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Financial Services

Nigeria’s tier-1 banks earn N18.4 billion from account maintenance charges in Q1 2020

Banks’ earnings from account maintenance charges, though low when compared to other revenue streams, still make up a significant portion of their non-interest income.

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Nigeria's banks, Account Maintenance Charges

Nigeria’s tier-1 banks — comprised of First Bank, UBA, GTBank, Access Bank, and Zenith Bank (FUGAZ) — generated a total of N18.4 billion from bank maintenance charges in Q1 2020. The sum is 17.12% more than N15.6 billion that was generated by the five banks during the comparable period in 2019.

This is according to recent checks by Nairametrics Research, a breakdown of which revealed that Zenith Bank generated the most income from account maintenance fees, followed by Access Bank and then, GTBank.

See the breakdown below.

  • Zenith Bank Plc: N5.7 billion
  • Access Bank Plc: N3.9 billion
  • Guaranty Trust Bank Plc: N3.3 billion
  • First Bank Plc: N3.1 billion
  • United Bank for Africa Plc: N2.3 billion

READ MORE: Stocktaking: Ebenezer Onyeagwu’s year as CEO of Zenith bank

What you should know about account maintenance charges

Banks’ earnings from account maintenance charges, though low when compared to other revenue streams, still make up a significant portion of their non-interest income.

According to the latest directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria on bank charges, Nigerian banks are allowed to charge their customers a “negotiable” N1 per mille. What this means is that banks can charge N1 per N1000 debit transactions on current accounts. Banks’ account maintenance charges come in the form of COT (i.e., Commission on Turnover) which is a charge levied on customer withdrawals by their banks. In Nigeria, these charges are mainly applicable to current accounts.

“Current Account Maintenance Fee (CAMF): Applicable to current accounts ONLY in respect of customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers/lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank. Note that CAMF is not applicable to Savings Accounts,” said part of the CBN directive.

(READ THIS: You must know these terms if you want to own a bank account in Nigeria)

Customers don’t like account maintenance charges

Interestingly, a lot of Nigerian bank customers are not keen on bank maintenance charges. After all, nobody likes to get debit alerts, especially so when such is coming from their banks. Perhaps, the main reason some customers dislike bank maintenance charges is because they tend to be higher than the interest capitalised entitled to such customers. Professor Ayobami Ojebode of the Department of  Communications and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, recently complained about this, saying:

“Dear bank, I see o! Don’t think I don’t see you! You credit me N50 interest on my savings and debit N150 for account maintenance & card fee etc! Come here, what do you really think you are doing?”

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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    Currencies

    “Don’t deposit more than $5k monthly,” banks inform customers

    Reports reaching Nairametrics indicate some commercial banks have started sending new transfer limits to their customers.

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    The US dollar remains king, U.S dollar gains against major currencies, America threatens China with sanctions., U.S dollar slumps against major currencies, investors become optimistic about global demand, U.S Dollar Stands Firm, Foreign Exchange Traders Remain Neutral 

    Reports reaching Nairametrics indicate some commercial banks have started sending new transfer limits to their customers.

    Emails sent to some customers that were shared with Nairametrics reveal banks are informing customers that they can only deposit $5,000 in cash into their accounts monthly. They also advised the customers to transfer electronically instead of cash deposits. One of the banks also indicated that cash deposits are no longer allowed for some account holders.

    “There is a $5,000 monthly cash deposit limit. We encourage you to make more deposits via electronic transfers. Cash funded transfers to beneficiaries with accounts in other banks in Nigeria are no longer allowed. There will be no restriction to the frequency or value of transactions for accounts funded through inflows but supporting documents are required before payments are processed. Cash deposits are no longer allowed for Wealth Management Investments.”

    Some of these rules are actually not new as they contain forex transaction guidelines issued by the central bank last year as part of its efforts to curtail demand for forex and reduce the utilization of the banking system to facilitate black market dealing in forex.

    What this Bank Transfer Limit means

    • You cannot deposit more than $5,000 cash monthly (cumulative) into your bank domiciliary accounts.
    • However, you can deposit more than this if it is an electronic transfer. This is a lot more difficult to achieve for retail buyers of forex and the exchange rate is often higher.
    • You are also required to provide supporting documents backing the inflow of dollars into your account especially if the transfers are from one personal account to another.

    Last week, the CBN announced it was indefinitely extending its Naira 4-dollar scheme for diaspora remittances which was introduced in March, suggesting the program may have achieved success by its standards.

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    Financial Services

    Inflationary concerns may lead to higher rate; Why 3 CBN MPC members want rates hiked

    Despite the slight push back, the MPC decided to hold the rates, owing to the supply factor and the weak economic recovery of Nigeria.

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    CBN forex restrictions on food itemsCBN approves new cheque standard for banks

    Three members of the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee proposed a rate hike citing several factors including Nigeria’s galloping inflation rate. Their decisions contradict those held by other members of the committee who voted for a continuation of the current monetary policy rate of 11.5%.

    This was contained in the personal statement of members of the  Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in the meeting held on the 22nd and 23rd of March 2021. The decision to hold the rate steady was not unanimous as three out of the nine members voted to increase rates. These disconnects from the majority took their stand as a result of inflationary concern facing the Nigerian economy.

    According to the Central Bank of Nigeria Communiqué No. 135 Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting, the members who were in support of hiking rates are namely; OBADAN, MIKE IDIAHI; SHONUBI, FOLASHODUN A.; and ADENIKINJU, ADEOLA FESTUS. The prime reason was the risk of high inflation on the economy.

    Despite the slight push back, the MPC decided to hold the rates, owing to the supply factor and the weak economic recovery of Nigeria. The CBN governor Godwin I. Emefiele and five others were in support of maintaining rate despite unstable inflation postulating that supply factor is fundamental to healthy recovery especially as a result of the pandemic.

    Emefiele said: “Supply constraints remain the key driver of both the inflationary pressure and the weak growth that we observe today. The weak GDP recovery provides an argument for further policy ease to support growth, but rising inflationary expectations justify a tightening. My inclination today is for a more balanced and cautious approach to monetary impulses.”

    Even though Emefiele admitted that inflation rate could rise in the near term, he feared that an adjustment of the MPR could worsen Nigeria’s “conditions” especially with the tepid recovery we are still experiencing.

    “I reiterate the imperatives of targeted lending to productive sectors to sustain growth without undermining our core objective of price stability. Based on the near-term inflation expectations and growth outlook, my position is to maintain the current stance of monetary policy and intensify our interventions. An adjustment today could in my view, destabilize the fragile recovery and worsen domestic conditions.”

    However, some members who did not share the view and speculation about higher inflation may affirm this stand OBADAN, MIKE IDIAHI postulated that the CBN should put more pressure on deposit money banks to comply with the LDR scheme, according to him.

    OBADAN stated that, “We are faced with the dilemma of low and fragile growth that needs to be reversed, accelerating inflation also needs to be tamed because it is Classified as Confidential and has a negative impact on people’s welfare and macroeconomic stability which is required for enhanced investment and production. Orthodox policy instruments available to the Bank are not capable of achieving the desired goals of strong growth and inflation control simultaneously without sacrificing one for the other. Stability needs to be brought to bear on the policy-induced drivers of the current inflation acceleration, while the MPR can be raised marginally with three objectives in mind: to signal the sensitivity of the Bank to address any possible monetary influence on inflation.”

    A skeptical and more hawkish Obadan also suggested that the recent inflation rate was also due to monetary policy reasons such as increased lending due to CBN’s LDR Policy, depreciation of the naira and a lower interest rate environment which drives people into assets that provide a hedge against the naira.  He also suggested that more efforts should be geared towards attracting foreign portfolio inflows.

    “The factor of monetary influence on inflation cannot be ruled out completely. It interacts with other factors to drive inflation, perhaps, in a limited role. Against the backdrop of the Loan-to Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy, I do not expect the MPR adjustment to adversely affect the volume of lending significantly. To this end, we should put more pressure on the deposit money banks to comply with the LDR policy. Marginal upward adjustment of the MPR can also signal the desire of the Bank to tackle the phenomenon of negative real interest rate. Finally, in the short term, it could be a signal to foreign private investors while we implement measures to ensure stable sources of external reserves accretion in the medium term. Yes, foreign portfolio investment flows are indeed hot monies that tend to be very volatile. However, under conditions of improving growth, such flows could play a stabilising role in the economy. So, my vote is: raise MPR by 50 basis points and leave the other parameters as they are.”

    SHONUBI, FOLASHODUN A., on the other hand, emphasized inaction was not an option considering how weak and fragile the economy currently is.

    “Clearly, not doing anything will portray the Bank as abandoning its mandate of price stability. In as much as growth remains weak and fragile, we cannot afford to pull the brake to avert a more damaging reversal of the trend in output growth. Notwithstanding that the present inflationary pressure is largely attributed to non-monetary factors, its persistence, and reversal of the moderation in month-on-month growth stresses the need for the Bank to take immediate action. Whereas it may appear unfeasible to deploy the conventional monetary policy to pursue growth and tame inflation simultaneously, the Bank cannot abandon either of the objectives at this time.”

    He also called for the continued intervention in key sectors of the economy postulating that this will boost economic growth.

    “I believe the Bank’s interventions through the aggressive provision of credit should continue as a complement to the ongoing effort by the fiscal authority to boost economic activities. As the Government acts more decisively to discourage bad behaviour and restore orderliness, we must collectively work to overcome the insecurity challenges. At the same time, we must begin to tighten to deal with the subtle monetary component of inflationary pressure and curb spiraling inflation, without suffocating economic growth.”

    Jaiz bank

    Adenikinju, the last of the trio emphasized on the need for the CBN to focus on addressing higher inflationary environment. He also explained that addressing inflation will signal to economic agents that the central bank is keen on stabilizing prices thus curbing the demand for forex.

    He stated that the persistently high inflation rate is cause for concern and that the CBN should begin refocusing its efforts to counter it, signaling to the wider economy that the CBN’s top priority would help to minimize foreign exchange market excesses, reduce liquidity-induced inflationary pressures on the economy, and protect fixed-income earners.

    “The rising global commodity prices, plus the depreciating exchange rates and relatively high costs of shipping and clearing of goods at the Nigerian ports have all contributed to high imported inflation and reduced the extent to which imports could have mitigated the impacts of high domestic food prices in the short term. However, the weak economic growth, rising unemployment and poverty also mean that we cannot aggressively pursue strict price stability at a time we are slowly crawling out of recession. I see the CBN intervention credit as complementary and not a substitution to credit from the deposit money banks. Also given the focus of capital expenditure of the government this year, it then means that we can focus on growth and tackle inflation at the same time. However, I believe the persistently high inflation rate is concerning enough for CBN to start shifting its focus to address it. Signaling to economic agents that price stability remains the focus of the CBN will also curb some of the excesses in the foreign exchange market and reduce the liquidity induced inflationary pressures on the economy and protect fixed income earners.”

    Bottom line

    Whilst the trio may not have gotten their wish, we believe the CBN might raise rates to cool off the galloping inflation rate. The CBN has gradually raised rates on its short-dated securities, a clear indication that it is worried about widening the negative real interest rate emanating from rising inflation.

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