The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will sanction banks that fail to set up foreign exchange desk to handle disbursement of foreign currencies to small users in accordance with the regulatory bank’s directive.
While announcing the suspension of BDCs from access to official forex market, the CBN Governor had directed banks to set up forrex desk to caker retail segment of the market.
Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, Chairman, Body of Bank CEOs, Herbert Wigwe, said banks yet to adhere to the mandate by the regulator to create a forex desk would be sanctioned.
Wigwe said banks would ensure full compliance with the CBN directives in order to ensure FX stability.
He said customers could walk into their banks to purchase dollars for legitimate transactions.
He noted that the banks had agreed that the process would start immediately following a meeting with the CBN.
The Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, said banks were ready to meet the mandate of the CBN, noting that they have more than enough capacity to deliver. He explained that the process would be centralised to avoid abuse.
He pledged that the banks would ensure that the measures that had been put in place were not disrupted and abused.
“We will also be doing verification of the Bank Verification Number (BVN).
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“The banking industry is willing and ready to carry out this function. As you are aware, the bank has very strict compliance measures in terms of Know Your Customer (KYC). For us at Access Bank, we will ensure that all our branches meet the requirements.
“If you look at all the banks, you would agree with me that the banks have more than enough capacity to deal with the mandate of the CBN.
“If we see non-compliance issues, we will report to the CBN and the law enforcement agencies.
“So if people intend to do things, such as coming with a second passport and other things, we will report them to the law enforcement agencies.
“We feel that what the CBN has done is worthy of commendation because people will have access to different channels to collect their BTAs and school fees required for their children.
“The banks have a lot more channels to assist the customers get access to forex, depending on where they are, even if they are in Enugu or Port Harcourt,” Wigwe said.
In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Bank, Segun Agbaje, expressed the readiness of the bank to begin implementation of the mandate given by the CBN. Agbaje assured customers that the banks had the resources to fund the process, adding that they have collectively agreed to start immediately.
He also stated that different banks had different processes, therefore, banks should examine their controls, and what worked for them.
“There is a lot of abuse around FX, so you will find out that some of the better controlled systems are centralised, while some are decentralised. Customers should not panic, there would be availability of forex, and the banks will run a very transparent process.”