Despite the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the decision of the Bankers' Committee, banks' customers may still have to pay N5 on every N1000 transaction as charge on cost of transaction (COT).
Although the CBN had last year November directed that banks cut COT from N5 to N3 per transaction, Leadership investigations revealed that all the banks were yet to comply with the directive given in the November circular which the apex bank issued to all the banks.
However, some bankers who spoke with Leadership noted that it would be difficult for banks to bring down COT as it would affect their balance sheet negatively. According to one of the bankers, "banks are still their own government. Banks provide their own security, power and some other major infrastructure that should have been provided by the government.
"There is no bank branch in this country that does not run on at least two generators and these things cost money. Even if your branch is in Aso Rock, you still need two generators to function optimally. How are the banks expected to record profit with all these?" He queried.
Another banker explained that the directive on the reduction of COT, although a policy pronouncement, would take time to take effect. According to him, "this is shareholders' fund that we are talking about. "So banks would be cautious in embarking on something that would affect profitability. It is possible to bring down COT, but it will take time to restructure and comply", he said.
Rising from its meeting early this month, the Bankers' Committee had endorsed the downward review of the Commission on Turnover charged current account holders from N5 on every N1,000 withdrawn to N3. However, one of the bankers who spoke with Leadership said until infrastructure issues were addressed y the government, plugging holes in the operating cost of banks, reducing COT may not be attainable.
Meanwhile, Director of Communications of the CBN, Ugochukwu Okoroafor, explained that reducing COT is a marketing decision for banks. He noted that market forces are expected to drive the cut in COT, adding that it was not mandatory for banks.