The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) has imposed a hefty fine of N120 million against Stanbic-IBTC Bank for its failure to fulfill a customer’s transfer request.
The decision, delivered yesterday in a split verdict of two to one, found the bank guilty of contravening key provisions of the FCCP Act, 2018 and the Central Bank of Nigeria Regulation on Instant Interbank Electronic Transfers.
The tribunal’s lead judgment, delivered by Hon. Sola Salako-Ajulo, emphasized that the fine was imposed due to the bank’s non-compliance with the mandatory timeline for failed transfers to be reversed.
Sections 154 and 155 of the FCCP Act, 2018 stipulate a maximum of 10 minutes or, at most, one hour for such reversals. The tribunal’s ruling confirmed that Stanbic-IBTC Bank had breached its contractual obligations with the customer, Mr. Clement Osuya, by failing to effect two separate transfer instructions totaling N500,000 to an Access Bank account.
In addition to the fine, the tribunal ordered Stanbic-IBTC Bank to pay Mr. Osuya N1 million as the cost of filing the action. However, the tribunal denied Osuya’s claim for N5 million in compensation, citing a lack of evidence to substantiate any injury suffered due to the bank’s service failure.
Hon. Ibrahim Yakubu concurred with the majority verdict, while the presiding judge, Hon. Chuma Mbonu, dissented, delivering a minority judgment that argued the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petition.
Mbonu contended that the tribunal only possessed powers of appellate jurisdiction and not original jurisdiction, leading him to strike out the suit on grounds of lacking merit.
The petitioner, Mr. Clement Osuya, filed the petition after Stanbic-IBTC Bank failed to transfer the sum of N500,000 on two occasions, which he intended to use for his children’s school fees.
Osuya informed the tribunal that although the funds were debited from his IBTC account, they were never credited to his Access Bank account, causing him considerable distress and necessitating the taking of a loan.
In its defense, Stanbic-IBTC Bank’s counsel, Mr. Marcel Osigbemhe, attributed the transaction failures to the third-party NIPS service. Osigbemhe expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment, questioning how his client could be convicted when no charges had been formally brought against it.
The CCPT ruled that the fine must be paid into the tribunal’s remitta account. This landmark decision serves as a clear message to financial institutions to uphold their obligations to customers and ensure the timely completion of transactions, safeguarding the rights and interests of consumers across Nigeria.
Access Bank, Others Collect N154 Billion in Electronic Banking Fees in H1’23, a 16.7% YoY Surge
In the first half of 2023, customers of Nigeria’s top nine commercial banks paid a whopping N154 billion in fees for utilizing electronic banking services, reflecting a robust 16.7% year-on-year increase compared to H1’22’s N131.97 billion.
The data, extracted from the financial statements of these banks, underscores the escalating trend of Nigerians embracing electronic payment channels.
Leading the pack in revenue generation from these fees is Access Bank, amassing N43.9 billion, followed by United Bank for Africa Plc (N51.07 billion), Zenith Bank (N22.27 billion), Guaranty Trust Bank (N21.2 billion), and others like Stanbic IBTC (N2.14 billion), First City Monument Bank (N7.4 billion), Unity Bank (N1.96 billion), Fidelity Bank (N1.85 billion), and Wema Bank (N3.13 billion).
Electronic banking services encompass a gamut of options, including internet banking, mobile banking, ATMs, and Point of Sale (PoS) systems.
Recent data from the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) for Q1’23 indicates a substantial surge in electronic transactions.
Transaction volume increased by 209% YoY to 4.7 billion, and transaction value grew by 48% YoY to N137.52 trillion.
The nine banks collectively raked in N66.7 billion in account maintenance fees and commissions during H1’23, reflecting a 14.7% YoY rise.
Zenith Bank led this category with N21.02 billion, trailed by Access Bank (N13.36 billion), Guaranty Trust Bank (N10.5 billion), and United Bank of Africa (N9.6 billion).
Overall, the banks’ cumulative net fees and commission income registered a substantial 20.7% YoY growth, reaching N448.47 billion in H1’23 from N371.43 billion in H1’22.
Access Holdings Posts 52.6% Profit for the First Half of the Year
Parent Company of Access Bank Celebrates Remarkable Financial Performance in H1’23
Access Holdings Plc, the parent company of Access Bank, has reported a 58.9 percent surge in gross revenue to N940.3 billion for the first half of 2023.
The financial services giant also recorded remarkable growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) at 71.4 percent and 52.6 percent, respectively, culminating in N167.6 billion for PBT and N135.4 billion for PAT during the same period.
These financial milestones were unveiled as part of Access Holdings’ Audited Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements for the period concluding on June 30, 2023.
The driving force behind this unprecedented growth can be attributed to a potent combination of factors. A 63.0 percent growth in interest income and a 51.9 percent increase in non-interest income fueled the surge in gross revenue.
Access Holdings also witnessed a 35 percent year-to-date growth in customer deposits, capping the first half of 2023 at an impressive N12.5 trillion. This remarkable achievement encompassed all business segments, reinforcing the Group’s status as Nigeria’s largest financial institution by total assets.
The company’s total assets grew by 39.0 percent year-on-year to N20.9 trillion while shareholders’ funds surged by 40.6 percent to N1.7 trillion.
These astounding figures underline the Group’s ability to generate value from a diversified business portfolio, spanning banking, asset management, and payment services.
Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, commented on the company’s positive performance, saying, “Our growth plans for the African continent remain firm and clear, driven by the strong long-term growth prospects and trade opportunities seen across many of the countries.”
He went on to emphasize the company’s commitment to its 5-year cyclical strategy, stating, “Our primary objective remains to transform Access Holdings Plc into a leading financial and ecosystem player, fostering opportunities for shared prosperity among all stakeholders.”
Central Bank of Nigeria Postpones 293rd Monetary Policy Committee Meeting
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the postponement of its 293rd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, originally scheduled for September 25th and 26th, 2023.
Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, released a statement on Thursday confirming the decision.
In the statement, Dr. AbdulMumin stated, “The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has deferred its 293rd meeting, which was initially planned for Monday and Tuesday, September 25th and 26th, 2023, respectively. A new date will be communicated in due course. We regret any inconvenience this change may cause our stakeholders and the general public.”
While the CBN did not provide an official reason for the postponement, some industry experts suggest it may be related to the pending approvals for the newly appointed governor and deputy governors of the bank.
President Bola Tinubu recently nominated Yemi Cardoso as the potential head of the CBN. Additionally, Tinubu has endorsed the nominations of four new deputy governors for the apex bank, who are expected to serve for an initial term of five years, pending confirmation by the Senate.
The nominated deputy governors are Emem Usoro, Muhammad Abdullahi-Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello. However, the appointment of the CBN governor is contingent upon Senate confirmation, which is currently on a yearly recess.
The CBN assures stakeholders and the public that the rescheduled MPC meeting date will be communicated promptly as soon as it is confirmed.
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