The Central Bank of Nigeria has advised bank customers who suspect fraud or compromise, whether in their accounts or in respect of information concerning their transactions in any bank, to promptly report to the relevant authorities.
In a sideline interview with Financial Street, CBN Director Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said it would be very difficult for the apex bank to take action on a matter that is unknown to it.
Mr. Okorafor explained that though the CBN had come up with an initiative to curb illegal deductions by banks, customers must also play their part by being alert at all times.
“You cannot force me to carry out judgement on an issue that is unknown to me. What you have to do is to look for a customer that is a victim of such fraud. Let the customer complain formally to the bank, and if not satisfy with the bank’s position, then the apex bank can now take action according to lay down policy,”
CBN Director, Consumer Protection Department, Umma Dutse, remarked, “An unhealthy relationship precipitates grievances and dislocations, which compromise the efficiency of the financial system. Crucially, we have discovered that the biggest recrimination against bank customers, which in turn negatively affects the banker/customer relationship, is that majority of bank customers abdicate their duty of knowledge.”
Umma, who spoke at a summit organised by Bank Customers’ Association of Nigeria in Lagos recently, said, “Permit me to stress that this duty represents the greatest duty customers owe themselves in particular, and the financial system in general.
“To me, it is the fulcrum on which customers should rely in their relationship with their banks far above the assurances of such banks and the intervention of the regulator.
“I wish to reiterate that we at the consumer protection department of the CBN are keenly aware of both the expectations and realities of the bank-customer relationship in the Nigerian banking industry. While the expectations are appropriate and in line with best practice, the same cannot be said of the realities that daily confront us; realities that are often antithetical to our collective quest for a mutually beneficial relationship between the banks and their customers,” he said.
Responding, President of BCAN, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, said “it is quite possible for the bank to refund any money that has been illegally deducted, if the customer can come up with evidence concerning that issue. But if the bank in question feels irritated, it can go to court, after all everyone has the right to go to court.”