The Senate on Wednesday requested its committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to summon the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to a session on why the banks’ approved ATM charges are in favour of the banks as opposed to the bank customers.
The investigations by the committees will also include the propriety of ATM Card maintenance charges in comparison to what obtains internationally with a report to be submitted to the Senate thereafter.
The decision to run an inquest into banking practices was put in motion after a motion sponsored by Gbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos East) on “Illicit and Excessive Charges by Nigerian Banks on customers account with particular focus on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Maintenance and Withdrawal Charges”.
Ashafa pointed out there have been numerous complaints from Nigerians concerning illegal deductions by commercial banks with regards to ATM maintenance charges and ATM withdrawal charges.
In 2017, the CBN increased the maintenance fees charged by banks on debit and credit card maintenance from N100 a year to N50 per month (N600 a year) as contained in its “Guide to Charges by Banks and other Financial Institutions”.
The Senator also expressed concern about the dubious practice of most banks who intentionally manipulated their ATM not to dispense more than N20,000 per withdrawal.
“This is a deliberate ploy to manipulate the ATM machines which are ordinarily manufactured to dispense as much as N40, 000 per transaction, in order to attract more bank charges from customers who are forced to carry out more transactions due to the manipulated machines.
“It appears the CBN is becoming insensitive to the plight of Nigerians who are already complaining of excessive charges by commercial banks. If the CBN is trying to encourage a cashless Nigeria, why should they be making it more difficult and expensive for Nigerians to do transactions,” he said.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, also exhorted the CBN to live up to its responsibility to protect the interests of Nigerians.
He also said the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) is not “living to expectation.” Ekweremadu, thereafter, urged the Senate to call the institutions to order and protect the interest of customers.
The Senate, thereafter, urged banks to allow N40,000 maximum per withdrawal through an ATM and not N10,000.