Banks step up for retail clients after BDCs forex ban

Amid growing anxiety over the fate of retail customers in the aftermath of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ban on sale of foreign currencies to Bureau de Change operators, managing directors of Deposit Money banks (DMBs) yesterday, said they are now set to fill the void created by the exit of BDCs across the country.

Speaking under the aegis of the Body of Bank Chief Executives at a virtual press briefing Thursday, the banks’ CEOs, comprising Mr Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank Plc, Segun Agbaje of GT Holding Company Plc, Tomi Somefun of Unity Bank, Yemisi Edun of FCMB Bank and Patrick Akinwuntan of Ecobank Nigeria Plc, restated their readiness to meet the foreign currency needs of all retail customers who approach them with genuine documents with integrity.

Their assurance came on the heel of concerns that retail forex end users might be facing more frustrations getting hard currencies with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to end FX sales to BDCs operators.

The bank chiefs had however warned that those wishing to to purchase FX with fake documents will get a shock of their lives as they would be reported to the CBN and the Police for prosecution, but promised that all legitimate demands would be met in all bank branches across the country, in line with the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for banks to set up retail desks to sell foreign exchange to customers of BDCs.

Under the chairmanship of the Group Managing Director of Access Bank PLC, Mr Herbert Wigwe, the bank chiefs assured there would be full compliance with the CBN directive in an effective and transparent manner.

Wigwe assured transaction rates would not be abused as any bank executive or employee caught cheating will be dealt with in line with the CBN guidelines. Also speaking at the virtual meeting, Group Managing Director of GT Holdings PLC, Mr Segun Agbaje, said “while fears of abuse being expressed in some quarters about banks’ capacity to fill in the gaps, we have began setting up structures across our networks  in readiness for the new mandate. This is because in addition to the sanctions outlined by CBN, banks themselves have also adopted some self regulatory mechanisms to ensure no one operates outside the guidelines”

In her intervention, managing director of Unity Bank, Tomi Somefun, said customer experience for those with genuine documentations would be seamless across board since all operators would be guided by similar rules and guidelines “Integrity of documentation presented to us will be the only impediment that customers will have,” She said.

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