Reps lament charges on accounts, probe banks
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the illegal and excessive charges imposed on account holders by Deposit Money Banks.
The House, at the plenary on Wednesday, decried the deductions by commercial banks from its accounts.
It therefore resolved that the Committee on Banking should liaise with “professional financial consultants to investigate and determine the extent of excess charges on the House of Representatives and other public institutions and individuals’ accounts held in various banks to determine the extent of excess charges, if any, in the last eight years.”
The committee was mandated to report back to the House with recommendations within four weeks for further legislative actions.
These were the resolutions that followed the unanimous adoption of the motion moved by Mr Yusuf Gagdi, titled ‘Need to Investigate Excess and Illegal Charges on the Accounts of Public Institutions and Persons.’
Moving the motion at the plenary on Wednesday, Gagdi said, “The House is saddened that the National Assembly, specifically the House of Representatives and other government institutions and agencies saddled with the responsibility of regulating the industry and protecting the interests of the general public, being customers of these banks, are also victims of these excess and illegal charges by their bankers.
“The House is worried that while we may choose to colour or dress the language used to qualify the action of these banks by merely referring to it as excess charges, the reality remains that it is an outright stealing of customers’ deposits by banks and every hand must be on the deck to seek redress in one way or the other.
“The House is certain that the House of Representatives, being a public institution and one of the three arms of government accountable for the use of tax payers’ money, prudence demands that the House commences an investigation of the activities of its accounts held in various banks to determine the extent of excess and illegal charges, if any, by its bankers with a view to recovering same in the interest of the House.”
Gagdi noted that banks when properly managed and run in accordance with banking ethics open up the economy and galvanise the critical factors of production and wealth creation.
He also noted that this makes the banking sector very pivotal to economic growth and national development.
He pointed out that as pivotal as the banking industry was to economic development, coupled with its tremendous growth in Nigeria over the years, while supporting the Federal Government policy of ease of doing business, the experiences of individuals, public institutions and corporate customers of banks have been that of mixed feelings.
The lawmaker stated that excess and illegal debits on accounts held by customers in the name of bank charges “have been very disturbing as various charges ranging from Automated Teller Machine charges, account maintenance fee, card maintenance charges, SMS notification charges, token maintenance fees to stamp duty fees, etc., have been sources of worries to customers across the country.”
According to the lawmaker, the banking industry is supposed to be a catalyst for economic growth and wealth creation.
He added lack of transparency in the industry had made investment by local and foreign investors very unattractive due to “the illegal dealings and meddling with depositors’ accounts by Nigerian banks.”