Banks customers on Monday commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its move in slashing various banks charges.
According to The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports customers in Abuja on Monday described the development as the right step in the right direction.
On Sunday, the apex bank in a new guidelines anounced the downward review of most charges and fees for banking services, other financial, and non-bank financial institutions, with effect from January 1, 2020.
Among the charges, CBN said bank customers will now pay N10 for electronic transfers below N5,000, and N25 for electronic transfer between N5,000 and N50,000. Only electronic transfer above N50,000 will attract N50 charge.
Previously, bank customers pay N50 charge for electronic transfers below N500,000.
The guide also slashed charges for cash withdrawal via Other bank’s ATM to “maximum of N35 after the third withdrawal within the same month” from “N65 after the third withdrawal within the same month”.
A bank customer, Mr James Onumah said that the CBN’s directive was a new year gift to the all bank customers.
Onumah said most Nigerian banks were still characterised with some inefficiencies yet they charge customers for services they didn’t provide.
He explained that withdrawal charges of about N65 being taken from bank users by banks was exploitative and uncalled for.
Mrs Hadiza Maikarfi said the announcement was a cheering news for her at the weekend.
Maikarfi said various bank charges before the reduction were too high for customers like her could bear urging the apex bank to still review them downward.
According to her, these charges can discourage people from getting involved in financial services thereby affecting financial inclusion being promoted by the bank.
Sani Nura, another bank customer urged CBN to supervise banks to ensure the directive was carried out and implemented fully.
Nura added that the bank’s charges reduction by the apex bank was timely due to the current hardship being experienced by the citizens.
Funke Akin told NAN that she had been celebrating over the reduction as anounced by CBN.
Akin said she was particularly happy over the removal of card maintenance charges adding that she never understood the essence of such charges by banks.
According to Mr Isaac Okorafor, the bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, the guidelines will take effect from Jan. 1, 2020.
Okorafor, while briefing newsmen said the step was in furtherance of the bank’s quest to make financial services more accessible and affordable to various stakeholders in the economy.
He explained that some major highlights of the new guidelines included the removal of Card Maintenance Fee (CAMF) on all cards linked to current accounts.
He said there would be a maximum of one Naira per mille for customer induced debit transactions to third parties and transfers or lodgments to the customers’ account in other banks on current accounts only.
Okorafor explained that it all involves reduction in the amount payable for cash withdrawals from other banks’ Automated Teller Machines as Remote-on-Us transactions.
The director said the reduction was from N65 to N35 after the third withdrawal within one month.
According to him, other reductions include Advance Payment Guarantee (APG), now pegged at maximum of one per cent of the APG value in the first year and 0.5 per cent for subsequent years on contingent liabilities.
On debit card charges, Okorafor said that the new guide stipulated that a one-off charge of N1,000 applied to the issuance of cards, irrespective of card type regular or premium.
He noted that the same one-off charge of N1,000 applied for the replacement of debit cards at the customer’s instance for lost or damaged cards.
According to Okorafor, upon expiry of existing cards, customers are to pay the same one-off charge of N1,000 irrespective of card type and no charge should be required for pre-paid card loading or unloading.
He explained that the current NIBSS Instant Payments (NIP) charges applied to use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), purchase with cash-back would attract a charge of N100 per N20,000 subject to cumulative N60,000 daily withdrawal.
The CBN spokesman noted that for cards linked to savings account, the maintenance fee had been reduced to a maximum of N50 per quarter from N50 per month amounting to only N200 per annum instead of N600.
The director hinted that there would be no more charges for reactivation or closure of accounts such as savings, current and domiciliary accounts while status enquiry at the request of the customer like confirmation letter, letter of non-indebtedness and reference letter would now attract a fee of N500 per request.
“On Current Account Maintenance Fee (CAMF), the guide expressly stated that this would be applicable only to current accounts in respect of customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers and lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank.
“It emphasised that CAMF is not applicable to Savings Accounts.
“CBN carried out the review of the guide, which also prescribes charges permissible for Other Financial Institutions and non-bank financial institutions, in order to align with market developments.
“To guard against excess, unapproved or arbitrary charges by banks and other financial institutions, the guide stipulates a penalty of N2,000,000 per infraction or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time for financial institutions that breach any provision of the guide.
“The guide also emphasised that failure by any bank to comply with CBN’s directive in respect of any infraction shall attract a further penalty of N2,000,000 daily until the directive is complied with or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time. ”
He said that the CBN, has directed banks to log every complaint received from their customers into the Consumer Complaints Management System (CCMS) in addition to generating a unique reference code for each complaint lodged, which must be given to the customer.
According to him, failure to log and provide the code to the customer will amount to a breach and is sanctionable with a penalty of N1,000,000 per breach. NAN
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Nigerian stock market opens with N119 billion loss
Nigerian equities market resumed trading on Monday with a loss of 0.91 per cent as a result of profit taking in some blue chips.
Speficially, the All-Share Index which opened the week at 25,182.67 lost 228.35 points or 0.91 per cent to close at 24,954.32.
Accordingly, Month-to-Date and Year-to-Date losses increased to -1.2 per cent and -7.0 per cent, respectively.
Also, the market capitalisation shed N119 billion or 0.91 per cent to close at N13.017 trillion against N13.136 trillion posted on Thursday.
The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN), BUA Cement, Zenith Bank, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and Guaranty Trust Bank.
Analysts at United Capital Plc said: “Looking ahead, we expect the market to remain volatile, as investors lock funds in cheap and fundamentally sound stocks, while taking profit on some stocks that gained last week.”
Consequently, market breadth closed negative with 16 stocks compared with 25 decliners.
Prestige Assurance led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dropping by 10 per cent, to close at 63k, per share.
Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals followed with 9.73 per cent to close at N2.32, while AIICO Insurance shed 9.32 per cent to close at N1.07, per share.
ETI dropped 7.34 per cent to close at N5.05, while UACN Property Development dipped 6.73 per cent to close at 97k, per share.
Conversely, Fidson Healthcare and Red Star Express led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, appreciating by 10 per cent each to close at N3.30 and N3.63 per share, respectively.
Cornerstone Insurance followed with a gain 9.80 per cent to close at 56k, per share.
Honeywell Flour Mills rose by 9.78 per cent to close at N1.01, while Unity Bank appreciated by 8.77 per cent to close at 62k, per share.
In the same vein, the total volume traded declined by 29.51 per cent with an exchange of 237.65 million shares, worth N1.61 billion, and traded in 4,808 deals.
This was in contrast with a total of 337.13 million shares valued at N3.41 billion achieved in 3,880 deals on Thursday.
Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings topped the activity chart with 24.35 million shares worth N128.76 million.
Zenith Bank followed with 24.14 million shares valued at N392.36 million, while FCMB Group accounted for 19.47 million shares valued at N33.48 million.
Caverton Offshore traded 17.37 million shares worth N39.02 million, while United Bank for Africa transacted 14.64 million shares valued at N95.74 million.
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