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Banking Sector

Jubilation as Court Orders CBN, NDIC to Pay Bank Workers N5.7 Billion

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First Bank

Jubilation erupts as the bank representatives received a judgment in their favour as the National Industrial Court ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to pay over N5.7bn terminal benefits to over 1,000 bank workers affected by the re-capitalisation exercise of 2006.

The court ordered the CBN and NDIC to pay the money within three months, starting from the day the judgment was issued, and will start attracting 10 percent interest thereafter.

While delivering the judgment on Monday, Justice Paul Bassi ordered the two bodies to pay another N10m as general damages to the claimants.

Justice Bassi overlooked the earlier objections raised by the defendants and while the two parties, CBN and NDIC have acted in the general good by raising the capital base of banks in the country, and should not be affected to the detriment of the former employees, Investors King observed. 

According to a media report, “By revoking the banking licenses of the non-consolidated banks, the defendants interfered with the employment contracts of the bank workers, a contract which would ordinarily have run its natural course with the claimants paid their benefits at the end.

The banking institutions have been in the tussle with one another since the consolidation exercise of 2006 that led banks to recapitalise from N2bn to N25bn.

The banks did not meet the expected requirement for the recapitalisation requirements and their banking licenses were revoked by the apex which later placed the NDIC as the liquidator. This led the bank workers to sue the two organisations while they demanded their terminal benefits. 

The two defendants objected to different issues saying that they “were not the employers of the workers and the suit disclosed no cause of action against them.”

Over one thousand people had approached the court since 2018.

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Banking Sector

Tinubu Aide Urges CBN Governor to Consider Political Impact of Economic Reforms

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

Tunde Rahman, a senior aide to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, has said Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Olayemi Cardoso must start factoring in the political effects of CBN’s decisions.

In his piece, titled “Navigating the Dilemma: Political Considerations in Economic Reforms,” sheds light on the complexities facing Cardoso as he seeks to stabilize Nigeria’s economy.

Rahman’s commentary shared through the Presidency’s official channels, acknowledged the challenges Cardoso confronts, particularly regarding the country’s currency devaluation and the contentious plan to relocate CBN staff from Abuja.

While Rahman refrained from direct criticism of Cardoso’s policies since his appointment by Tinubu, he underscored the necessity for the CBN governor to strike a delicate balance between economic imperatives and political sensitivities.

The upcoming meeting of the monetary policy committee presents a pivotal juncture for Cardoso, where discussions are expected to revolve around potential interest rate hikes to counter inflation and bolster the national currency.

Rahman’s insights underscore the high stakes involved in these decisions, especially given the public outcry over soaring living costs and inflation rates nearing three-decade highs.

Cardoso’s commitment to orthodox central banking, following a period marked by blurred monetary and fiscal policy lines, reflects his determination to navigate Nigeria’s economic landscape with prudence.

Nonetheless, Rahman’s op-ed serves as a reminder of the intricate interplay between economic reforms and political realities, urging Cardoso to exercise flexibility in policymaking, especially in matters with broader political implications.

As Nigeria grapples with economic challenges, the spotlight remains firmly fixed on Cardoso and the CBN’s response to the nation’s evolving financial landscape.

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Banking Sector

CBN’s New Foreign Currency Gateway Bank Raises Concerns Over Nigerian Banks’ Liquidity: Fitch Ratings

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s announcement of a new Foreign Currency Gateway Bank has stirred concerns over the liquidity of Nigerian banks, according to recent commentary from credit rating agency Fitch Ratings.

The proposed bank, designed to centralize correspondent banking activities, has prompted Fitch to issue cautionary remarks regarding its potential impact on the banking sector’s foreign currency (FC) liquidity.

Governor of the CBN, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, unveiled plans for the Foreign Currency Gateway Bank to streamline and centralize correspondent banking functions, currently dominated by two major banks.

The initiative is part of the CBN’s efforts to address Nigeria’s persistent forex crisis.

Fitch Ratings expressed apprehension, highlighting the potential negative effects on the banking sector’s FC liquidity.

The agency noted that the centralization of correspondent banking activities, coupled with recent measures by the CBN, might exacerbate liquidity challenges for Nigerian banks.

Furthermore, Fitch cautioned that the recent devaluation of the naira, coupled with the CBN’s circular prohibiting banks from holding net long foreign currency positions, could further strain FC liquidity.

The prohibition on net long FC positions may leave banks more vulnerable to naira depreciation, potentially affecting their capital positions.

The CBN’s move to harmonize different segments of the foreign currency market last June led to significant naira devaluation, with the local currency closing at 899/$ at the official market by the end of last year.

As of February 13, the naira experienced a second devaluation, reaching 1,516/$, marking a 40% devaluation.

While the shift away from a managed exchange rate regime aims to attract capital inflows and mitigate forex shortages, it poses short-term risks such as heightened inflation and potential strains on loan quality and capital adequacy within the banking sector, as highlighted by Fitch Ratings.

As discussions continue, stakeholders closely monitor the implications of the proposed Foreign Currency Gateway Bank on Nigeria’s financial landscape.

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Banking Sector

CBN Mandates Automated Transaction Monitoring to Combat Fraud in Nigeria

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced new regulations mandating banks to implement automated transaction monitoring systems to combat the growing threat of fraud in the country’s financial sector.

Under the CBN’s latest ‘Consumer Protection Regulations’ draft, banks are required to adopt advanced measures to protect customers’ assets and prevent fraudulent activities.

These measures include multi-variant customer identification, multifactor authentication mechanisms for transactions, automated transaction monitoring, alert functions, and behavioral monitoring.

The move comes amid a significant rise in fraud cases across Nigeria, with the first half of 2023 witnessing 24,232 reported fraud cases totaling N12.33 billion.

The banking industry has seen 110 executives and junior staff members dismissed due to fraud-related offenses amounting to N82 billion over the past two years.

According to the CBN, sensitizing customers on fraud threats or scams and providing secure and simple user interfaces for digital financial services are crucial steps to minimize the risk of fraudulent activities.

The regulations emphasize the importance of continuous efforts to enhance cybersecurity and protect consumers in an increasingly digital financial landscape.

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