Study Tour to Germany – CBN / NDIC / CIBN / NAMB

In early November 2010, EoPSD facilitated a study tour to Germany for officials from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and the National Association of Microfinance Banks in Nigeria (NAMB). The objective of this study tour was to learn from the German Cooperative Banking system regarding: Supervision of Cooperative Banks Tasks of the Association in the Cooperative System Training and Capacity Building in the German Banking System The Academy of German Cooperatives, the official training institute for all German Cooperative Banks, facilitated the tour. During the first few days, the 21 participants visited the following institutions in the German Banking and Cooperative system: KfW Development Bank Frankfurt School of Finance and Management Deutsche Bundesbank National Association of Cooperatives (DGRV) Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) Association of German Cooperative Banks (BVR) Primary Cooperative Bank: Volksbank Rhein Nahe-Hunsrück eG Furthermore, external experts were invited to talk to the participants about Risk Management in Cooperative Banks, Association Building and Internal Audits in Cooperative Banks. The lessons learnt during these visits were carefully collected, summarized and presented by all participants. For the Central Bank of Nigeria, the main lessons learnt included the segregation of regulation and supervision in the German Banking system as well as the importance of a regular monitoring of the performance of Banks including discussions on exit strategies if problems occur. The National Deposit Insurance Corporation called the existence of a sound program of institutional protection and stabilization fund (for both: institutions and clients) as the German Cooperative is using, as one of their main lessons from this trip. Organizing and facilitating effective trainings and capacity building for the financial sectors were of utmost importance for the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. This includes the 2 years apprenticeship which is offered in the German dual education system, but also the on-the-job learning and different possibilities to extend knowledge and education while having a full time job. The most impressive experience was the strict requirement of capacities of all staff working in a bank. The newly established National Association of Microfinance Banks in Nigeria learnt about the functions and tasks of a national association of a system which covers 60% of all banked people in Germany. Especially issues like the common objectives by all members, the compliance to professionalism and ethics by all members, the trust and the mutual respect and synergies by its members as well as the shared services within the association were from immense interest to all participants of the trip. The fact that the Association is independent from any outside money and subsidies, but is entirely self-financing, that it is 100% self-sustainable in its operations and that it self-regulates the system through taking responsibility of the supervision of its member banks, were also among the core lessons learnt.   Back home to Nigeria, all these lessons learnt have to be taking into action and to be implemented. For this a task force of one or two members of all participating organizations as been founded who will do the follow up. First small actions have already been implemented, like a circular from the CBN to all Microfinance Banks in order to make the membership to the Association compulsory and with this also the payment of annual fees. The NAMB itself held a strategic workshop with all National, Zonal and State Chairmen in Abuja only 3 weeks after the return from Germany, where major outcomes were discussed and first challenges overcome.