Nigerian banks have not shown much eagerness to speed up the requirements of the Central Bank of Nigeria on cheque truncation, one of the fundamentals for a successful cashless policy which includes signing on cheque truncating applications.
The current cheque truncation regime is planned to reduce the cheque clearing cycle from T+2 to T+1. Cheque truncation is one of the instruments necessary for the actualisation of the cashless regime and it is just being implemented in Nigeria, in accordance with the Central Bank’s policy. Recently, Nigeria InterBank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) and Nigeria’s leading financial services software provider, Precise Financial Systems, PFS, collaborated with the Central Bank to achieve the cheque truncation exercise across the 37 branches of the Central Bank in states capital in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
According to the firm, as of today, only a few of the banks including Sterling Bank, FCMB, Access Bank and Mainstreet Bank have demonstrated this readiness when they recently signed on iTeller, an indigenous cheque truncation application.
The iTeller application is a suite of integrated solutions that comprises Automated Teller Machine (ATM) based self-service cheque lodgement, cash lodgement/withdrawal and cashier’s desktop transport cheque scanning system for a state-of-the-art and an end-to-end branch level cheque truncation capability as well as a slip-free banking experience. The iTeller application is presently a T+0 ready system with an ultra violet cheque scanning ready solution.
In a statement signed by Yele Okeremi, Managing Director, PFS, the company running the iTeller application, the platform provides an optimal mix of both hardware and software for capturing, through in-built scanner and processing of cheques presented by customers for lodgement while the design concept ensures a proper handshaking with the bank’s core banking application.
“The cheque truncation is already on. The latest and most remarkable achievement is the signing on of iTeller by the Central Bank, the regulatory agency behind the cheque truncation policy. Coming on the heels of that is the signing on of Sterling Bank, FCMB, Access Bank and Mainstreet Bank”, he said, adding that iTeller runs a simple model for cheque truncation processes and challenges the status quo.
According to him, with iTeller, banks now have access to the full compliments of its functionality, which include auto email alerts for back-office processing of remote cheque lodgement at ATM by customers.
“iTeller’s cheque truncation design makes it very flexible for any of these banks to decide whether to truncate its cheques at the branch level or cluster level. Any of the truncation models comes ready with a central processing centre that enables a bank to perform its central clearing cheque processing functions for both outwards and inward cheques”, he said.
He added that the application would give the banks the cutting edge in the industry, as they now have what it is required to implement cheque truncation as prescribed by the Central Bank, which is to reduce the cheque clearing cycle from T+2 to T+1.
According to him, the application was built to accommodate current industry practices while incorporating other foresights into future trends that would soon unfold in the industry.
iTeller has been in development for the past eight years, according to the firm. Some of its features include branch-level cheque clearing, auto-generation of receipts at terminal point, auto-generation of capture file, accounting entries generation and posting, auto-generation of caution notices. Others are cheque images repository that would enable the banks to service their customers with respective cheque albums. the application provides an optimal mix of both hardware and software for capturing, through in-built scanner and processing of cheques presented by customers for lodgement. The design concept ensures a proper handshaking with the bank’s core banking application.
The application offers flexibility in features and ease of usage, effectively meeting the banks’ requirement for customer service delivery, core banking double-entry postings, cheque-clearing processing and management information provisions.
The management of the firm said the company commenced the designing of the application at that time because it had foreseen that the prevailing situation today would in the medium term, become a reality.
With the dateline of June 2013 for all banks to become truncation compliant and ready, most of the banks are still in the process of selecting their service providers, according to industry watchers.
According to them, it is expedient for the banks to acquire good platforms and applications to enable hitch free cheque truncation processes.