The Human and Environmental Development Agenda Resource Centre has asked the Consumer Protection Council to review and investigate recent growing concerns over fraudulent and ridiculous financial service charges and deduction rates, especially in the banking sector.
In a petition forwarded to the Director of the organisation and signed by HEDA’s Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the Resource Center said there are several allegations of arbitrary, unauthorized and unfair charges or deductions on the savings and current accounts of consumers by banks in Nigeria.
It also added that these arbitrary and unfair deductions also include reports of the imposition of charges that are not transparent and communicated in advance to customers.
The petition reads: “It is observed that some of the charges or deductions are not in tandem with the provisions of the most recent 2017 CBN Guide on financial charges.
“Particularly, the charge of a N50 stamp duty charge on all deposits made to current and savings accounts by banks comes to the fore, especially as there is a court decision in Standard Chartered Bank Limited v. Kasmal International Services Ltd, where it was held that based on the provisions of the Stamp Duties Act, there is no provision authorizing the deduction and remittance of the N50 stamp duty on deposits.
“It is unfortunate that banks have continued to charge the said duty on customers’ deposits without any justification for same.
“Another notorious charge introduced by banks to unjustly fleece Nigerians is the card maintenance fee which there is no obvious explanation for its introduction, where card holders are recorded to have paid a particular amount to get the card in the first place.
“The banks still charge customers bank maintenance fee and account maintenance fee at the end of every month.”
The Resource Center therefore called on the Council to “use your good office as a regulator of corporate environment in service delivery to urgently intervene in this development and ensure that hardworking Nigerians are not fleeced unjustly and unduly in a flagrant exhibition of systemic corruption and a fundamental banking fraud aimed at impoverishing Nigerians”.