As part of its effort to address the problems of inefficiency in the banking industry, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled new guidelines on electronic money transfer. The new regulation imposes a sanction of N10,000 on banks for every money transfer that exceeds four minutes.
To that effect, any failed e-transaction without reversal to the customer’s account within 24 hours, based on the complaint of the sender and/or beneficiary, will attract another penalty of N10,000. The fines take effect from October 2, 2018. We support every measure that will enhance the performance of the banks. The satisfaction of customers is the cutting edge of the banking industry and other financial institutions globally and a necessary framework that will help the economy grow.
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The new guidelines and sanctions are contained in a circular on regulation of instant interbank electronic funds transfer services in Nigeria issued to all Deposit Money Banks, Microfinance banks, other financial institutions, mobile money operators, development finance institutions, payment service providers and other stakeholders.
In addition to the sanctions, the CBN said other measures prescribed in the Nigerian Bankers’ Clearing System rule or any other amendment thereto, shall apply. It explains that where a customer’s account is unfunded, the customer is required to provide funds within 24 hours and failure to provide funds “shall be a ground for watch-listing of the customer in the banking industry Credit Bureau and reporting to the law enforcement agencies”.
The document also says that on an occasion where a sender erroneously sends value contrary to the customer’s instructions due to wrong amount to the receiver, both parties have the right to request reversal in writing within 14 working days of the transaction. We commend the apex regulator for initiating this latest plan and prescribing necessary sanctions. It is indicative of the dissatisfaction with the performances of the financial institutions in meeting their customers’ needs. It will help fast track transactions if the sanctions are strictly enforced.
We believe that the apex regulator has perfected the innovation that will monitor any infraction by the banks.
It is high time the banks and other financial institutions became more alive to their duties. Currently, customers are dissatisfied with the services offered by most banks in the country. This directive may be long in coming. Nevertheless, the time is appropriate because of increasing growth in e-payment transactions and the disturbing tide of e-frauds. In this era of globalisation, it is important that the banks and other financial providers embrace prompt financial best practices that will boost public confidence in their operations and services.
It is heartening that the CBN is responding to customers’ complaints and keeping the banks and other financial institutions on their toes. Only recently, CBN responded swiftly to complaint of excess charges by banks by compelling them to refund such excess charges deducted from customers’ accounts for products and services with interest. According to the Customer Complaints management and Protection Department of CBN, between 2012 and July 2018, N65bn excess charges were refunded to customers. These excess charges were mainly through the ATM withdrawals.
It is cheering that customers are becoming aware that they deserve better services. It is in that regard that we agree with the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) urging the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN) to demand good services from banks. It will stimulate the economy if financial institutions can make transactions within the shortest possible time as required by the new CBN regulation.