N100 charge on ATM transactions cancelled

The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers Committee on Tuesday finally agreed to put a stop to all charges associated with the use of Automated Teller Machines.

The agreement was the highpoint of a meeting between the committee made up of Chief Executive Officers of Deposit Money Banks, and directors and top officials of the CBN.

The CBN also said that it would, in collaboration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, carry out examinations on the operations of stockbroking houses.

The committee also agreed to boost liquidity in the mortgage sector as well as come up with a relief package that would help ameliorate the sufferings of flood victims.

At the end of the meeting, the Director, Banking Supervision Department, CBN, Mrs. Agnes Martins, addressed journalists in company with the Group Managing Director, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Emeka Emuwa; Group Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Bisi Onasanya; and acting Managing Director, Keystone Bank Limited, Dr. Shehu Muhammed.

Before now, account holders had been made to pay a flat rate of N100 per withdrawal any time they used ATMs other than the ones that belonged to their banks.

But Onasanya said the decision to stop the charge would help to increase the patronage of ATMs, thus deepening the financial inclusion strategy of the central bank.

He said the modalities for the stoppage were being worked out, adding that within the shortest time possible, the adjustments would be reflected on all the ATMs.

Onasanya said, “We have decided to stop forthwith charges for usage of ATMs. Currently, when you use the ATM for a bank other than your bank, there is a charge of N100, which is borne by the account holder.

“We have decided that we will work out the modalities that will ensure that with immediate effect, we will pass on these costs to the respective banks; we will bear the cost of providing these services so that no matter where you are drawing your money from, you will not be subjected to any charge for using the ATM.”

Speaking on the planned examination of the stockbroking firms, Martins said since some of them were owned by banks under the holding company structure, the move would further help to maintain financial stability and avoid arbitrage.

She said, “Going forward, we are going to be working with the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out joint examination of the stockbroking firms.

“We supervise the banks, but in the interest of financial stability, we are going to be working jointly with SEC to supervise, especially those ones that are owned by holding companies under the new banking reforms, and this is just to ensure that financial stability is maintained.”

The committee also agreed to introduce a new initiative that would help to ensure liquidity in the mortgage sector.

Emuwa said, “The banks have agreed to support the mortgage liquidity facility, which in itself is supporting the Federal Government initiative in trying to provide more affordable houses to the growing middle class population. The cost of acquiring a house for an individual is quite difficult, and getting a mortgage over a long period has not been easy.

“So, what this programme intends to achieve is to make it much easier for individuals, civil servants and private sector employees to be able to access financing to acquire houses for themselves at an acceptable duration and a reasonable interest rate.”

On flooding, Mohammed said, “The committee also looked at the issue of flood, which is considered as a national disaster, and it mandated all the CEOs to report this situation back to their respective boards and get the mandates to make significant contributions or donations to the fund raising committee of the Federal Government.”

He said very soon, an announcement would be made about the amount that the banking industry would make to the flood victims to alleviate their sufferings.

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