The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been urged to go beyond addressing arbitrary and excessive bank charges, and include poor service delivery, for consolidation of the achievements of the sector reforms.
Rendering the advice, analysts argue that paying higher charges after long hours in banking halls, or on queues for ATM services could not be justified.
Friday Ameh, an energy analyst is one of those who support this view. He says the proposed action will only be meaningful if it is extended to the current poor services being dished out to customers.
“Good as the action is, it should be extended to poor service quality being offered by banks, for customers to enjoy the full benefits of consolidation,”
Johnson Chukwu, managing director and chief executive officer, Cowry Asset Management limited, said the drop in service standards in some banks, may be on account of poor management, rather than branch consolidation and staff rationalisation.
The CBN had last Sunday expressed its preparedness to address complaints of arbitrary and excessive charges in the banking industry, through a review of the guide to bank charges which had been in operation since 2004.
The new CBN extant guide to address the customer concerns on the charges, recommends that for current accounts in credit balance, what should be attainable is an interest rate of 0.5 percent per annum, payable monthly on daily balance of N500, 000 and above.
Similarly, for savings and deposit accounts, it recommended a minimum of three per cent per annum, on daily balance, which shall not be subject to any condition.
“Lending rates, should be Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) + maximum of eight per cent (customer must be notified at least 48 hours before the application of the new rate),” it added. For processing/renewal fee, it also said that the fee shall be “negotiable, subject to maximum of one per cent of the principal (one off charge).”
Salisu Akus, a human resources expert with the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc, who is concerned about the impact of the charges on banks, observes that customers experience with any organisation could have a ripple effect on patronage, as customers tend to inform others of their experiences on charges and quality of service delivery.
Akus observes: “Research has shown that the average customer tells at least nine others. Nine may not be a large number to some organisations, but how many potential customers do you think these nine others tell?”