As African banks strive to meet regulatory demands of the global financial market, First Bank of Nigeria (FirstBank) is staying ahead of the pack using a world-class risk management solution from SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services and the largest independent vendor in business intelligence market.
The bank states that the acquisition is mainly to comply with global compliance trends and regulations, such as Basel II, and to help manage its risk effectively while creating transparency and control within its data. SAS will be assisted by its local partner, Resourcery PLC Nigeria, in deploying the analytics-based regulatory risk solution in the bank.
FirstBank selected the full risk management suite from SAS, which is currently used by a large number of the world's banks for their own risk efforts.
"By adopting a full risk management suite from SAS we are reinforcing transparency in our business and mitigating compliance and regulatory risks," said Bisi Onasanya, FirstBank's Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. "It is important for us to lead the African continent in terms of complying with global standards, and being seen as a bank that takes its business seriously."
The SAS software adopted by FirstBank includes: SAS Banking Intelligence Architecture, SAS Credit Risk Management for Banking, SAS OpRisk Management, and the SAS market risk solution. This comprehensive software suite will effectively assist FirstBank to manage Basel II, SOX and a number of international regulatory standards for reporting, as well as day-to-day operational risks, while fully aligning with international benchmarks.
The adoption of analytics will help the bank retain its leadership position within the global financial services market and also provide a better view of potential risks to the bank's business.
"The implementation of the project has gone off without a hitch," said Tani Fafunwa, Managing Director of Resourcery PLC Nigeria. "The depth of our working relationship and joint understanding of each others' businesses has helped us to deliver the project successfully and on time."
"The major challenges banks face today is managing their risk assets, and in the current financial climate, banks are looking for innovative, world class applications to manage their risk exposure," said Edward Sungura, Regional Director Sub Saharan Africa at SAS. "Many banks have either gone bankrupt or have had to receive government aid during this period, behaviour resulting from poor management of risk assets and excessive exposure to sublime mortgages, among other reasons. With effective risk management tools, the situation could have been better predicted and the effects better managed."
FirstBank is one of the few Nigerian banks that have adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as certified by the International Accounting Standards Board. By adopting SAS risk software and incorporating a transparent risk reporting and management program, FirstBank has continued to be a leader in Nigeria's financial services industry.