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Banks Set Monthly Cash Deposit Limit for Domiciliary Accounts

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Demand for Dollars

By Dipo Olowookere

The amount of cash that can be deposited into domiciliary accounts of customers in Nigeria has been reduced by banks, Business Post has learned.

This new development is coming after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) indefinitely extended a scheme that allows beneficiaries of diaspora remittances to get an extra N5 for every $1 received.

The Naira 4 Dollar promo was introduced by the apex bank and became effective from Monday, March 8, 2021, and was to initially last for only two months.

However, last week, the banking industry watchdog issued a circular to announce that the initiative is to now run till further notice.

“Further to the CBN circular referenced TED/FEM/PUB/FPC/01/003 dated March 5, 2021, on the above subject matter, we hereby announce the continuation of the scheme until further notice.

“All aspects of the operationalization of the programme remain the same.

“Please take note and ensure compliance,” the circular issued last week had stated.

The Naira 4 Dollar policy was introduced to boost FX liquidity as the country was experiencing a shortage in supply as a result of a decline in revenue from crude oil sales.

An earlier notice from the central bank had explained the promo would help Nigeria “to make the process of sending remittance through formal bank channels cheaper and more convenient for Nigerians in the diaspora.”

It had also said the scheme would “ensure that remittance flows and diaspora investments become a significant source of external financing” for the nation.

Over the weekend, this newspaper sighted an e-mail from one of the commercial banks, saying customers are no longer allowed to make a deposit of more than $5,000 in a month into a domiciliary account.

However, there is no limit set for electronic transfer into such accounts.

“There is a $5,000 monthly cash deposit limit,” a part of the notice read.

“Cash funded transfers to beneficiaries with accounts in other banks in Nigeria are no longer allowed,” the notice also stated, encouraging customers “to make more deposits via electronic transfers.”

A banker with one of the tier-one banks in Nigeria, who asked not to be named informed Business Post that the cash deposit limit was put in place to prevent customers from exploiting the CBN promo as once feared by a renowned economist, Mr Bismarck Rewane.

Mr Rewane had said two months ago that some Nigerians could send FX to their loved ones at home, withdraw it for the N5 cash bonus and then transfer the funds back abroad to be re-transferred back into the country.

“In any case, you collect cash, and you take it to the parallel market or autonomous sources to sell the Naira, and then come back and you get the N5. What could happen is that you could turn $1,000 back again to your brother, who will bring it back.

“So, what could happen is that there could be what I call playing with neurons, the same money turning around the velocity of separation increasing, whilst the quantity supplied into the market will not increase,” he had told Channels TV after the CBN announced the policy.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Banking

Polaris Bank in Safe Hands, No Need to Panic—Management

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Polaris Bank Rewards Customers

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The management of Polaris Bank Limited has urged its customers and members of the public not to panic over reports that the financial institution has been sold to a new investor, Mr Auwal Gombe, in the sum of N40 billion.

It was recently reported that efforts are being made to hand over the lender to the businessman, who is said to be an ally of former military president, Mr Ibrahim Babangida, after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised the defunct Skye Bank Plc into Polaris Bank in 2018.

In a statement issued on Friday in Lagos, the bank described the report of the purported sale as not only “speculative” but done to deliberately “create panic” among its customers and the banking community.

The company said the CBN established it and injected funds for its operations, it has bounced back to profitability, with a solid balance sheet, saying there is no cause for alarm as the bank was in safe hands.

“Stakeholders may recall the regulatory intervention in the erstwhile Skye Bank by the CBN and the subsequent injection of capital via the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) through a bridge bank process, which birthed Polaris Bank in 2018.

“The bank has since stabilised its operations following the intervention; improving its balance sheet, customer base and profitability,” a part of the notice today said.

Continuing, Polaris Bank noted that, “Whilst the intention has always been to return the bank to private ownership, such a sale would occur following regulatory approvals with formal notification to all relevant stakeholders,” expressing its commitment to “ensuring timely communication to the public in such an event.”

 “The board and management hereby reassure its customers, staff and the general public that Polaris Bank remains a stable, strong and credible financial institution, positioned to deliver sustainable value to all its stakeholders,” the statement concluded.

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Banking

Wema Bank Refutes Dud Cheque, Forgery Allegations

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wema-bank-logo

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The management of Wema Bank Plc has rubbished an allegation that it issued a dud cheque in connection with a garnishee proceeding for the payment of a judgement debt on behalf of the Bayelsa State Government.

A legal practitioner, Mr George Haliday, had accused the financial institution of issuing dud cheques but in a statement issued on Wednesday, the lender explained that the cheques have only not been cleared for payment because of the subsisting appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on the garnishee proceeding which has now been decided in its favour.

According to the statement, the lawyer only ran to the Magistrate Court in Abuja to lodge a complaint about the issuance of dud cheques after he lost his case at the appellate court.

“It is very worthy of note that the judgement debt against Bayelsa State Government, which Barrister George Haliday attempted to enforce by a garnishee proceeding, thereby leading to the issuance of the cheques in question had been settled by Bayelsa State Government via a Terms of Settlement between Barrister George Haliday and the Bayelsa State Government at the Supreme Court,” a part of the statement.

Recently, there were reports that the Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank, Mr Ademola Adebise, was issued an arrest warrant, but the bank dismissed this, saying its leader was not given a fair hearing in the matter.

“Wema Bank wishes to state that the warrant for the arrest of Mr Ademola Adebise is in violation of his fundamental rights to fair hearing as he was never personally served with any process to appear before the magistrate court nor was he represented in court.

“We are a law-abiding corporate citizen; if there was any court summons properly served on the Managing Director for his appearance in court, he would have done so without fail.

“But in this case, there was no such service extended to him or any court processes personally served on him to appear in court until a warrant of arrest was issued in absentia. We view the arrest warrant as being an infringement on his fundamental rights,” the statement said.

Concluding, the lender emphatically refuted and dismissed “in their entirety, the allegations of dud cheque and forgery levelled against our bank and the Managing Director. We also dismiss the inappropriate issuance of a bench warrant on our Managing Director.

“We are already engaging in legitimate actions to seek redress and bring all the perpetrators of these unprofessional conducts and heinous criminal acts against our Managing Director and the bank to book.”

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Banking

Advans Nigeria Becomes Most Innovative Microfinance Bank

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Advans MFB

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

More big feathers have been added to the colourful cap of Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, cementing its leadership position in the small lending business in Nigeria.

Recently, in recognition of its customer-centric credentials and innovation in product development, service delivery and brand management, the financial institution was named the Best Microfinance Bank in Nigeria at the Financial Derivatives Awards 2022.

Also, the company emerged as the Most Innovative Microfinance Bank in Nigeria in the Global Brands Magazine and World Economic Magazine Awards 2022.

The Managing Director/CEO of Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, Mr Gaetan Debuchy, while reacting to the accolades bestowed on the firm, dedicated the awards to the working management and staff of the bank, promising that the bank would continue to break boundaries.

“We are excited to win these awards. It further validates our innovative approach to providing customer-centric, affordable and transparent financial services,” Mr Debuchy said.

Also, the Head of Marketing and Communication at Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, Mr Kayode Abraham, stated that, “Over the years, we have centred our business on customer needs and feedback, which has helped us develop financial solutions from scratch to completion. We are pleased to be recognised as the most innovative and best microfinance bank in Nigeria.”

Earlier in the year, Advans Nigeria upgraded its mobile banking app ‘Adspire’ to include users’ ability to request bank statements and control their daily transaction limit. Through the app, clients can receive notifications and share by referring their friends and loved ones.

The bank recently introduced a micro-health insurance product and an education loan to facilitate financial inclusion.

The health insurance product was designed to ensure existing and prospective clients have access to high-quality and affordable health care services, while the education loan was designed to provide working and investment capital for school owners and to assist parents in paying their children’s school fees with ease.

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