal aspect of electronic banking for the perceived lukewarm attitude to be reversed.