Sequel to increasing complaints by several bank customers over alleged high charges and exploitation by Nigerian banks, the Nigerian senate has taken a pragmatic step towards addressing the issue.
In response to the perceived need of addressing the highlighted challenges capable of limiting the quest to achieve a financially inclusive economy, Senator Patrick Moro moved a motion to address these complaints. In response, the Senate urged its Committee on Banking, Insurance, and Other Financial Institutions to investigate the alleged illicit and excess bank charges by commercial banks operating in the country.
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In addition, it also asked the CBN to address the complaints and downwardly review the charges on all bank accounts, as a panacea to the alleged exploitations.
Senator Moro emphasized that the alleged exploitation ranges from; constant charges and deductions from bank SMS charges, intra-bank transfer charges in the sum of N52.59, ATM card renewal charges, and account maintenance charges in the sum of N93.13.
Commenting on the motive behind his motion, Moro remarked that, “These charges being deducted from customers’ accounts by banks, have caused an uproar within the public as Nigerians have expressed their dissatisfaction and displeasure over such excessive deductions, which they feel are fraudulent and targeted at further impoverishing Nigerians.”
He recalled that in April 2017, the CBN revised the card maintenance charges in the new guide released, from N100 annually to N50 monthly.
He continued, “Thus, bank customers in Nigeria will pay not less than N1.46bn to banks as card maintenance charges every month, totaling about N17.54bn in a year.
“Nigerian banks in a bid to further extort customers have set most of their ATM machines to dispense cash below the maximum sum of N40,000 that ATMs are programmed to dispense per transaction.
“The customers using the ATMs do not have a choice than to withdraw much lesser amounts per transaction; thereby, incurring the additional cost of N65 per transaction after using another bank’s ATM machines beyond three times.”
Recall that Nairametrics in an earlier article disclosed that CBN had recovered on behalf of customers over N60 billion excessive charges imposed on them by defaulting banks.
CBN to drive implementation of zero balance account opening in banks
The CBN has urged the DMBs to allow zero balance for the opening of new accounts.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has urged the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to allow zero balance for the opening of new accounts, as part of the efforts to promote greater financial inclusion across the country.
In addition, the banks are also expected to simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements in the push towards financial inclusion.
This disclosure was made in the Monetary, Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Policy Guidelines for 2020/2021 fiscal year, which was issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
While stating that these measures are part of the efforts to encourage banks to intensify deposit mobilization during the 2020/2021 fiscal years, the apex bank also encouraged banks to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.
A part of the report reads, “As part of its effort towards promoting greater financial inclusion in the country, the bank shall continue to encourage banks to intensify deposit mobilization during the 2020/2021 fiscal years. Accordingly, banks shall allow zero balances for opening new bank accounts and simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer requirements.
“Banks are also encouraged to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.”
In addition, the apex bank said that the Shared Agency Network Expansion Facility (SANEF), which was established to enhance the provision of financial services access points in under-served and unserved locations and drive financial inclusion through agent banking, would continue in the 2020/2021 fiscal years.
It states that banks, mobile money operators, and super-agents would continue to render returns in the prescribed formats and frequency to the CBN.
CRR: Banks suffer N917.5 billion debits in latest CBN action
The central bank debited Nigerian banks N917.5 billion last week in its latest CRR action.
Nigerian banks suffered a total of N917.5 billion in new CRR debits from the Central Bank of Nigeria. Reliable sources inform Nairalytics Research that the latest debits occurred in the week ended October 23rd, 2020.
The cash reserve requirement is the minimum amount banks are expected to leave retained with the Central Bank of Nigeria from customer deposits. In January, the CRR was increased by 5% to 27.5% by the CBN Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) who explained that the decision was intended to address monetary-induced inflation whilst retaining the benefits from the CBN’s LDR policy.
From the data, Zenith Bank topped the list with N285 billion followed by UBA with N160 billion. The rest of the FUGAZ, Access, FBN, and GTB were debited N140 billion, N95 billion, and GTB N55 billion respectively. The FUGAZ also suffered a N1.9 trillion debit in CRR sequesters in the second quarter of 2020 (April – June) alone.
Nigeria’s central bank has since 2019 debited Nigerian banks a chunk of their deposits as part of a mutually inclusive cash reserve requirement (CRR) and Loan to Deposit Ratio policy that is targeted at coercing banks to lend more to the private sector.
Last month, Nairametrics reported that the CBN now holds a total of N6.57 trillion in CRR debits from the nation’s top 5 banks a whopping 43% higher than the N4.58 trillion held in March and more than double the N3.5 trillion CRR debits as of December 2020. CRR debits in the third quarter of 2020 will be revealed when banks release their results in the coming days and weeks.
Meffynomincs: CBN under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele has deployed several heterodox policies as it strives to stimulate the economy and manage the exchange rate crisis in the absence of strong fiscal support.
- Interest rates on fixed deposits and money market instruments have fallen to single digits despite the galloping inflation rate.
- Last month, the CBN monetary policy committee admitted it was no longer combating inflation but will direct its policies towards stimulating lending to the private sector hoping this will spur local production.
- This policy has placed banks in the crosshairs with the Apex bank exposing them to CRR debits if they cannot use customer deposits to spur lending.
#EndSARS: Access Bank announces N50 billion interest-free facility for businesses
Access Bank Nigeria Plc has announced plans to offer N50billion interest-free credit facility to individuals and businesses.
Access Bank Nigeria Plc. has announced N50 billion in support of Nigerians through interest-free loans and grants to support communities, the youths, and micro, small and medium-sized businesses.
This information was disclosed by the bank through its official LinkedIn page.
The bank’s official statement read thus,
“Now more than ever, we remain committed to our purpose of impacting lives positively. In light of the recent occurrences, we will be supporting Nigerian businesses with 50 Billion Naira interest-free loans and grants. Watch this space for more information.”
Why it matters
The impact of the pandemic, coupled with the hijacked #EndSARS protests that led to the looting of businesses and destruction of properties has thrown so many Nigerians into debts.
This show of support from Access Bank will help alleviate and stimulate economic activities, as well as produce many positive multiplier effects on the economy.