Millions of Automated Teller Machines, ATM, users in the country will soon get a breather as the Bankers’ Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Tuesday, approved the immediate removal of the N100 charge on customers who use a different bank’s ATM.
Also, the apex bank and the apex capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, are to jointly examine and monitor the activities of stock broking firms in the country.
These were part of the resolutions reached at the end of the Committee’s meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
Since the introduction of the cashless policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, more than two years ago, bank customers have always complained about questionable charges for services, which sometimes are not rendered by their banks.
Managing Director of First Bank Plc, Bisi Onasanya, told reporters at the end of the meeting that the decision was taken in order to minimise the financial burden on bank customers and make services more friendly to encourage the financially excluded Nigerians gain more access to banking services.
Mr. Onasanya said the free inter-bank ATM regime would become effective immediately, pointing out, however, that the banks would have to agree on the modalities for the implementation of the new decision.
“We have jointly today at the Bankers Committee’s meeting agreed to stop charges for usage of ATMs. Presently when you use the ATM of a bank other than your bank, there is a charge of a N100 which is borne by the account holder.
“We have decided that we will work out the modalities and ensure that with immediate effect we would pass on this cost to the respective banks, we will bear the cost of providing services so that no matter wherever you are drawing your money you would not be subjected to any charge for using the ATMs.
Mr. Onasanya explained that the directive does not cover withdrawals inside the banking hall when the ATMs are on.
“For instance, when you are a First Bank customer and you use the ATM of GTBank, it is free, you don’t bear any cost,” Mr. Onasanya said.
CBN to supervise stockbrokers
As part of the apex bank’s effort to ensure financial stability, CBN’s Director, Banking Supervision Department, Agnes Martins, said it would be working with the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, to supervise major stock broking companies in the country.
She said the primary target of the planned exercise would be broking entities owned by holding companies under the new banking reform.
“Going forward, we are going to be working with the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out joint examination of top broking firms,” Ms. Martins said.
“Presently, we supervise the banks, but in the interest of financial stability, we are going to be working with SEC to supervise the broking firms, especially those that are owned by holding companies under the new banking reforms. This is just to ensure that financial stability is maintained,” she said.
Other decisions by the Committee include plans by banks to put in place a Mortgage Liquidity Facility to support the Federal Government’s initiative to provide more affordable housing to the growing middle class population.
The initiative, according to the Committee, followed banks’ concern over the rising cost of housing in the country and the need to support Nigerians who are desirous of owning their houses through mortgage financing.
Yaaay… This is a good thing though… What ya think?