As banks’ customers continue to groan under the several charges imposed on them by commercial banks in the country, the Consumer Protection Council said it is in discussions with them as well as regulators in the financial industry to ensure a reduction of charges.
Customers have been subjected to charges of several kinds in the country, ranging from account maintenance charge, ATM card charges, ATM transaction charges to stamp duty charges amongst others.
The CPC said it decided to take the initiative following rising complaints by customers of excessive baking charges, unexplainable fees and unfair contracts.
The Director General of the CPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, who noted that it was time banking fees were regulated, warned that that banks had for long crossed the red line and the impunity must stop.
He noted that excessive commissions on transactions, huge ATM charges, onerous overdraft interest charges, charges for introduction letters, periodic statements and regular forms like deposit and transfer forms, and the new stamp duty, were disincentives and a huge burden to bank customers who would readily pay reasonable charges for the services the banks render.
While describing the situation as unacceptable to the CPC, he hinted that ahead of its early next year show-down with the banks, discussions with regulators and stakeholders in the financial services sector on the vexed issue had since commenced.
He said the CPC was already moving towards finalising a broader memorandum of understanding it had with the regulators before.
He stressed that the onus was now on the banks to encourage Nigerians to keep their money with them and not scare them away with excessive charges.
Irureka further hinted that the agency was already in talks with the consumer and payment departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with a view to saving consumers of banking services and restoring sanity in the way banking transactions were carried out so that the economy could grow.