The Banker’s Fortress

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Author:        Adebisi Abiodun

Publisher:    Megasynergy Nigeria Ltd

Reviewer:    Goke Ilesanmi

It is indeed indisputable that fraud is very prevalent in our society today. It is particularly worrisome that banks that are naturally supposed to be a beacon of financial transparency and trust are not exempted from this malaise. There is therefore the urgent need for a relentless campaign against this menace in our society, especially in the banks because of their importance to economic development.

The desire to draw attention to the pervasive menace of fraud in our banks has prompted the choice of this book entitled “The Banker’s Fortress” for review this week.

It is written by Adebisi Abiodun, a Canada-based Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Forensic Accountant, Certified Professional Accountant and Certified General Accountant. He is currently a Faculty member with Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Canada.

Abiodun, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), with specialisation in Marketing, from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

According to this Certified Fraud Examiner, publication of this text became necessary, given the frequency of (attempted) fraud in the banking industry and the fact that knowledge of this aspect of banking has not been properly developed in proportion to the rate of fraud increase in the industry, particularly after the last bank consolidation.

The book is divided into five sections of 15 chapters. Section A has the overall thematic focus of “Fraud, prevention and detection” and contains the first two chapters. Chapter one is entitled “Fraud”.

In the words of this Certified Forensic Accountant here, “Fraud has been in existence from the beginning of creation. From biblical account, it started in the Garden of Eden, where the serpent deceived Eve, resulting in the fall of man… The reality is that fraud can happen anywhere….” The Certified Professional Accountant emphasises that the risks of fraud may only continue to increase as we experience stronger globalisation, more competitive markets among other things.

Abiodun says fraud can originate from within or outside a bank. In the words of this Chartered Accountant, “From within, the staff involved may use their position as an avenue to steal from the bank’s assets or customers’ accounts. However, when fraud originates from outside, the fraudsters simply use a bank as conduit.”

Chapter two conceptually examines the subject matter of fraud prevention and detection. Here, this author explains that based on the earlier discussion regarding why people commit fraud, it is very clear that one of the most effective ways to deal with the menace of fraud is to adopt methods that will reduce the motive, restrict the opportunity and limit the ability for potential fraudsters to justify their condemnable actions.

Section B has the generic theme of “Customer service activities” and covers four chapters, that is, chapters three to seven. Chapter three is based on managing customer information. The author educates that the aspect of customer information management is that based on the relationship between the customer and the bank.

This Associate member of the CIBN explains that there are rules expected to be observed and the moment these rules are not properly applied, any future issue on such an account may lead to a great loss to the bank. He says it is the aspect that ensures that information indicated by the customer is correct or verifiable, in addition to being in compliance with the entire statutory, regulatory and organisational requirements.

In chapters four to seven, Abiodun examines the concepts of deposits and withdrawal administration; clearing activities; bank guaranteed cheques and local fund transfer.

Section C is summarily woven together as “Creation of risk assets” and contains chapters eight and nine. Here, this author discusses risk assets and facility processing.

Section D has the general subject matter of acceptable collateral and covers five chapters, that is, chapters 10 to 14. Chapter 10 is christened “Land”. This Certified Fraud Examiner says land is the most important and most acceptable form of security to banks.

In his words, “In law, land comprises the earth surface, everything above and below it, in as much as such things are physically attached to the land. Hence, land in this context may be of developed and undeveloped nature. The property right over land can be in two forms.”

In chapters 11 to 14, the author examines concepts such as stocks and shares; guaranteed and indemnities; life assurance policy; and miscellaneous securities.

Section E, the last section is summarily labelled “Bad debt management” and contains just one chapter, that is, chapter 15 entitled “Debt management”.

As regards the depth and quality of contents, this book scores an outstanding pass mark. This is especially so because the ideas are highly didactic and brilliantly articulated.

On style, this text is exceptional. Abiodun shows that he was once a lecturer with his simplicity of language in addition to depth of research. He uses a legendary quote, classical allusion or biblical allusion at the beginning of every chapter as a prelude to the conceptual focus. Abiodun also uses detailed illustrations to enhance the understanding of readers.

This Certified Fraud Examiner also aligns with the academic culture by including rich references and index at the end of the text in addition to inclusion of legislation and cases. Another thing worthy of note is the attractiveness of the cover design and its visual communication which reinforces the book title. The layout of the inside pages is also aesthetically creative.

However, the uncountable noun “Collateral”, which has the lexicographical symbol of “U” (that is, “Uncountable”) against it in the dictionary, is wrongly used in a countable form on page 217. Another error found in the book is a common error in Nigerian English, that is, “…was yet to…” (page vi), instead of the Standard British English version “…had yet to…” Confirm this from pages 913 and 1918 of the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 2005 edition, please.

Generally, this book is conceptually deep and educative. It is a book that operators in the financial services industry, especially bankers must read and put to practice.

GOKE ILESANMI (FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425

Email: gokeiles2010@gmail.com

Website: www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng