The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Tuesday that it is considering adopting a template of fines and other sanctions against any bank found to have made illegal deductions or charges on customers’ accounts without evidence of commensurate justification in service quality.
The apex bank said it has been inundated with complaints by customers over sundry charges not related to services rendered.
It said it had already constituted a Consumer Protection Department to deal with issues relating to customers’ complaints from their dealings with banks.
The Chief Operating Officer of Sterling Bank, Yemi Adeola, at the end of the Bankers Committee meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the special department to take care of consumer protection is a demonstration of the committee’s commitment to ensure that the consumer derives the maximum benefit from banks.
Noting that the incidences of multiple charges by banks have become a great source of concern to the apex bank, Mr. Adeola urged consumers to lodge their complaints to the Consumer Protection Department for thorough investigations and punishment of any bank found culpable.
“The CBN will not take lightly to issues of overcharging of customers by banks and that is why we have issued several exposure drafts and one of them is the guide to banking charges. This is a contract between banks and their customers,” he said.
“It will detail the charges the bank intends to make on the customers so that they will be aware before hand and also to avoid unnecessary charges that are not in the contract.”
The committee agreed that if there are evidences of overcharging, any bank found to have made such deductions would be refunded to customers, and in extreme cases, will be penalized in accordance with the law.
On the spate of retrenchment by some banks in recent months, the Managing Director of Skye Bank, Durosinmi-Etti, said no worker had been forcefully relieved of his or her appointment without due process, noting that the exercise in the few banks followed discussions between the unions and the banks and also with the staff.
“It is a process that has been going on for a while. Anytime there is a job loss, people are not happy but for effective business, such decisions need to be taken. Banks have to deliver returns to their shareholders and also balance their books. But, in some banks, there has been positive trends as in my own bank, we recently promoted over 50 per cent of our staff,” he said.