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Banks Borrow N11trn from CBN for Urgent Short-Term Needs

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urgent short-term needs short-term loans

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

About N11.01 trillion was borrowed by deposit money banks (DMBs) from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for urgent short-term needs in 2022 compared with the N13.01 trillion taken in 2021 for the same purpose, according to The Guardian.

This showed a decline of 15.3 per cent year-on-year in the CBN short-term loans taken by the lenders through the Special Lending Facility (SLF) as they worried less about liquidity in the year.

Business Post reports that last year, as part of efforts to control rising inflation, the CBN increased the cash reserve ratio (CRR), which is the percentage of customers’ deposits with the central bank, to 32.5 per cent from 27.5 per cent.

Recall that in 2021, the SLF surged by 163 per cent after the economy almost came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic of the preceding year, but as things gradually stabilised, it dropped last year.

It is not too certain if the apex bank will lower the CRR this year as it gradually loosens its monetary policies.

In 2022, the bank embarked on aggressive rate hikes like its peers around the world to combat inflation, which surged to 21.47 per cent in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

This forced the CBN, through its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), to raise the key interest rate to 16.50 per cent, with the asymmetric corridor retained at +100/-700 basis points around the MPR and the liquidity ratio left at 30 per cent.

In the financial data obtained by The Guardian, it was also disclosed that the overnight savings of banks via the Special Deposit Facility (SDF) window marginally increased by 5.7 per cent to N3.2 trillion N3.0 trillion in 2021, leaving the net value of CBN’s lending to banks at N7.8 trillion.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Banking

New Notes: CBN Directs Banks to Payout Maximum N20,000 Daily Via Tellers

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New Naira Notes

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have been directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay their customers the new Naira notes a maximum of N20,000 daily.

This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday, February 2, 2023, by the apex bank, signed by its spokesman, Mr Osita Nwanisobi.

According to the CBN, this development is to ease the sufferings Nigerians are going through to access the new banknotes from their banks and other channels.

Earlier, Business Post reported that commercial banks were not paying their customers because of a cash crunch. Most banks were unable to honour the cash withdrawals of their customers because they had no new notes to pay and were not allowed to pay with the old currency notes.

In the statement released today, the central bank said it “noticed the queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them. Also worrisome are the reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN.”

The bank said to ease the pressure, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, “has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned Naira notes over-the-counter (OTC), subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.”

However, the CBN warned “Nigerians, particularly those at social functions such as birthdays, weddings and funerals, to desist from disrespecting the Naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies,” stressing that, “The Naira is our legal tender and symbol of national pride. Therefore, let us respect it and handle it with care.”

The apex bank urged “members of the public to embrace and adopt other payment channels for their transactions.”

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Banking

N5.5bn Debt: Ecobank Floors Honeywell At Supreme Court

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Honeywell Ecobank suit

Ecobank scored a major victory at the Supreme Court on Friday as it won in a N5.5 billion debt dispute against Honeywell and its sister firms, Anchorage Leisures Ltd and Siloam Global Ltd.

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Honeywell Flour Mills Limited challenging the judgement of the Court of Appeal in the debt dispute with Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

The five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Tijjani Abubakar, delivered the judgement that Honeywell, Anchorage, and Siloam were indeed indebted to Ecobank.

In the lead judgement delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court declared the verdict of the Court of Appeal, which said Honeywell and its sister companies are still indebted to Ecobank.

“I affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal, setting aside the decision of the Federal High Court, granting the reliefs claimed for by the appellants (Honeywell).

“I hold that the appellants’ claim at the trial court fails, and it is hereby dismissed. “The appellants shall pay the cost of N1 million to the respondent (Ecobank),” Justice Agim said.

By the instant judgment of the apex court confirming the indebtedness of the named customers to the bank, the lender can now proceed to recover from the debtor customers the total outstanding debt of N5.5 billion, including all the accrued interest from 2015.

In the wake of the legal tussle, Mr Oba Otudeko, Honeywell Group chairman, had told a Court of Appeal that the sum was owed by individual companies. These companies include Anchorage Leisures Limited, Siloam Limited, and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.

Mr Otudeko maintained that his companies had paid N3.5 billion as of December 12, 2013, as the full and final payment for the N5.5 billion debt as agreed by the parties at a July 22, 2013, meeting. With the latest Supreme Court judgement, the companies remain indebted to the bank.

Background

On August 6, 2015, Honeywell and its sister firms, Anchorage Leisures Ltd and Siloam Global Ltd, sued Ecobank before the Federal High Court in Lagos over repayments of a N5.5 billion debt.

In the suit, the companies urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to declare that “having paid the sum of N3.5 billion in cumulative settlement of their total outstanding indebtedness” (of N5.5 billion) to Ecobank, “they owned no further debt obligation” to Ecobank “arising from their banker-customer relationships.”

As a result, they also asked the court to hold that Ecobank “was obligated to issue letters of discharge, release collaterals by which the prior indebtedness was secured.” In addition, Honeywell and its sister companies begged the court to compel Ecobank to “update” their status on the “Credit Risk Management System Portal of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

But in its defence, Ecobank argued that an agreement was reached between it, Honeywell, Anchorage and Siloam on July 22, 2013, “for a definite settlement of N3.5 billion to be paid in terms of N500 million immediately and the balance of N3 billion before the exit of the CBN examiners from” Ecobank’s offices. Ecobank had contended that the repayment agreement period was for six months as it rejected Honeywell and its sister companies’ request to “pay the balance over a one-and-half-year period in three equal half-yearly instalments.”

The bank informed the court that the debt repayment agreement “lapsed in August 2013.” But in its judgement, the judge, Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court, upheld the arguments of the Honeywell Group and granted their prayers.

Dissatisfied with the verdict, Ecobank in 2015 approached the Court of Appeal. In its decision, the appellate court overturned the judgement of the Federal High Court, setting the stage for the Supreme Court’s appeal, which was resolved in favour of the bank.

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Banking

Customers Frustrated as Banks Stop Dispensing Old Naira Notes

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stop dispensing old Naira notes

By Dipo Olowookere

Some customers were left frustrated as a few of the commercial banks visited by Business Post on Monday morning to monitor the extension of the currency swap announced by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Sunday, were unable to pay those who came for cash withdrawals.

Yesterday, after a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in his hometown of Daura, Katsina State, Mr Emefiele said the deadline for the exchange of the old Naira notes for the new ones has been pushed forward from January 31 to February 10, 2023.

He explained that it was to allow Nigerians more time to swap their old currency notes of N200, N500, and N1,000 for the newly redesigned denominations.

The extension followed calls by several persons as they complained of scarcity of the new Naira notes, as banks were still dispensing the old notes even a few days before the deadline.

This morning, this reporter visited a few financial institutions in Lagos to monitor the situation, and it was observed that some customers could not withdraw cash from the banks.

At the banking hall of one of the tier-one lenders in the Akowonjo area of Lagos State, the cashiers were not paying customers who came to take their funds.

“I could not get cash from the bank because I was informed that there were no new notes to pay me with, as the central bank has directed them not to pay customers with the old notes,” one of the customers, who identified himself as Mr Idowu Sodunke, said.

At a branch of another bank on Idimu Road, Lagos, a customer, who identified herself as Mrs Bose Kalejaiye, said, “The bank could not pay me my money. They claimed they were short of the new Naira notes. When I told them to pay me in lower denominations, they also could not pay me. We are in a deep mess in this country.”

In the Ikotun area of Lagos State, the banks in the vicinity were crowded as customers, especially POS operators, rushed to withdraw their funds for business after the extension.

They had earlier deposited the cash ahead of the deadline during the weekend, but when they approached the banks to withdraw their money, the banks could not honour their requests, leaving some of them frustrated.

“I don’t have funds to do my business today. I was here yesterday (Sunday) to deposit some cash. It was after I deposited the money that I heard of the extension. I quickly came here this morning to take my money back, but I was told there was no cash to pay me.

“I think the issue is that the banks have stopped paying people with the old notes. I don’t know what to do now,” a POS operator, who identified herself as Rukayat Salami, told Business Post.

An employee of a commercial bank, who begged not to be named, hinted that the CBN directed banks tp stop dispensing old Naira notes to customers because of a directive of the CBN.

This newspaper observed that within the premises of some of the commercial banks visited today, some POS operators, like Ms Salami, resorted to collecting cash from depositors and transferring the money into their accounts so as to have enough cash to do business with at their terminals.

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