Accounts maintenance Fee: Zenith, FBN Holdings, five others generate N13bn

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By Ehime Alex

As Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has indirectly reintroduced Commission on Turnover (CoT) fee as Current Account Maintenance (CAM) Fee, seven banks in three months of 2016 generated N13 billion commission income.

The banks are Zenith Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc.

Others are First City Monument Bank Group, Union Bank of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa.

Reports from these banks three months unaudited result and accounts for the period ended March 30, 2016 indicated that Zenith Bank recorded the highest CAM fees at N5.4 billion, followed by FBN Holdings Plc that rose by 119 per cent  from N1.4 billion in first quarter of 2015 to N3.07 billion in immediate first quarter unaudited results.

FCMB group had recorded a CAM of N740.9 million, an increase of about 21 per cent from N611 million recorded in first quarter ended March 2015.  Union Bank of Nigeria gained N283 million in income generated through CAM.

Meanwhile, some banks suffered decline in CAM fee in the period under review as customers deposit into current account dropped due to economy headwinds.

United Bank for Africa recorded a decline of 55 per cent from N2.56  billion to N1.15 billion while Access Bank CAM also dropped by 40 per cent to N487 million as against N817 million in reported in Q1 2015.

Furthermore, Guaranty Trust Bank recorded a decline of 32 per cent to N1.97 billion in Q1 2016 as against N2.9 billion in Q1 2015.

The CBN in 2013 had begun phased reduction of CoT which terminated with zero CoT charge this year, a directive by former CBN governor, Emir Sanusi Lamido.

But in a circular signed by Director, Financial Policy & Regulation Department,  Mr. Kevin Amugo,  the CBN replaced the CoT with CAM  but subject to maximum of N1 per N1000 (Mille). The circular was entitled, “Introduction of Negotiable Current Account Maintenance Fee Not Exceeding N1/Mille.

It stated, “The Revised Guide to Bank Charges (RGBC) which came into effect on April 1, 2013 provides for   a phased elimination of CoT charges in the Nigerian banking Industry. Under the Guidelines, a zero CoT regime was to come into effect from January 2016.

The CBN noted that while the gradual phase out was being observed, some banks continued to charge Accounts Maintenance Fees in addition to the reduced CoT rate, which in effect amounted to double coincidence of charges.

The CBN is not oblivious of the impact of declining crude oil prices; operation of Treasury Single Account; and other market turbulences on the viability and stability of the banking system.

“In furtherance of the mandate to promote and safeguard a sound financial system in Nigeria, banks are by this circular reminded that the 2016 Zero CoT regime as jointly agreed during the 311th Bankers Committee meeting of February 12, 2013 has come into effect. In the interest of stability of the banking system, a Negotiable Current Account Maintenance Fee not exceeding N1 per mille may be charged in respect of all customer  induced debit transactions. Please ensure strict compliance.”