By Emeka Anaeto, Economy Editor
LAGOS — Amidst significant increase in the customer accounts, banks in the country are carrying about 26 million dormant accounts in their books, representing over 30 per cent of their total customer account base.
According to the banking industry customer accounts data of the Nigerian Inter Bank Settlement Scheme, NIBSS, the total bank accounts in the records of the various banks in Nigeria last year were 85 million, of which 59 million were active.
Also, the NIBSS report shows that Nigerians, last year, opened 10.5 million bank accounts.
Further details on the data show that savings accounts, at 58.4 million, still remained the dominant deposit product, accounting for 68.7 per cent of the total bank accounts held.
However, though fixed deposit and other related accounts held was just 3.3 million or less than four per cent of the total number of bank accounts, the report shows that the number of fixed deposit and other accounts grew at 30 per cent last year, a faster rate than both savings and current accounts, which grew by 13 per cent and 11.8 per cent respectively.
The growth rate in customer account openings in the banks appeared to be an indication that the financial inclusion programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was on course.
This corroborated the Bankers’ Committee meeting earlier position that 66 per cent of the country’s adult population had been included in the financial system.
Moreover, the growth rate far outstrips the nation’s population growth rate put at about 2.66 per cent in 2014.
While addressing journalists at the end of the last Bankers’ Committee meeting, CBN’s director of Banking Supervision, Tokunbo Martins, said that 57 million Nigerians, which represent 66 per cent of the bankable population, now have access to financial services.
According to her, “It is very important for 170 million Nigerians to have some form of access to financial services and so I am happy to report that there has been substantial improvement. The target that we are working on is 68.5 per cent by the end of December 2016 and so if that target is achieved, I think we would have gone a long way in alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians.