Senate Order Probe Of Commercial Banks Over Illicit, Excessive Charges

The Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, directed its Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to investigate allegations of illicit and excessive charges by deposit money banks in the country.

The Senator also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to look into complaints of Nigerians in this regard, and possibly review downward all bank charges on account holders.

The resolutions followed the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Patrick Abba Moro, who noted several complaints from Nigerians over illicit and excessive charges by Nigerian banks on their customer accounts.

Such charges and deductions, he said, range from bank SMS charges, intra-bank transfer charges in the sum of N52.59 Kobo, ATM Card renewal charges, and account maintenance charges in the sum of N93.13 kobo.

“These charges being deducted from customers’ accounts by banks have caused uproar within the public as Nigerians have expressed their dissatisfaction and displeasure over such excessive deductions which they feel are fraudulent and targeted at further impoverishing Nigerians,” he noted further.

He recalled that in April 2017, the CBN revised the card maintenance charges in a new guideline, from N100 annually to N50 monthly.

“According to the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIESS), the Central data base for banking transactions in the country showed that as at September 30, 2016, there were 29.4 million active cards being used by the 63 million active bank customers.

“Thus, bank Customers in Nigeria will pay not less than N1.462bn to banks as card maintenance charges every month, totaling about N17.544 billion in a year,” the lawmaker said.

For him, “questions are being asked by Nigerians as to what the money being deducted for the charges is for as countries overseas do not charge their customers in like manner.

“Nigerian banks in a bid to further extort customers have set most of their ATM machines to dispense cash below the maximum sum of N40,000 that ATMs are programmed to dispense per transaction.

“This customers using the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) do not have a choice than to withdraw much lesser amounts per transactions thereby incurring additional cost of N65 Naira per transaction after using another Bank’s ATM machines beyond three times.”