Customers of commercial banks in Nigeria have expressed dissatisfaction with what they see as excessive charges on their accounts by banks, including account and card maintenance fees.
This is due to the fact that 12 banks in the first half of this year made 120.49 billion naira in income from electronic transactions.
Last year, despite the pandemic and the economic downturn, 12 commercial banks jointly achieved N933.16 billion in profits and 216.52 billion naira in fees on electronic transactions, as customers continue to complain. excessive fees charged to them. make the banks richer.
In addition to account and card maintenance fees, other fees that bank customers still face include: stamp fees, SMS alert fees, ATM fees, electronic transfer fees, etc. . .
A customer of a bank, who expressed his irritation at the account maintenance fees that his commercial bank takes from his deposit, said: “I do not understand the rationale for the account maintenance fees that my bank has. bill me. What is there in my bank account to keep? When you add up this burden among the millions of people who have to pay it, the number is huge! “
Another customer asked, “Cards are issued after payments have been made by cardholders; Why should commercial banks charge customers a card maintenance fee of N50 plus VAT every quarter? The economy is hard enough for Nigerians already, these fees need to be reviewed to reduce the cost of maintaining accounts with banks. “
Another client of the bank, Obinna Ani, expressed concern that banks continue to deduct management fees even when the account or card is not in use.
“A friend of mine who had about N 100,000 in his account before leaving the country came back four years later to find an empty account. They were just deducting fees from an account that wasn’t even in use.
A writer, Ngozi Stanley-Obi, while noting that banks are businesses and must make a profit, however felt that some of the fees were unnecessary.
Ifeanyi Chukwu, videographer and editor, said every month that his bank account was hit by several charges.
“I have savings and a checking account. The savings charge is correct, but the checking account charge is too high. With the volume of transactions I do, I get at least 10,000 N per month. The charges are mainly stamp duty which comes from the government and an SMS alert.
An accountant, Itoro Bassey, noted that she had received an N600 debit for an SMS alert, an amount she said was excessive. However, she did not complain to the bank because of the hassle of entering the bank lobby.
Despite criticism and complaints, banks continue to rake in massive profits.
Between January and June of this year, Zenith, Access, First Bank, Union, Fidelity, Stanbic IBTC, Wema, Unity, GTCO, Sterling, First City Monument Bank and United Bank for Africa jointly achieved an after-tax profit of 404.22 billion naira.
Access Bank achieved the highest income from electronic transactions, posting N29.91 billion in the six-month period. It was closely followed by UBA which made 29.6 billion naira during the same period. Zenith Bank recorded income of N17.05 billion from electronic transactions in the first six months of the year while First Bank recorded income of N14. 4 billion.
GTCO also made 10.49 billion naira through electronic transactions between January and June of this year, while FCMB made 6.68 billion naira. Sterling Bank and Union Bank made 3.59 billion naira and 3.54 billion naira respectively during the same period.
LEADERSHIP previously reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had mentioned that efforts were being made to reduce the cost of service deployment by banks through numerous service initiatives.
CBN Vice Governor, Financial System Stability, Aisha Ahmad, had said a reduction in bank fees was one of the factors being considered to meet financial inclusion goals in the country, even as the umbrella bank plans achieve a financial inclusion target of 95 percent. one hundred by 2024.
In December 2019, the CBN revised the guide to bank charges which came into effect on January 1, 2020. The revised guide boasted of significant reductions in fees that banks charge their customers, one of them being being the reduction of electronic transaction fees.
According to the guide, electronic transfers of 5,000 N and less will have a transaction cost of 10 N plus value added tax (VAT), transfers greater than N 5,000 but less than N 50,000 now incur a transaction fee. 25 N plus VAT, while transfers over 50,000 N attract the N50 plus VAT charge.
The fee on wire transfers had been reduced by the N50 that most banks were charging, compared to the N65 previously charged by banks after third withdrawals on remote ATM transactions on us. The CBN had insisted that banks do not charge more than N 35 per withdrawal.
However, customers complain that they are still charged N65 and some banks charge for every withdrawal, whether it’s the first or the second of the month.
In addition, the maintenance fees on the cards have been reduced from N600 spread throughout the year to N200, a reduction of N400 from what cardholders would have to pay to banks on an annual basis. This means that for cards linked to savings accounts, the maintenance fee has been reduced to a maximum of N50 per quarter, from N50 per month, for an amount of only N200 per year instead of N600.
Likewise, the maintenance fee for foreign currency cardholders has also been reduced to $ 10 or its equivalent from the earlier fee of $ 20 per year.
Other major changes in fees include the removal of card maintenance fees (CAMF) on all cards linked to current accounts, a maximum of one naira per mile for customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and transfers or deposits to customers’ accounts in other banks on current accounts only.