July 9, 2012 by Ademola Alawiye / Punch
The Central Bank of Nigeria has commenced the revision of charges in the banking industry in order to align its tariff regime with current economic realities.
A circular by the bank on Sunday stated, “The CBN is currently reviewing the extant guide to bank charges, which has been in use since January 2004.
“The review is intended to align the tariff regime in the banking industry with present economic realities and offer a platform for standard application of charges on different types of banking products and services.”
The circular stated that an important component of the exercise was the development of a minimum disclosure requirement that would stipulate the information that banks were required to disclose to all customers prior to the consummation of every credit transaction.
It added, “In order to reduce misrepresentation and ambiguity, a glossary of terms has also been developed to provide clear and simple definition of technical terms used in the guide.
“The overarching goal of the review is to produce a guide that is collectively owned by all the stakeholders in the banking industry with the concomitant feature that it will accommodate the freedom of operators to charge competitive prices, while protecting consumers from arbitrary and excess charges.”
The bank, however, said, it was essential to expose the draft guide for the comments of relevant stakeholders prior to its release to the industry in view of the need to carry along operators and other stakeholders, coupled with the desire of the CBN to uphold the spirit of cooperation among regulators.
The Bankers’ Committee had said late last year that the banks had unanimously endorsed the initiative proposed by the CBN to reduce lending rates through a drastic cost-trimming strategy in line with a new payment regime.
It had said in a statement, “The bankers at their meeting recently agreed to cut down operating expenses by as much as 30 per cent to make funds accessible to borrowers at a lower cost. The e-payment initiative involves a transformation of the payment system and the idea is to permit banks to cut cost through moving the country from its present ‘cash-and-carry’ status to one where people will make payments through electronic channels.”