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Banks Return N55bn Illegal Charges To Customers



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) hinted yesterday that over N55 billion has been refunded to customers overcharged by commercial banks.

It also blamed the banks for the high circulation of mutilated notes in the country.

Answering questions on twitter yesterday during a Tweet Meet, CBN’s acting director of corporate communications, Isaac Okorafor, said that so far over N55 billion has been refunded to overcharged customers by the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of the apex bank.

Stating that excessive and illegal charges outside the Guide to Bank Charges are not allowed, he urged customers who feel aggrieved by any charge to protest to the bank and if not satisfied should write to the CPD of the CBN.

On the non-performing loans in the banking industry, Okoroafor said, “NPLs are actually decreasing as we speak. And it’s all thanks to the improving macroeconomic environment. However, the CBN will continue to closely monitor the development and take all the measures to ensure financial stability.”

He also noted that the apex bank is currently looking at having a stronger Capital Base for microfinance banks (MFBs) in the country.

Operators in the industry had earlier called for a review of the capital base for MFBs to enable them become stronger enough to perform their roles in building the economy through micro financing.

“We believe that viable banks are required at this level to promote financial inclusion and Micro and Small Enterprises. As soon as a decision is taken on this, it will be made public”, Okorafor stated.

He also said banks have failed to return mutilated notes to the apex bank despite a window which cut the cost for them.

According to him, the CBN in solving the issue of mutilated notes in the country had opened a window for banks to return N50 to N5 denominations for processing at N1000 per box instead of N12,000 per box, between January 2, 2018 and March 28 2018.

He said the waiver in processing is to encourage banks to return unfit notes for reissue, noting however that banks have failed to take advantage of the window but have continued to circulate the mutilated notes.

Okorafor stated: “Lower denomination notes have greater velocity of circulation, meaning they are frequently in use and get abused. Several factors account for the existence of worn out notes: The abuse mentioned above and the attitude of banks that fail to return them for reissue is another. We have enough lower denomination notes to go round.

“Banks have merely recirculated unfit notes because they do not want to bear the little cost of sorting the notes and bringing the unfit ones to the CBN for reissue.”

He further stated that the apex bank is currently working on a more permanent solution, which would be announced soon.

Noting that the bank is working on ensuring that customers are not overcharged by banks, Okorafor revealed that the apex bank is funding processors across the country to ensure off-take of farmers’ harvests.



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