Vanguard News Nigeria

CBN returns N65bn excess charges in 7 years

…CIBN implores BCAN to advocate for service charters
•…Expert cautions on banking relationship with minors

By Elizabeth Adegbesan

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said it has returned to N65 billion excess charges deducted from bank customers’ account in 7 years.

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele

Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has called on the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN) to demand service charter from banks which would guide members of the public  when applying for bank services.

Speaking in Lagos  at the BCAN  organised  3rd biennial bank customers summit titled: “ Rights and Obligations of Bank customers”, Acting Director Consumer Protection Department, CBN  Mr. T.Y Ahmed said: “Between 2012 and July 2018 we have returned over N65 billion and I can tell you some customers and I mean individuals has got as much as N3 billion.

“ I hope you are aware that for now your complaint shouldn’t be more than six years old. Why are we saying not more than six years old is to look at other relevant status. We have the Anti money laundering Act, we have the Evidence Act.”

Speaking on customers rights and obligations on loans and advances, Council CIBN,  Mrs. Yvonne Isichie, said: “There should be service charters so that when you go in you know what you are asking for and then you should know the standards,  to now define what your expectation would be.

“So we are imploring you to take it up so that by the next two years we would see something good.”

President BCAN, Dr. Uju Ogubunka in his response, assured Isichie, saying “Let me confirm that we would do just that. We will start by requesting all  banks to submit their charters and if they don’t have any, we will expect them to submit one. We will not stop at that. When we get theses charters if we do and hope we may.  We will subject them to scrutiny to confirm that the contents would satisfy the needs of bank customers”.

On his part, Dean, Caleb University, Mr. Segun Ajibola stressed the need for a good banker- customer relationship while highlighting the dangers of  involving minors in banking relationship and operations

He said: “At times we have this confusion. We know that a bank is regulated by law. CIBN Act 2007, Banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) Act 2005  and so many others define what constitute a bank. There is one problem with what constitute a banker. Within the banking hall you enter there are bankers and there are bank workers, so you run into problems when you rely on bank workers. Somebody who has not been trained in arts and science of banking pretending to be a banker, searching the interest of customers and most problems we have today even when they are least to little  come out of fair ignorance on the part of those who should know but they don’t know.

“We must remember in an environment like ours where so many things are being redefined it is a  quite note of a bank contract that you must attain the age of majority. Therefore in Nigeria today anybody that is below the age of 18 cannot valuably hold a bank account. Then you will ask me, we all open accounts for our children in school. Banks go round now to say children account, this account, that account. You know the law is so dormant that is why we say the law is a horse. Nobody will raise any issue but let there be a problem. That child cannot sue that bank because any account that is opened below the age of 18 is not recognized in law.

“If anything goes wrong that bank cannot sue that child. The juvenile court system in Nigeria is still on a confused state so when the bank is opening accounts with school children and so on and so forth and there are problems. Beware.

“ What of those that even come to the bank environment and they say I am here for an Industry Attachment (IT). One IT staff collected money from the strong room one day and he jumped the fence with N50 million. Everybody was working in the banking hall, the guy was on the run. By the time everybody discovered that this guy, age of 17 had disappeared from the banking hall, they were looking for the guarantor but maybe the guarantor is, with due respect a driver, maybe his mother is a petty trader, maybe the brother that signed the form for him maybe he is an applicant. What kind of relationship do we go into with the minors?

“What are the issues as at today? Banking is a conservative profession reserved only for noble men given its origin which we know through the consulate of 18the century that were off proven integrity and the conservative posture of banking agree with us on law. Then suddenly, the rule changed where banking licences were regulated and made available to the highest bidder. A line of demarcation was then drawn between professional banking and entrepreneurial banking contrary to the whole order”, he said.

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