Depositors of the defunct Savannah Bank are calling on regulators of the banking industry to speed up the process of releasing customers’ trapped funds in the bank as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it is looking into the issues surrounding the prolonged closure of the lender.
The president, of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN) Dr. Uju Ogubunka, speaking at the third Biennial Bank Customers Summit in Lagos at the weekend had called on the apex bank to urgently come to the aid of Savannah Bank depositors who had been passing through very difficult times since the bank was shut down over 17 years ago.
According to him, Savannah Bank is holding large deposit of BCAN members. “Many of the people that owned accounts have died and their children are suffering. We call on the CBN to do what it can to resolve the situation. We also call on the President, the National Assembly and the judiciary to resolve the Savannah Bank issue,” he said.
Savannah Bank’s licence was revoked by the CBN in February 2002 for not having enough assets to meet liabilities and did not comply with CBN obligations and had been liquidated by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). The CBN under the leadership of Joseph Oladele Sanusi, said it had been unable to prevent further deterioration, which caused anomaly in the depositors’ funds.
The CBN however said contrary to the perception in some quarters, it has not abandoned depositors of Savannah Bank and is making efforts to ensure that the issues are resolved. The acting director, Consumer Protection Department, at the CBN, Mr. Tajudeen Ahmed, who represented the Governor, Godwin Emefiele, made this known at the Bank Customers’ Summit.
He disclosed that the apex bank had lately been strategising on how to resolve the impasse that has prevented Savannah bank from reopening for operations since regaining its operational license over nine years ago, adding that there would be a positive development on the issue in the not too distant future.
Asides this, he said the apex bank is working on issuing guidelines to implement the principles contained in the Consumer Protection Framework. He said contained in the CPF issued in November 2016 is the “Consumer Rights and Responsibilities” which articulates the minimum rights and obligations of consumers and the need for all stakeholders to work in furtherance of the objectives of the provision.
Noting that the Nigerian banking industry has over the years grown in terms of capitalisation, customer base, and diverse products and services including digital financial services, Ahmed said, “the level of consumer awareness and sophistication in the industry, however, leaves a lot to be desired as demonstrated by findings of many studies as well as the nature of complaints received at the CBN from customers of banks
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