…slams N2m fine on erring banks
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has intervened and pared down some bank charges including electronic transfer, ATM charges and card maintenance fees.
Under the new regime, bank customers will now pay N10 for electronic transfers below N5, 000 and N25 for electronic transfer between N5, 000 and N50, 000 while electronic transfer above N50,000 will attract N50 charge.
Currently, bank customers are charged N50 for electronic transfers below N500,000.
The new charges are contained in the latest Guide to Charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions released by the CBN at the weekend.
In addition, the apex bank slashed charges for cash withdrawal via other bank’s ATM to “maximum of N35 after the third withdrawal within the same month” from “N65 after the third withdrawal within the same month”.
It also removed Card Maintenance Fee (CAMF) on all cards linked to current accounts, a maximum of one Naira per mille for customer induced debit transactions to third parties and transfers or lodgments to the customers’ account in other banks on current accounts only.
CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the current NIP charges apply to use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), purchase with cash-back will attract a charge of N100 per N20,000 subject to cumulative N60,000 daily withdrawal.
According to him, cards linked to savings account, a maintenance fee has been reduced to a maximum of N50 per quarter from N50 per month amounting to only N200 per annum instead of N600.
He disclosed that there will be no more charges for reactivation or closure of accounts such as savings, current and domiciliary accounts while status enquiry at the request of the customer (like confirmation letter, letter of non-indebtedness and reference letter) will now attract a fee of N500 per request.
On Current Account Maintenance Fee (CAMF), the bank said this would be applicable only to current accounts in respect of customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers/lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank.
It emphasized that CAMF is not applicable to Savings Accounts.
Okorafor explained that the review was carried out which also prescribes charges permissible for Other Financial Institutions and non-bank financial institutions in a bid to align with market developments.
On penalties for erring banks, the Guide stipulates a penalty of N2 million per infraction or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time for financial institutions that breach any provision of the guide.
The Guide also emphasized that failure by any bank to comply with CBN’s directive in respect of any infraction shall attract a further penalty of N2,000,000 daily until the directive is complied with or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time.
The CBN also directed banks to log every complaint received from their customers into the Consumer Complaints Management System (CCMS) in addition to generating a unique reference code for each complaint lodged, which must be given to the customer.
“Failure to log and provide the code to the customer amounts to a breach and is sanctionable with a penalty of N1 million per breach.’’
The charges prescribed in the Guide were arrived at after extensive consultations with stakeholders and is expected to enhance flexibility, transparency and competition in the Nigerian banking industry.
The Guide, which replaces the Guide to Charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions issued in 2017, takes effect from January 1, 2020, and maybe reviewed from time to time to reflect changes in the business environment.
The CBN urged financial services providers and their customers to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the Guide and be properly guided accordingly.