Finance: Nigerian parliament goes after commercial banks over excessive charges, summons CBN chief

The lawmaking body asks the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the excessive ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers.

The Nigerian parliament on Wednesday, directed the commercial banks in the country to configure the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to dispense N40,000 per transaction.

The banks currently charge N65 per withdrawal on ATMs after the third attempt at a free rate while the majority of the bank ATMs are configured to dispense N10,000 per withdrawal.

The lawmaking body also passed a resolution calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the excessive ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers.

The resolution came as part of a motion on theillicit and excessive bank charges on customers accounts, sponsored by Senator Olugbenga Ashafa (Lagos East, APC).

Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate, said: “This is a motion that affects the lives of every Nigerian — irrespective of what part of the country you come from or whatever political affiliation you might have. This is why we are here: to always defend and protect the interests of the Nigerian people.”

The senators called on banks to review their charges.

Nigerian senate investigates CBN and commercial banks

They invited CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele to appear before the Senate to explain why the official charges as approved by the CBN are skewed in favour of the banking institutions as against the ordinary customers of the banks.

The Senate further directed its Committees on Banking, Insurance & other Financial Institutions and Finance to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate.

CBN recovers N65 billion illegal charges from banks

In July 2018, Nigeria’s apex bank said it recovered over N65 billion from commercial banks for wrongful deductions and illegal charges on deposits of customers and other transactions in the banking industry.

The amount, which had accumulated since 2012, the Central Bank said it had been transferred back to their legitimate owners, who lodged complaints with the apex bank as customers continue to groan over illegal bank charges.

As Nigerians await the outcome of the Senate investigations, charges and illegal deductions by the commercial banks eat deep into citizen’s personal savings.

If the apex bank wants to meet the 2020 targets set out in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) of 2012.

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