The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a directive to banks to lift the post-no-debit restrictions on the bank accounts of 440 individuals and companies.
The circular, signed by A.M. Barau on behalf of the CBN director of banking supervision, was issued on Tuesday and allows the affected accounts to resume normal debit transactions, including ATMs and cheques.
A post-no-debit restriction essentially meant that all debit transactions on the affected accounts were blocked, with the only exception being the inflow of funds.
However, the CBN did not provide any explicit reason for its decision to remove the restrictions, leaving financial experts and the general public speculating about the underlying motives.
Among the list of companies whose accounts are now free from the restrictions are prominent names such as Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Escale Oil & Gas Limited, Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited, abokiFX Limited, Nairabet International, Northwood Energy Services, and Proport Marine Limited, among others.
The CBN’s circular to banks also instructed them to notify the concerned customers about the lifting of the post-no-debit restrictions. As of now, there have been no statements from the affected companies or individuals regarding the unexpected move by the apex bank.
This is not the first time the CBN has taken such actions. Back in 2021, the CBN ordered banks to freeze the accounts of 18 companies, ranging from bureaux de change (BDCs), construction firms, investment companies, laundering services, and property companies.
The apex bank later unfroze all the accounts of those 18 companies, but the reasons behind both actions remain shrouded in mystery.
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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