Tuesday, June 10, 2014

6 Nigerian banks fined for violating banking laws




Six commercial banks who violated Nigerian banking laws in 2013 paid a total of N392.77 million as fine to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.


The banks were found guilty of contravening various aspects of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, BOFIA.


The banks penalised were Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, Skye Bank, UBA, First City Monument Bank, FCMB, and Sterling Bank.


Zenith Bank, then headed by Nigeria’s news Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was found guilty of the most infractions and fined N276 million, according to its 2013 Annual Report.

Mr. Emefiele resumed as CBN boss this month following the end of the tenure of Lamido Sanusi, who was controversially suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan in February; but recently emerged as the Emir of Kano.


Zenith Bank was fined for promoting top management staff without CBN approval, insufficient data for lodgement on credit report, and non-rendition of original certificate of capital importation.


Other bank’s infractions were also contained in their annual reports.


Sterling Bank paid a N52.97 million fine for promoting management officials without CBN’s approval and foreign exchange examination infraction, among others.


UBA was fined N43.70 million for opening a branch without prior approval of CBN, improper reclassification of public sector deposits and appointment of staff without CBN approval, among others.


Diamond Bank paid N7.99 million fine for numerous infractions.


A breakdown of Diamond Bank infractions showed that the bank paid N2 million fine for the delay in refunding a customer’s $827,223 as directed by the CBN. It was fined N4 million for promoting two senior management personnel without the approval of the CBN.


The bank was also ordered to pay N1.99 million for withholding a customer’s funds for 26 days after the promoters of the customer had written the bank that they were no longer interested in a facility.


Similarly, FCMB Group was fined N6.1 million for delayed disbursement for 20 days to the beneficiary under Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, among others.


Skye Bank was fined N6 million for failure to obtain CBN’s approval to promote a senior staff and under reporting of regulatory returns on public sector deposits.


It was also fined for failure to update documentation on a customer’s account.


Speaking on the contraventions, Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association, ISAN, urged the management of banks to be more careful and avoid wasting shareholders’ funds.


Mr. Nwosu described commercial banks’ contraventions as unfortunate, stressing that the huge fines had robbed shareholders of enhanced dividends during the year.


Bayo Adeleke, ISAN Secretary, commended the Central Bank for its actions to ensure that commercial banks complied with rules and regulations of engagement.


Mr. Adeleke said that such penalties should not be viewed from income generating perspective, but to enhance good corporate governance and adherence to standards.


He advised regulators to be proactive, while banks should maintain a clean slate.




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