Banking & Payments Federation Ireland National Conference 2015

Banking &Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) today held its annual national conference, Financing Growth and Entrepreneurship, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dublin. Opened by EU Commissioner for Internal Markets, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elzbieta Bienkowska, the conference hosted a gathering of senior banking executives and policy makers from Ireland, the UK and further afield in Europe to discuss the development of new financing instruments and the role of finance from banks and other relevant providers in the transition from economic recovery to economic growth.

Speaking at today’s conference, Bernard Byrne, President, BPFI and Chief Executive, AIB said: “As lenders we recognise the centrality of businesses – and SMEs in particular – to our economic recovery and growth; as well as the mutuality of interests in providing suitable support to them. We have ample liquidity to fund viable business propositions; and we have enhanced our capacity to better understand and assess the requirements of our business customers. That’s not to say we’re getting everything right by our customers. We know we’re not; and we know that we have further to go.”

Pointing to the increased levels of banks’ support for businesses as confirmed in the most recent reports from the Central Bank and the Credit Review Office, he continued: “as the economy generally continues to move in the right direction, banks are making significant progress also. To one extent or another many banks have gone through a significant period of restructuring over recent years. They are now focused on working with existing businesses that have sustainable business models, while supporting development opportunities in both the traditional and new areas of business activity.”

Among those contributing to the conference were Alain Nadeau, Head of Division, European Investment Bank who addressed the conference on the EIB’s lending priorities, the Investment Plan for Europe and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI); Jillian Mahon, Head of Funding and Strategic Projects, Strategic Bank Corporation of Ireland, who spoke on the developing role of SBCI as a national promotional institution and Stephen Pegge, Director of Competitive Markets & Business Policy, Lloyds Banking Group who focused on a number of topics chief amongst them the importance of equity finance from non-bank sources in addition to debt finance as a viable source of funding for early stage and true small businesses.

ENDS/

Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) is the voice of banking and payments in Ireland representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, BPFI, ph: 01 474 8835 / 087 9016880

CEO/CFO Fraud

Purpose of Advisory

A number of businesses in Ireland have recently been targeted by fraudsters using bogus emails which purport to be from a senior member of staff within the organisation requesting an urgent payment or electronic transfer be made outside of normal procedures or trading patterns.

A pdf version of the BPFI CEO/CFO Spoofed Email Payment/Mandate Request Fraud Alert is available to download here.

Key Details

A member of staff at the finance or accounts department receives an email purporting to be from a senior member of staff within the organisation, whether Director, CEO, Chairman, levels etc., requesting they arrange an urgent payment outside of their normal procedures due to exceptional circumstances.

The email appears to be genuine due to the address in the “From” box reflecting the genuine email address of the senior member of staff. With the recipient believing the email to be genuine, they arrange for the payment to be made through their preferred payment method for the credit of the fraudster’s account, from where the monies are usually quickly withdrawn or transferred out.

There are two methods which the fraudster could use to facilitate this type of fraud attempt:

Email Spoofing

Using technical know-how, social engineering or malware, the fraudster is able to construct an email which appears to have come from another source, whilst disguising the true originator. Hovering the curser over the name in the “From” box will not reveal the true origination address in these cases and therefore the email appears genuine. The difference in the spoofed email account is very subtle and can easily be mistaken for the legitimate email address.

Hacked Email Accounts

The fraudster hacks into the victim’s email account and starts issuing emails in the victim’s name, including payment requests to banks or work colleagues. Customers that are more vulnerable to this type of attack are normally users of free email services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo, for example.

Red Flags

  • Any payment request which is outside of normal policy or process, especially if received by email
  • Any urgent or confidential request not respecting the standard working procedure or trading patterns
  • Any unusual payment request such as transfer of high amounts to an unknown or foreign account or to a country where the company has no market relations

Action

  • Businesses should have a specific documented internal process for the arrangement and authorisation of payments
  • Any requests outside of that procedure, especially if received by email, should be regarded as suspicious
  • For such requests, verbal contact should be made with the person sending the email, using a known contact number from the company’s internal records, to confirm the request
  • Businesses should strengthen their passwords for access to their email accounts, to include a mixture of uppercase letters, numbers and special characters, e.g. $&, etc.
  • Businesses should avail of password manager applications and use passphrases instead of passwords

This is a general notice issued by the Financial Crime and Security Department of BPFI on behalf of BPFI members.

Disclaimer Note: The information contained in this Fraud Alert /Advisory is for general guidance and for information purposes only and is intended to enhance awareness and vigilance regarding this fraud.

Mortgage Approvals – August 2015

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has published the latest figures from the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report for the three months ending August 2015.

The following are the key elements:

  • A total of 2,709 mortgages were approved per month, on average, in the three months ending August 2015, of which 2,398 (89%) were for house purchase.
  • The number of mortgages approved rose by 5.2% year-on-year and fell by 2.1% month-on-month.
  • The value of mortgages approved per month, on average, in the three months ending August 2015 was €499 million, of which €460 million (92%) was for house purchase.
  • The value of mortgage approvals increased by 6.4% year-on-year and fell by 3.1% month-on-month.

Data collection for the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report began in September 2012 covering the period from January 2011 onwards in respect of the market’s main mortgage lenders. The BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report July 2015 is available on the BPFI website here.

All figures are based on the three-month moving average. Year-on-year compares the average for the three months ending August 2015 with the three months ending August 2014. Month-on-month compares the average for the three months ending August 2015 with the three months ending July 2015.

Ends/

Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland is the voice of banking and payments in Ireland, representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.
Contact: Sinead McGovern 087 6411725