The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s move to reduce the settlement cycle of a cheque in Nigeria to one day, also known as cheque truncation system, has now taken off across the country.
The move is in support of the apex bank’s cashless policy and to align the country’s economic policy with current trend around the globe.
The Nigeria InterBank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) and Nigeria’s leading financial services software provider, Precise Financial Systems, PFS, worked with the CBN to achieve this breakthrough across all the 37 branches of the CBN located in states capital in Nigeria including the federal capital territory, Abuja.
Mr. Yele Okeremi, MD/CEO, PFS, said in a statement made available to Vanguard that with the new regime, all cheques presented for settlement would be resolved within stipulated date across the country.
The cheque truncation system would allow all branches of the CBN to capture all cheques in the respective branches and maintain them in a central server in Lagos. The system then allows all captured cheques from the bank to be transmitted to the clearinghouse from Lagos.
According to him, the system is responsible for the processing of all inward cheques and NEFT transactions of banks. While it would address all required management reporting, its controls are guided “as the system implements all required maker checker rules of the banks”, he said.
With the activation of cheque truncation through iTELLER platform in Nigeria, important challenge the system has addressed is the ability of the CBN to meet the deadline for cheque truncation nationwide. Aside, the platform has also assisted the CBN to reduce cost, time and the stress level involved in its cheque clearing operations. “This system removes all logistics costs associated with clearing”.
While further enumerating on the benefits of cheque truncation, he said before the cheque truncation regime, the banks would have to send their outward cheques to respective central clearing departments by dispatch riders or bullion vans. However, with the system, cheques can be truncated directly at the branch of deposit.
“This removes time-wasting collation and photocopying usually carried out at the bank branches. It also removes the need to post-encode cheques, and this provides the platform to use more agile cheque scanners for image and MICR capture”.
Other benefits of the new systems, according to him, include reduction of stress and human efforts in clearing, elimination of all cheques substitution tendencies, reduction of time of consummating manual transaction thereby enabling the cashier to focus on other customer requirements as well as reduction of the man-hours required to attend to other customer’s need among others.
In terms of how the new regime influences the market, he informed that the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) has a critical supervisory role in the cheque clearing systems, as such; the system enables the cheque clearing system to run seamlessly for an effective and efficient cheque payment processing.
”Championing the on-going cheque truncation system is one way NIBSS is enabling the cheque payment and processing system in the nation. The financial institutions in the country are fast switching their practices to comply with the new cheque truncation regime.
“One basic implication of the new system is that the cheque clearing system in the country is tending towards real time clearing practice. The system has to be well positioned to ensure reliability, availability, sustainability, and recoverability in case of any disaster both by individual financial institutions as players and NIBSS as the supervisor”, he said.