“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin, American author, scientist and statesman

The evolution of elaborate deposit insurance system (DIS) can be traced to the United States Congress which created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 following the Great Depression that was experienced worldwide between 1929 and 1933. Before that time, however, some form of deposit insurance system had been introduced in Czechoslovakia in 1924. Ever since, the world has come to recognise deposit insurance system as a critical component of the financial system safety net.

Deposit insurance is a financial guarantee to protect depositors in the event of bank failure. It is also a measure of safety for the banking system. A walk down the memory lane of the NDIC’s establishment shows that the Corporation came into being as a result of the report of a committee set up in 1983 by the Board of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to examine the operations of the banking system in Nigeria. The Committee, in its report, recommended the establishment of a Depositors Protection Fund. Consequently, the NDIC was established under Decree No. 22 of 15th June, 1988 now repealed and re-enacted as NDIC Act No. 16 of 2006 and modeled after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the United States of America (USA).

The establishment of NDIC was therefore part of the economic reform measures taken by the then government, to strengthen the safety net for the banking sector following its liberalization policy and the introduction of the 1986 Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). Most importantly, the establishment of NDIC as a full-fledged agency was informed by global best practice of an Explicit Deposit Insurance System with clear mandates, powers and governance structure that would relieve the Federal Government of the contingent liability of bailing out troubled banks. The NDIC’s layer of protection for bank depositors is provided through its core mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, failure resolution and bank liquidation.

Notwithstanding the long existence of deposit insurance, the system is still facing challenges of novelty and uniqueness resulting in scarcity of knowledge and skills when compared with other sub-sectors of the financial services industry such as conventional insurance, banking, taxation, pension and stock market. This underscores the importance NDIC attaches to capacity building and knowledge sharing on the deposit insurance system with other segments of the banking industry. It further emphasizes the synergy of regulation through the Financial Services Regulation Coordinating Committee (FSRCC) to promote an efficient, competitive and stable financial system.

One thing that had given impetus to the phenomenal growth of DIS was the formation of the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) with headquarters in Switzerland which currently comprises 83 member countries from 77 jurisdictions. The association was established in May 2002 as an the umbrella body of deposit insurance agencies worldwide for knowledge and experience sharing through international cooperation, research and guidance on matters related to deposit insurance for members.

The immediate past NDIC MD/CE, Mr. Ganiyu A. Ogunleye was a founding member of the IADI Executive Council. Mr. Ogunleye was also the pioneer Chairman of the African Regional Committee of the Association. Similarly, the current NDIC’s MD/CE, Alh. Umaru Ibrahim was elected unopposed to take the reserved seat of the Africa Regional Committee on the Executive Council of IADI at its 12th AGM and 2013 Annual Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In recognition of the NDIC’s outstanding contributions toward the development of the association and deposit insurance practice in Africa as a whole, Alh. Ibrahim was re-elected into the IADI Executive Committee for another term of three years at the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association held in Seoul, South Korea.

It is against this background that the NDIC became the training hub for IADI member countries in the African Sub-Region. Therefore, the recent accreditation of the NDIC Academy as a training service provider for its staff and the banking industry by the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) did not come as a surprise. During the accreditation ceremony at the Bankers House, Lagos, the NDIC MD/CE said, with the NDIC Academy’s new status, it was positioned to fulfill the Corporation’s goal of serving as a centre of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa. He added that the Corporation prided itself on high standard of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program of University of Bangor, Scotland in partnership with the CIBN.

In his remarks at the accreditation ceremony of the academy by the CIBN on 23rd May, 2017, the CIBN President and Chairman of Council, Prof. Segun Ajibola expressed delight that a regulatory agency such as the NDIC subjected itself to the rigors of accreditation by the Institute. This, according to him, demonstrated the premium NDIC Management placed on capacity development as a tool for equipping its employees with critical skills to enhance their performance and productivity. Prof. Ajibola commended the Corporation for meeting the very high level standards set for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy, saying that there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that the standards were maintained. He said that the accreditation would last for three years after which the Corporation would be recertified.

But what factors combined to put the NDIC Academy ahead in capacity building and skills enhancement in the banking industry in general? The answer is not far-fetched. While commissioning the NDIC Academy in 2013, the MD/CE said: “The need to provide the Corporation’s staff and those of other related institutions with the much needed professional skills to function effectively in the emerging dynamic industry provided the impetus for a first class Academy”. In 2015, the Academy was upgraded to the status of a Department with Management taking bold steps to ensure that its operational activities matched international standards by inviting the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) to undertake an assessment of the training curricula and facilities with a view to making appropriate recommendations.

A new vision was also carved for the Academy which enabled it to serve as a centre of excellence on DIS in the Africa Sub-Region. Management also revised the organogram of the Academy to a three-unit structure namely: Learning Management, Programme Delivery and Shared Services under the Chief Learning Officer. Another key aspect of the revised organogram was the creation of four teams with responsibilities aimed at regularly oiling the engine of the Academy’s administrative hub. At present, the Academy has five schools as against two in its previous structure. The five schools are Bank Supervision, Bank Failure Resolution, Deposit Insurance and Consumer Protection, Information Technology and Management Development.

The Academy therefore, has all it takes to deliver quality training considering its rich human resource base. As at 2015, the Academy paraded a total of 102 seasoned facilitators, comprising 64 in-house subject matter experts, nine ex-staff with competencies in critical and core operational areas, three staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 26 external consultants as well as industry experts. From 2014 to the first half of 2017, the Academy trained a total of 2,419 staff of NDIC, CBN, AMCON, EFCC and ICPC in 20 different courses. At the regional level, the academy hosted a total of 10 members of staff of four (4) IADI member African countries from the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Reserve Bank of Lesotho, Deposit Insurance Board of Tanzania and Deposit Protection Corporation of Zimbabwe from 2012 – 2016.

According to the Director, NDIC Academy, Dr Azubike Okoro, his team is determined to attain Management’s vision of making the Academy to become a model of DIS training institute in Africa and Asia regions by 2020. The Academy is fully committed to the mission of promoting and fostering individual and organizational effectiveness through an array of innovative and diverse programs. In this regard, NDIC’s Director, Human Resource Department (HRD), Mr. Aminu Ahmed offered these words of advice to staff: “I want to urge every staff to brace up for the challenges and opportunities ahead by partnering with HRD and the Academy in order to realize management’s aspiration on capacity development for staff for an enhanced corporate performance”.

With the NDIC Academy’s outstanding profile: its robust administrative structure; rich and tested curricula; array of seasoned facilitators and on-going construction of a 9-storey world class building in Lagos, the much desired model training institution on deposit insurance system for staff of the Corporation and the entire financial services industry in the African Sub-Region has emerged.