By Babajide Komolafe
LAGOS — Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said, yesterday, that the apex bank recovered N6 billion from banks as excess charges deducted from customers within the last one year.
Speaking in Lagos at the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) forum, Sanusi said consumer protection was critical to attracting the unbanked into the banking system.
He said: “We set up consumer protection in CBN in 2010. In the last one year, we recovered about N6 billion unjustified charges by banks on their customers. And that is a small percentage of excess charges. We are requiring every bank to invest in consumer protection because it is very critical. Until there is consumer protection, there would not be financial inclusion. “
On the implementation of the cashless policy, Sanusi said though there were still challenges, significant progress had been made. He said, for example, average electronic payment transaction had risen to N4 billion per month from N120 million
He said: “A lot of progress has been made. At the beginning of this year,Lagoshad about 11,000 POS terminals. Now we have about 150,000 with about 25,000 being active. Even recent initiatives like mobile banking have led to upspring in electronic bank transactions. Before we used to have about N20 million transaction monthly, now it is about N4 billion through the electronic platforms.
“The progress between January and December 2012 has been commendable. Though we still have a long way to go. We have power, infrastructure issues, among others to tackle. This is critical not only for financial inclusion but also critical to tackling money laundering.”
New framework comming
Sanusi disclosed that as part of measures to attract the unbanked through agency banking, the apex bank would introduce the framework that would define the mode of operation for agency banking
He said the draft exposure of the framework was ready and it was being fined-tuned by the CBN Committee of Governors.
He said issues relating to number of agents, type and nature of agents including considerations for super agents were critical areas being considered in the draft exposure, adding that all the processes for this line of banking to become functional in the country would be finalised this year-end.
On the benefits of agency banking, Sanusi said: “Agency banking provides financial services to the widely dispersed population at affordable prices and has assisted some countries in decongesting existing customers from crowded branches and will equally serve same purpose inNigeria.
“Agency banking provides financial services by a third-party agent to customers on behalf of a licenced , prudentially-regulated financial institution.”