Multiple charges: Banks no longer empathise with customers – Experts

Former President of the Chartered Institute of Banks of Nigeria (CIBN), Okechukwu Unegbu, says Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) no longer empathise with their customers as evidence in multiplicity of service charges on customers’ accounts.

He disclosed this during an interview at the weekend.

“What we have now is a situation where the DMBs pile up so many unexplained charges on their customers without offering any service. Most of the bank officials know next to nothing about banking, and the heads of the banks are also complicit.

“The acting CBN governor, Folashodun Shonubi, should pay particular attention to understanding the DMBs and their customers, and take full charge of regulating their activities,” he advised.

According to him, in the past, the only charges that banks imposed on their customers were the Commission on Turnover (COT) and interest payments on loans, which were strictly regulated by the CBN.

“In the past, banks could not charge above what the CBN had stipulated, but these days they are making more money cunningly. Most of them are there for the money they make.

“The CIBN has discussed this issue severally; that banks should serve their customers with conscience,” he said.

Many Nigerians have complained about the multiple, unexplained charges being deducted from their bank accounts.

According to findings, however, there are specific bank charges approved by the CBN such as an Electronic Funds Transfer charge of N50 for transactions done above N50,000; N25 for N5,000 – N50,000 and N10 charge for below N5,000.

The charge on Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) withdrawals from other banks’ ATMs is N35 for the third withdrawal within the same month.

Card Maintenance Fee for Naira Debit/Credit Cards linked to savings accounts attract a maximum of N50 quarterly maintenance fee, while foreign currency-denominated debit/credit cards attract 10 dollars.

The charge for hardware token is subject to cost recovery to a maximum charge of N2,500.

According to the CBN, the issuance fee for these cards is N1,000 (one-off charge) irrespective of the card type, either regular or premium card. The same charge applies

for a replacement or renewal.

“Intra-Scheme Money Transfer Sending to an account holder attracts a minimum of N50 subject to one per cent of transaction value or N300, whichever is lower. For a non-account holder, it attracts a minimum of N50 subject to 1.5 percent of transaction value or N500, whichever is lower.”

Other approved charges are Status Enquiry at the Request of the Customer, like Confirmation Letter, Embassy Letter, Reference Letter and Letter of Indebtedness/Non-Indebtedness, which attract a rate of N500 per request.

The fee for Short Message Service (SMS) mandatory alert is based on cost recovery from the previous maximum charge of N4. Bill payment via e-channels will attract a maximum charge of N500 from 0.75 per cent of the transaction value subject to a maximum of N1,200.