Eight Nigerian deposit money banks lost a total of N1.9 billion due to fraudulent incidents within a year, according to data from their annual reports.
Affected banks are Polaris Bank, Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank, Access Bank, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank, Wema Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc.
The Polaris bank was the biggest prey for fraudulent activity in the said period, losing a whopping N938.4 million. Zenith Bank, which came next, lost N360 million.
According to its annual report, Polaris registered a total of 134 fraud cases in 2020, covering seven categories of fraud, namely ATM fraud (43 cases), internet banking fraud (three cases), mobile fraud (46), identity fraud (three cases), control theft ( one case), outright theft (25 cases) and general fraud incidents (113).
The report also revealed that cases of fraud involving ATMs, internet banking, mobile phones and counterfeiting have cost the bank N830.1m, N37.7m, N16.2m and N989,700 respectively, while check theft resulted in a loss of N1m. Outright theft and general fraud incidents resulted in N21.8m and N30.4m losses respectively.
Zenith Bank’s fraud losses increased by 34.3 percent (N92 million) from N268 million registered in 2019 to N360m in 2020, while the number of fraud cases registered by Guaranty Trust Bank grew from 15,461 in 2019 to 17,310 last year and the cost of the fraud cases rose to N174.4m from N107.4m registered in 2019.
Access Bank lost a total of N138.1m in 2020, which is N197.1m lower than what it gained in the previous year. However, the number of fraud incidents at the bank rose from 5,836 cases in 2019 to 11,784 last year.
Sterling, Wema and Fidelity posted fraud losses of N132.23m, N105.4m and N22.2m respectively.
Closer analysis of the reports revealed that Sterling Bank’s total fraud losses grew from N109.5 million in 2019 to N132.23, while Fidelity Bank’s losses fell by N315.3 million in the reporting period.
Wema Bank registered 1,201 fraud cases, leading to a loss of N105.4m, consisting of Internet fraud (N93.9m) and operational and other types of fraud (N11.4m).
Union Bank lost N1.5m to fraud in 2020, which was N400,000 lower than the year before.
The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc had released the second edition of its ‘Fraud in the Nigerian financial services’ report in February 2021, which found that financial institutions lost N5 billion through fraudulent activities in the first nine months of 2020.
NIBSS said that in Nigeria’s banking sector, N203.4m was lost in 984 fraud attempts, while 3,163 attempts that could have resulted in a loss of N380.2m were rejected.