By Friday Ehime Alex
Stanbic IBTC Holdings and Diamond Bank Plc have failed to comply with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive on customers’ zero accounts deposit, investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect has revealed.
When our correspondent during the week visited Stanbic IBTC branch in Lagos, the lender insisted on a minimum of N2,000 deposit in order to open a saving account besides the requirements of providing a valid means of identification (national identity card, drivers licence, or international passport) and utility bill.
Further investigation also revealed that Diamond bank maintained account opening fees of N2,000 while Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and First City Monument Bank were not charging customers.
Stanbic IBTC customer care representatives who attended to our correspondent said, “We can’t open an account for you whether savings or current account without depositing a minimum of N2,000.”
“On a more considerable level, you must deposit at least N1,050 to open an account,” she added.
Also, another Stanbic IBTC staff worker, said, every customer opening any account must be issued with the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at which the N2,000 covers it.
Continuing, he said “the ATM card is compulsory for every Stanbic IBTC customer even though the customer refuses otherwise. And that, the customer can keep hold of it pending when he/she chooses to activate the card.”
When asked to respond to why the bank is not complying with the CBN directive on zero account opening, the acting Communications Manager, Marketing and Communications, Melvin Awolowo said, “Many thanks for your interest in Stanbic IBCT Bank. We will look into this and get back to you please.”
Other banks visited during the week include Zenith Bank Plc that has complied and Fidelity Bank that charges customer N2,500 before opening savings account.
Recall that, the apex bank has in its Monetary, Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Guidelines for the Fiscal Years 2016/2017 stated that the new policy directive is in line with its commitment to encourage banks to improve their deposit mobilisation efforts while equally promoting the financial inclusion initiative.
The statement reads, “The CBN shall continue to encourage banks to improve their deposit mobilization efforts. In line with the financial inclusion initiative, banks shall be required to allow zero balances for opening new bank accounts so as to make banking services accessible to the unbanked public.”
“Accordingly, banks are encouraged to develop new products that would improve access to credit and simplify their account opening processes, without compromising the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements,” the directive added.
Adding also that despite the drive for deposits, banks and other finance institutions should continue to apply the principle of KYC as specified in the CBN’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Regulations in Banks and Other Financial Institutions Regulations (BOFIA) Act, 2013.”
The CBN’s directive noted also that, “Finance institutions should not conduct any business with persons/entities who fail to properly identify themselves.”
Although it was learnt that before now, commercial banks ask for cash deposits to cover operating cost of opening new accounts to discourage customers from abandoning their account opening plans after completing documentations.
Initially, the deposits sum are usually around N1,000 or N5,000 for savings accounts and N10,000 and above for corporate accounts