Bank customers are shying away from making cash deposits into their domiciliary accounts three days after the Central Bank of Nigeria lifted the ban on foreign currency deposits, our correspondent has learnt.
The CBN had Monday said holders of ordinary domiciliary accounts were allowed to deposit foreign currencies into their accounts, a move that ended a six-month embargo on the banks from receiving cash deposits from the customers.
Bankers at some branches of Guaranty Trust Bank, First City Monument Bank and First Bank of Nigeria in Lagos told our correspondents on Thursday that customers had not been coming to make dollar deposits.
Industry analysts said the lack of certainty about whether customers could transfer or do transactions with the deposits was the major factor discouraging foreign currency deposits by customers, stating that the central bank needed to address that.
The CBN had on August 5, 2015 banned the payment of cash into domiciliary accounts in a bid to stop illicit financial flows in the Nigerian banking system.
A spokesperson of one of the banks, who pleaded anonymity, said, “The directive from the CBN was silent on whether customers can transfer the deposits, and I know there are concerns about that. Possibly, this is one of the things the Bankers’ Committee might want to discuss at its next meeting.
“I am as confused as the rest of the bank customers. I don’t really understand what the central bank is trying to do. A lot of the things they are saying we are not really clear about it. The banking industry is still very confused.”
The Head, Media and External Relations, FirstBank, Mr. Babatunde Lasaki, said, “People have been coming to deposit money into their domiciliary accounts in our bank.”
A currency strategist at Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ezun, said, “One would have thought that with that directive, there would be opportunity for business. But basically, I think it has a mooted effect on the banks because it doesn’t create any business; rather, it creates more burdens on the banks.
“When you deposit your dollar cash with the bank and the bank has no outlet for those dollar cash, then you create more problems for them because they will need to pay premium on those deposits. Meanwhile, those deposits are not being utilised. Today, the CBN is not allowing the banks to do wire transfers.”
The CBN needs to come back to the banks and perhaps provide a clearer view about how they will use the deposits, Ezun said.
“A lot of banks are not too excited about it (the dollar cash deposit) because it is not going to help their business. What it will only end up doing is that it will make the banks to just accumulate dollar cash in their vaults without any outlets for those dollar cash. So, at the end of the day, the banks are just keeping assets that are not earning any income for them,” he added.
The Head of Investment Research, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Ayodeji Ebo, said, “It won’t be very effective because they also need to address the user end. What I mean by that is that people are not sure of the modality for withdrawal or usage. Most of the banks have not reversed the initial policy regarding the cap that has been placed on debit and credit cards as well as withdrawals.
“You can’t expect me to pay in $1,000 and you are telling me I can only use $300 in a day, or that I can’t use my card. So, we don’t feel that will be very effective because the CBN also needs to address the utilisation or the modality around the usage.”
CBN Maintains 11.5 Percent Monetary Policy Rate, Leaves Other Ratios Unchanged
The Central Bank of Nigeria led Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has left the interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent to further stimulate activities in the real sector of the economy.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this at the end of the MPC meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said other parameters, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Liquidity ratio, and asymmetric corridor, were left unchanged.
According to the Governor, the committee voted unanimously to maintain the current monetary policy and attributed the surge in inflation to structural policies, the increase in pump price and the recent #EndSARS protest.
Highlights of CBN-MPC’s Decision
- MPR was kept at 11.50%
- The asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR
- CRR was retained at 27.5%
- Liquid Ratio was also kept at 30%
Unity Bank Grew Gross Earnings by 8 Percent to N34 Billion in Nine Months
Unity Bank Plc grew gross earnings by 8 percent despite COVID-19 and other headwinds that hurt the profitability of most businesses in the first nine months of the year.
A break down of the bank’s unaudited financial results for the period showed gross earnings rose by 8 percent to N33.91 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2020, up from N31.26 billion posted in the same period of last year.
The lender’s total assets rose by 44 percent from N293.05 billion in the corresponding period of 2019 to N420.87 billion in the period under review.
Unity Bank grew profit before tax from N1.61 billion in 2019 to N1.71 billion in the period under review, while profit after tax expanded from N1.48 billion in the corresponding period to N1.57 billion in 2020.
Customers’ deposits stood at N332.36 billion during the period under review, up from N257.69 billion posted in 2019.
Commenting on the performance, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Unity Bank Plc, expressed delight at the strong growth recorded across the bank’s balance sheet, especially from both the liability and assets side of the business and across key indices.
She said, “even as the bank continues to innovate in its e-business product bouquet to target and support value chain business with robust technology and thus diversify its earnings base.”
Somefun said, “One of the areas that will define our strategic direction going forward is investment in alternative channels, leveraging further deployment of resources in technology.
“COVID-19 gave us a chance to test the integrity and scalability of our technology, the IT infrastructure, and the electronic banking channels, and provided us an opportunity to see where we needed to improve and strengthen, knowing that the future of sustainable banking business is in alternative channels.”
Financial Sector Grew by 6.8 Percent in the Third Quarter
The finance and insurance sector that comprises of both the financial institutions and insurance subsectors grew by 5.91 percent year-on-year in nominal terms in the third quarter (Q3).
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) latest report, the financial institutions’ subsector accounted for 88.89 percent of the sector in real terms in the quarter under review while the insurance subsector contributed the remaining 11.11 percent.
During the third quarter of 2020, the financial institutions’ subsector grew by 6.8 percent in Q3 2020 from 28.41 percent in Q2 2020 and 0.61 percent in Q3 2019 despite COVID-19 and a tough operating environment. The insurance subsector, however, contracted by -18.67 percent in Q3 2020 from -29.53 percent in Q2 2020 and 3.96 percent in Q3 2019.
On a quarterly basis, the sector declined by 24.76 percent.
In terms of contribution to GDP, the finance and insurance sector contributed 2.46 percent in Q3 2020, higher than the 2.40 percent it represented a year ago and lower than the contribution of 3.76 percent achieved in the previous quarter.
The economy contracted by 3.62 percent in the third quarter following a 6.10 percent decline posted in the second quarter. Nigeria is officially in the second economic recession in four years.
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