four commercial banks operating in the country generated about N49bn from maintaining customers’ accounts in 2017, the annual reports of the banks showed.
This an increase of N16.4bn over the total amount (N32.6bn) the four banks made from maintenance charges paid by their customers through savings, current and term deposits.
The four banks are Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc.
Of the four banks, Access Bank led others by percentage while Zenith Bank led in value generated from customers’ account maintenance fees in 2017.
Access Bank reported a total of N6.45bn account maintenance charge and handling commission in 2017, which showed an increase of about 147 per cent over N2.6bn recorded in 2016.
With N27.7bn, Zenith Bank reported an increase of 59.5 per cent in its account maintenance fees as against N17.37bn earned in 2016. The GTBank’s account maintenance charges closed 2017 at N9.4bn, an increase of 11.4 per cent over N8.4bn made in 2016.
The UBA reported 29 per cent increase in its account maintenance fee, amounting to N5.4bn in 2017 as against N4.2bn reported in 2016.
Aside from the 29 per cent increase in account maintenance fees, the pan African bank also charged its customers N1bn commission on turnover. It was N907m in 2016.
Financial market analysts said the managements of some of the banks lacked ideas on how to find alternative sources of fees and commission.
They said that many commercial banks were engaging in exorbitant charges of customers and noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria had failed to sanction such banks.
The CBN had indirectly reintroduced Commission on Turnover fee as the Current Account Maintenance fee. The apex bank in 2013 commenced the phased reduction of the CoT, which terminated with the zero CoT charge this year.
But in a circular to banks recently, the CBN replaced the CoT with CAM but subject to a maximum of N1 per N1,000 mille.
The circular was titled, “Introduction of Negotiable Current Account Maintenance Fee Not Exceeding N1/mille.
It stated, “The revised guide to bank charges which came into effect on April 1, 2013 provides for a phased elimination of the COT charges in the Nigerian banking industry. Under the guidelines, a zero COT regime was to come into effect from January 2016.”
The CBN noted that while the gradual phase out was being observed, some banks continued to charge account maintenance fee in addition to the reduced COT rate, which in effect amounted to double coincidence of charges.
It stated, “The CBN is not oblivious of the impact of declining crude oil prices, operation of Treasury Single Account, and other market turbulence on the viability and stability of the banking system.
“In furtherance of the mandate to promote and safeguard a sound financial system in Nigeria, banks are by this circular reminded that the 2016 Zero COT regime as jointly agreed during the 311th Bankers Committee meeting of February 12, 2013 has come into effect. In the interest of stability of the banking system, a Negotiable Current Account Maintenance Fee not exceeding N1 per mille may be charged in respect of all customer-induced debit transactions. Please ensure strict compliance.”