What the new CBN’s Banks charges are and its effect and implementation is the question in every Nigerian’s lips with regards to new economic policies. The Central Bank of Nigeria through the Director, Corporate Communications Isaac Okorafor, has made vital introduction of major changes in bank charges. Mr. Isaac Okorafor added that the new CBN’s Bank Charges guidelines will entice stakeholders. As it will continuously encourage them and those that carry-out micropayment to relentlessly embrace e-banking channels as it would affect financial inclusion positively.
This major downward reduction in charges reviews is contained in the new guide to charges by both banking and non-banking institutions. And also to other Financial institutions and it was made public on December 22, 2019. However, the new CBN charge guideline is to replace the old one which was adopted in May 2017. The new CBN bank charges policy guideline’s implementation took effect on January 1, 2020.
The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, stated that the new charges guideline was necessary in other to formulate a banking system that is extremes in consideration of the needs of the banking public. Bearing in mind, the safeguarding and financial sustainability of both banking and non-banking institutions. As well as other financial institutions. Adding also that a section on Accountability/Responsibilities and Sanctions has been created newly to address the new policy issues. Especially issues resulting from cases of unapproved, excess and capricious charges.
The New CBN’s Charges Guideline
Among the new CBN charges guideline stated by the Central Bank of Nigeria among others include the followings;
- For ATM
The CBN reduced all charges applicable to Automate Teller Machine ATM. Hence, charges in withdrawal from other bank’s ATM’s will no longer be N65 after the third withdrawal within the same month, but N35 only.
- Electronics Fund Transfers
To this regard, the charges has been split based on the amount of money involved, instead of the previous N50-N52.50k that was initially pegged on it. Funds below N5,000 will be charged N10 while funds from N5,001 to N50,000 are charged N25. And finally, funds from N50,000 and above will be charged N50 respectively.
- E-Channels Bill
The new CBN charges guideline also stated that, bill payment through the e-channels platforms will henceforth attract a maximum charge of N500 from 0.75% of the transaction value which is subject to a maximum of N1,200.
- Card Maintenance
CBN’s new charges guideline also stipulated that the” Naira Debit/Credit card maintenance” will no longer be the usual N50 monthly on savings and current accounts. The guideline removes totally card maintenance charge on current account as the account already attracts maintenance fees. While N50 quarterly charges will be charged for cards linked to savings accounts. Also, the yearly charges for maintenance fee on foreign currency (FCY) denominated cards is reduced from the initial $20 to $10.
- SMS Alert Charges
Among the changes in the new CBN guidelines include moving of the SMS mandatory alert to be on cost recovery from the previous maximum charge of N4.
Additionally, the charges for hardware’s token will be on a cost recovery basis subject to a maximum of N2,500 from the previous maximum charge of N3,500.
Revised Guide to the New CBN’s Bank Charges Guidelines
In the revised guidelines of the new CBN new Bank Charges, Consumer Protection Regulations alongside guide to the new charges was released. This was done to emphasize clarity on the mapped out roles and regulations of all stakeholders and active players in the industry. They also contain sanctions and disciplinary measures and penalties to banks or any financial institution that fails to adhere to the guidelines. Among the penalties includes;
- Any bank that fails to acknowledge complaints from depositors, will pay a N2m fine. And each week the bank refuses to address customer’s complaints within the mapped out time frame, it will attract a penalty of N500,000 per week.
- Among the regulations includes that, refusal of customer’s complaints by any bank within the prescribed timeline attracts a section of N500,00 per week while the infraction subsists.
- Non-rendition of returns, would also attract a N100,000 fine and N10,000 per day while the infraction subsists.
- Also, any Bank, financial or non-financial institution that fails to comply with the CBN’s directives will pay a penalty of 2m only.
- 2m per client will be charged for non-acknowledgment of customer’s complaints or non-issuance of tracking numbers to customers.
- In cases where the complaints had exhausted the institution’s internal Resolution process, the complaints will be escalated to the CBN. And it will be done within the space of 90 days from the date of the receipt of a decision from an institution.
Additionally, faulting in other regulations that are not mentioned above will also sanctions that have already been mapped out in the CBN ACT, the BOFIA, and other enabling laws and regulations. The Corporate Communication Director, for the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, reiterated that the new bank charges Guideline will, however, reduce the cost of banking services. Hence, deepening the access without much impact on the bottom line of the regulated institution under the Bank’s operational range.
Compliance to the New CBN’s Bank Charges Guidelines
A lot of banks, financial and non-financial institutions that the new guidelines affects have, however, taken to the news outlets to publicize that they have already complied with the new CBN’s charges guidelines. The Banks includes First Bank, Eco Bank, Fidelity Bank among others. Some have also noted that the have gone the extra mile of communicating the new development to their respective customers.
However, it’s no doubt that this new Central Bank of Nigeria new charges guideline geared towards deepening the cashless policy initiative. A policy that encourages Nigerians to save more money in the bank, and reduces the amount of cash being carried around.
Finally, it’s one thing to formulate and ask Banks to adopt good policy, but it’s another thing for the Bank to realistically implement it. Although most Banks have been singing praises of their compliance with the new policy but yet, customers still shout that they are still been shortchanged.
What is your take on this matter and what is the level of compliance with your Bank? Feel free to share with us.