By Jubril Bada
The House of Representatives recently passed through second reading a Bill for an Act to amend the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act.
The bill, which seeks to mandate banks and other financial institution in Nigeria to state in writing, ”all charges and fees accruing to any transactions in the banks”, was sponsored by Jones Onyereri (Imo-PDP).
The bill seeks to amongst others, increase penalties to deter corporate and individual misconduct.
Speaking with The Hope on the development, the Ondo State Secretary of the Ondo State Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Mr Leke Adegbite, lamented the nefarious activities of banks for extorting customers through arbitrary charges.
The secretary noted that steps should been taken by the CBN to expose and regulate activities of banks cheating on their customers.
He called on the apex bank to start sanctioning banks.
“We are tired of all these nonsense, the same thing with telecommunication providers,” Adegbite explained.
Also, a business centre manager, Alhaji Lai Gidado, noted that banks in the country have been robbing customers under the guise of bank charges.
Gidado who mentioned Automated Teller Machine (ATM) monthly maintenance fee, bank transfer fee, and Short Message Service (SMS) and bank charges on transaction said that the charges have affected Bank customers relationship.
He suggested that the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) should wade into save Nigerians from the fraudulent acts of banks.
On her own, Mrs Arike Oluwagbemi, pointed out that there has been sad comments against banks in Nigeria concerning their practices of imposing excessive charges on their customers.
She said it has been the practice of banks to collect more fees than are due to them, from customers, stressing that this can be described as the betrayal of customers’ confidence and trust in banks.
However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has introduced a guide to cub operators superflous charges.
According to CBN, the guide was expected to enhance flexibility, transparency and competition in the Nigerian banking industry as operators are meant to negotiate with the customers before charging them.
The CBN said that the guide provides for charges on various products and services that banks, other financial institutions and mobile payment operators offer to their customers.
Financial experts said that till date, most of the customers are not aware of some of the negotiated charges as stipulated. They blame the customers for heir ignorance despite financial institutions and apex banks’ efforts to sensitise the public.
CBN said Current Account Maintenance Fee (CAMF) will be charged at a negotiable but subjected to a maximum of N1 per million when customers initiate a debit transaction to third parties and debit transfers/lodgements to the customer’s account in another bank.
“Note that CAMF is not applicable to savings account”, the guide explained.
For foreign exchange transfer out of customer’s accounts using swift, commercial banks are directed by CBN to charge their customers 0.5per cent commission on turnover (COT) plus any other associated off shore transfer charges.
It explained that if a customer transfers $1000 from a domiciliary account, banks are expected to charge customer $5.
On short message service (SMS), rate should not be of not more than N4/SMS. According to the guideline, SMS is mandatory. However, where a customer opts not to receive SMS alert, the customers should issue indemnity (for losses that may arise as a result) to the bank.
The CBN also revealed that no bank should charge customers on e-mail notification.
It said that naira debit/credit card will cost N50 monthly in card maintenance fees. Bank will also charge customer N1000 one-off charges for issuance of debit cards.
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