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FNB protects customers against ATM card skimming

FNB protects customers against ATM card skimming
March 07
09:45 2018
  • Financials note muted growth and dampened credit demand because of Botswana’s climate of limited opportunities

 OAITSE MATHALA

 In the wake of a card skimming fraud in which massive amounts of money disappeared from the accounts of First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) customers, the bank says it is putting in place interventions that will minimise customer risks of ATM card skimming.

There were reports in January that card skimming devices had been inserted in ATMs at malls around Gaborone. FNB customers were warned by random messages circulating on social media to avoid using ATMs at the said locations.

Answering a question after the announcement of the bank’s unaudited financial results for the six months ended 31 December 2017, CEO Steven Bogatsu said there was a syndicate was going around placing card skimming devices in ATM machines.

Describing them as “highly sophisticated,” Bogatrsu said the devices were able to read payment information in the cards, including pin numbers. “We are putting in place interventions that will minimise these customer risks,” he emphasised.

Bogatsu noted that FNB was not the only bank affected by this. “This was an industry-wide issue and the Bankers Association of Botswana released a statement (regarding) this issue.”

He noted that all affected FNB customers were refunded.

Meanwhile, FNB’s Chief Financial Officer, Dibakwane Macau, has spoken of muted growth because the bank was operating in an environment of limited opportunities. Delivering the financial results for the period under review, Macau noted: “It has been such a tough environment we have been operating in, so we had squeezed margins.”

Even so, the bank was able to grow its deposits and redeployed them efficiently. “The deposit mix is a well-diversified portfolio,” Macau said. Although advances growth fell slightly below the market rate, FNB still held the largest market share of advances at 30%.

“Growth of 10% was achieved in retail advances, mainly through employer schemes, while muted demand for business credit of the right risk profile subdued the overall advances growth,” FNB explained in a statement. “There have, however, been recent signs of improved business confidence for 2018.”

“Notwithstanding the reduced growth in advances, the bank posted overall balance sheet growth of 6.7% from P22.4 billion to P23.9 billion on the back of growth in our retail and business deposit base, particularly in current accounts, which strengthens the bank’s customer base.”

FNB believes that it is in a very strong financial position. It notes that it is kept on the forefront of the market by its constant improvements in electronic offerings. “Deeper understanding of our customers’ needs should convert into improved service levels,” the statement concluded.

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