The introduction of Current Account Maintenance fee by the Central Bank of Nigeria has drawn the ire of bank customers who accuse the apex bank of making policies that will erode their confidence and negatively affect the budget. In a communiqué made available to Vanguard, Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN) called on the CBN to withdraw the circular introducing the fee and allow bank customers to enjoy the free COT regime.
The statement, jointly signed by BCAN President Mr. Uju Ogubunka, and Executive Secretary, Onyema Okoroh, contends that the implementation of the fee will negatively affect plans which had been prepared by customers on the certainty of a zero COT regime and expectation of CBN to stop unauthorised collection of Account Maintenance fee by banks.
They dismissed the reasons adduced by the apex bank to justify the introduction of the fee:
In the first place, banks are not the only economic entities in the country affected by declining crude oil prices and market turbulences. CBN ought to know best that banks and other economic entities are operating within the same environment. Thus, what affects one affects the others. Consequently, it will be improper and unfair to short-charge one in favour of the other, in the guise of ‘maintaining viability and stability of the banking system’.
“As acknowledged by CBN, COT had been phased out of Nigeria’s banking industry. From January 2016, COT which banks had appropriated from their customers’ accounts at N3/Mille for several years was abolished. CBN could not even allow the customers to enjoy a free COT regime for one month let alone a year before introducing Account Maintenance Fee which it also confirmed banks had been charging along with COT contrary to the provisions of the Original/Revised Guide to Bank Charges. Most banks collected from each of their customers a lump sum of N100/month for the unapproved charge.”