- CBN to Punish Banks for Forex Infractions
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday threatened to sanction any Deposit Money Bank found in breach of its earlier directive of March 3, 2017 instructing them to, among other things, open teller points for retail forex transactions and to have electronic display boards in all their branches, showing rates of all trading currencies.
This is even as the apex bank sustained its intervention in the various sectors of the inter-bank foreign exchange market with the injection of $545m.
A circular issued by the CBN warned that it would mete out stiff regulatory sanctions to banks that failed to comply fully with the directive by October 13, 2017.
The circular, signed by the Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Ahmad Abdullahi, stressed that the apex bank would bar errant DMBs from all future CBN foreign exchange interventions.
The CBN had in March directed banks and authorised dealers to open teller points for retail forex transactions (PTA/BTA and SME), including buying and selling, in all locations in order to ensure access to foreign exchange by their customers and other users without any hindrance.
The March circular also directed the DMBs to have electronic display boards in all their branches, showing rates of all trading currencies, which it urged customers to insist on in processing their foreign exchange transactions and the SME window.
While noting that the objective was aimed at creating awareness among members of the public regarding the availability of such facilities in branches of the banks at clearly disclosed prices, the CBN frowned on the banks for not fully complying with its directives.
Accordingly, the CBN has given the errant banks a four-week period, expiring on October 13, 2017, to fully comply with its directives or face regulatory sanctions, which it noted would include but not limited to being barred from all future foreign exchange interventions by the apex bank.
Giving a breakdown of the bank’s latest forex injection, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, stated that the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales received the largest intervention of $285m.
Other components of the released figures include the $100m offered for wholesale SMIS, $90m for the SMEs window and $70m for ‘invisibles’ such as Basic Travel Allowances, tuition fees and medical payments.
According to Okorafor, the amount released underscored the CBN’s commitment to ensure a liquid interbank foreign exchange market, where all genuine requests will be met in line with extant forex guidelines.
The CBN spokesperson expressed optimism that with the accretion to the nation’s foreign reserves, the bank would continue to fulfil its mandate of safeguarding the international value of the legal tender, adding that the management remained optimistic about achieving a convergence between the forex rates at both the inter-bank and Bureau De Change segments.