The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday reduced all bank charges, with some getting more than 50 per cent cut, with effect from January 1, 2020.
According to the apex bank, the decision, which came amid public outcry against multiplicity and value of the charges, is aimed at making financial services more accessible and affordable to various stakeholders in the economy.
The reviewed charges and fees for banking services are contained in the new “Guide to Charges by Banks, Other Financial and Non-bank Financial Institutions,” which now supersedes the 2017 version.
The CBN said the new charges were “arrived at after extensive consultations with stakeholders and the action is expected to enhance flexibility, transparency, and competition in the Nigerian banking industry.”
The guide stipulates a penalty of N2million per infraction or as may be determined by the CBN as a guard against excess, unapproved or arbitrary charges by banks and other financial institutions.
Besides, failure by any bank to comply with the CBN’s directive in respect of any infraction shall also attract a further penalty of N2million daily or as may be determined by the apex bank, until the directive is complied with.
To emphasize the seriousness of the new rule, the Director of Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said the banks had been directed to henceforth log every complaint received from their customers into the Consumer Complaints Management System (CCMS).
Additionally, they are to generate 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 sanction-able with a penalty of N1million per breach,” he said.
According to him, “this is the time financial services providers and their customers alike have to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the guide and be guided accordingly.”
Specifically, for cards linked to a savings account, the 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.