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Banks Suspend ATM Card Usage Abroad

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  • Banks Suspend ATM Card Usage Abroad

Deposit Money Banks have begun suspending their Automated Teller Machine cards (debit and credit) from working overseas as dollar scarcity continues to hit the economy badly.

Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank on Friday announced the suspension of their overseas ATM card services.

Also suspended by the banks are online transactions priced in foreign currencies. This means that customers of the banks will no longer be able to use their debit or credit cards to make online transactions that are denominated in dollars, euros, pounds sterling and other foreign currencies.

In a note to its customers on Friday entitled: ‘Suspension of international transactions on naira debit cards’, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria said, “Please be informed that effective immediately, your naira denominated debit cards will no longer be functional for international transactions.

“This is due to the current volatility in the foreign exchange market. Your naira-denominated debit cards can only be used for local transactions at Point of Sale terminals, Automated Teller Machines and online for Nigerian retailers.”

In a text message to its customers on Friday, Stanbic IBTC Bank similarly said, “Dear customer, kindly note that effective October 18, 2016, your ability to carry out transactions priced in foreign currency using our naira debit and credit cards will be suspended. We apologise for any inconvenience in this regard.”

Both Stanbic IBTC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria advised customers seeking to carry out transactions denominated in foreign exchange to apply for dollar or pounds sterling debit credit cards. According to them, the dollar or pounds sterling debit or credit cards will be linked to the customers’ domiciliary accounts.

GTBank also announced the suspension of the ATM cash withdrawal service abroad. The lender also slashed its monthly ATM forex transactions to $100.

In a notice to customers on Friday entitled: ‘Review of the international spending limit on your naira Master Card’, the bank stated, “We write to inform you of the monthly spending limits currently applicable when using your GTBank naira Master Card for international payments via PoS and online. Previous monthly limit via PoS and online was $250; the new monthly limit via PoS and online is now $100. Kindly note that ATM cash withdrawal on your naira MasterCard is now only available in Nigeria.”

The development will make students studying in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ukraine and other parts of the world to face more challenges getting their monthly stipends from their parents.

Most of the students had relied on the ATM card withdrawal to get their monthly stipends from their parents before now.

This means customers seeking to do foreign transactions will have to open domiciliary accounts and fund same with dollars, pounds or euros purchased from the parallel market at the prevailing exchange rates.

Although other banks have yet to announce the suspension of ATM card services abroad, findings by our correspondent showed that many lenders had reduced drastically the amount that customers could withdraw via ATMs abroad.

This is despite the fact that the banks have in the past few months reduced the monthly total amount of forex-denominated transactions that customers can do, using their naira debit or credit cards via ATMs and PoS terminals abroad as well as online payments or transactions.

As of last week, findings showed that some banks had slashed their daily ATM withdrawal limit abroad from the $300 advised by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Bankers Committee to $100 due to their inability to source for dollars to fund the transactions.

Unconfirmed sources said some banks had reduced their monthly ATM withdrawal limit abroad to $100.

Top banking officials close to the development told our correspondent under the condition of anonymity that banks were increasingly finding it difficult to fund their foreign-currency denominated services, especially online forex transactions and overseas ATM withdrawals, as well as PoS usage overseas by customers.

A top official of Deposit Money Bank, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent on Sunday, “We have to stop the services. Formerly, we were sourcing forex at high prices and we were selling same to customers at similarly high prices. But the situation is now tense; the dollar scarcity has assumed a new dimension.

“This is coupled with the fact that some bank customers are using the platforms to do round-tripping. It is high time we stopped it.”

The decision by some banks to suspend overseas ATM card services and online forex transactions came barely one week after the CBN, through the Bankers’ Committee, raised concerns about what it called the indiscriminate and suspicious manner in which some bank customers were spending dollars and other foreign currencies abroad through their naira debit cards.

Consequently, the regulator said it had concluded that bank customers who spent above the $50,000 annual forex limit it imposed would be barred from the nation’s forex market.

The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, stated this after the 329th Bankers’ Committee meeting held at the apex bank’s office in Lagos on Wednesday.

She said, “In the CBN’s move to manage the demand for forex, there was a rule that was put in place that people were not allowed to withdraw more than $50,000 annually on their naira debit cards.

“For a while, the policy has been abused by bank customers, and the CBN has not taken any step to that effect. We have decided to take the step now to enforce the rule. So, we want members of the public to remember that that rule is in place.

“All your accounts are linked to a particular Bank Verification Number. Now, that the BVN only allows you to withdraw only $50,000 per annum, if people continue to breach that rule, they will lose access to forex market.”

Dollar scarcity has been ravaging the economy after the price of crude oil, Nigeria’s main forex earner.

It crashed from $110 per barrel to around $44 per barrel from June 2014.

The nation’s foreign exchange reserves have been depleting since then.

On Wednesday, the country’s external reserves hit an 11-year low of $24.21bn, the latest data posted on the CBN website showed.

This means a limited amount of dollars will be available at the official interbank spot market, fuelling concerns over another round of depreciation of the naira.

The foreign exchange reserves fell by $600m in two weeks before shedding $1bn in four weeks, the CBN statistics showed.

An expert at Ernst and Young, Mr. Bisi Sanda, lamented on the dollar pressure on the economy.

He said the Federal Government needed political will to address the issues fuelling dollar scarcity on the economy.

He said, “The issue of dollar is very important to the economy. It is predicated on the fact that we are a dollar-denominated economy. It appears the government is still begging issues as far as the import-dependent state of our economy is concerned.

“We need to fix issues, we need to go back to the drawing board. The CBN said between 2010 and 2016, a total of $11bn was sold to the Bureaux De Change annually. We need to plug leakages in this area.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Finance

Top 5 Largest US Banks Hold over $7 Trillion in Deposits as Personal Savings Rate Grows by 17.8%

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US 5 Largest Banks Hold Over $7 Trillion in Deposits as Savings Rate Jumps 17.8%

According to the research data analyzed and published by ComprarAcciones, the personal saving rate in the US as of July 20, 2020 was 17.8%, up from 7% the previous July. The rate increased from 7.6% in January and hit a high of 33.7% in April 2020.

In April 2020 alone, deposits in US banks grew by a massive $865 billion according to the FDIC data. It coincided with a 10.5% increase in personal income according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Overall, FDIC shows an upsurge of deposits exceeding $2 trillion during the pandemic period.

JP Morgan Chase Grows by 18% in Total Deposits, Citigroup 11% and BAC 10%

During Q1 2020, total deposits made into US banks amounted to $15.78 trillion according to YCharts. It marked an 8.54% increase from $14.54 trillion in Q4 2019. There was a 13.29% year-on-year (YoY) growth from $13.93 trillion in Q1 2019. At the end of February, banks held $13.3 trillion in deposit accounts. During the week ending June 2020, this figure had risen to $15.47 trillion.

According to the FDIC, over 66% of the gains went to the top 25 US banks by assets. Of these, the top three banks reported the highest growth. JP Morgan Chase saw an increase of 18% in total deposits from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020. During the same period, Citigroup reported 11% growth while Bank of America saw an increase of 10%. In contrast, the industry as a whole only reported a 4% upsurge.

Due to this explosive growth, the top 5 banks by assets held over $7 trillion in deposits at the end of H1 2020. JP Morgan Chase led the pack with $2.05 trillion while Bank of America was second with $1.82 trillion. Wells Fargo was third with $1.50 trillion, Citigroup fourth with $1.24 trillion and U.S. Bancorp fifth with $425.28 billion.

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Finance

P&ID Nigeria Case: Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Rise by Over $200 Million to $36 Billion

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Godwin Emefile

Foreign Reserves Rose by Over $200 Million to $36 Billion after London Commerce Court Returned P&ID Nigeria Case’s Security Fund

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday said the nation’s foreign reserves rose by US$200 million to US$35.746 billion following the return of the $200 million security used in the discredited P&ID $10 billion Arbitral claim.

The P&ID had taken Nigeria to London Commerce Court over breach of contractual agreement, previous fine and accumulated interest to the tune of $10 billion over a period of 10 years.

The company had claimed it invested a substantial amount in a contract project signed between itself and the Nigerian government, only for the Federal Government to backout or failed to fulfil its end of the deal.

An accusation the Federal Government denied and described the whole project as a scam orchestrated by some Nigerians and foreign entities looking to profit from the nation’s lack of proper documentation.

The government fought back with evidence proving that the P&ID supposed contract was a sham as the contract was not signed or approved by the then president who was way because of sickness.

The Federal Government was asked to deposit security of $200 million to appeal the case in London commerce court.

After proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the project was a fraud, the London commerce court has now returned the $200 million security plus the £1.5 million previous awarded to Nigeria and another £70,000 for the cost incurred during the trial.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the apex bank said “Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was this morning boosted by over $200Million when the London Commercial Court ordered the release of the $200Million guarantee put in place as security in respect of the execution of the much discredited P&ID $10 Billion Arbitral Claim.”

“The court also awarded a £70,000 cost in favour of Nigeria in addition to an earlier award of £1.5m.”

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Finance

N75 Billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund to be Opened for Application Soon -CBN

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business

CBN to Open N75 Billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund for Application Soon

The Central Bank of Nigeria has said it will announce the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund soon to support Nigerian youths as unemployment jumped to 27.1 percent in the second quarter.

The apex bank has launched numerous funds to deepen growth and ease the negative impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian youths, Africa’s largest youth population and one of the largest in the world.

As stated on the apex bank website, the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) is a N75 billion investment fund approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in August to address the financial needs of 500,000 youths from 2020 to 2023.

According to the CBN, approval will range from N250,000 to N50 million with a spread across group applications, individual applications and working capital loans with a single-digit interest rate of 5 percent.

The fund was approved in August by the Federal Executive Council, the first of such approval.

Following the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in August, the presidency had tweeted that, “We recently established a 75 billion Naira Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), as part of our commitment to creating opportunities for the youth of Nigeria. On this occasion of International Youth Day, I urge all our young people to take advantage of these opportunities.”

Nigeria youth investment fund website/portal

There is no dedicated website or portal to Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, applicants would have to go through the 125 micro-credit banks across the country to access the fund.

How to apply for the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund

To apply for the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, you must have a fundable business idea, be a registered business owner in Nigeria and be a Nigerian citizen.

Also, you must be between the age of 18 and 35 to be qualified for the fund.

The fund would be disbursed to qualified applicants through one of the numerous microcredit institutions in Nigeria under the Central Bank of Nigeria but supported by BOI, Fintech Organisations and Venture Capital Organisations registered with the apex bank.

This is coming after the Federal Government introduced Survival Fund a week ago to stimulate growth in small and medium businesses and cushion the economy from the impact of COVID-19 that is expected by many to plunge it into recession in this third quarter.

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