The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) yesterday disclosed that it had refunded over N13 billion to bank customers that had suffered excess charges by their financial institutions.
The central bank said the refund to the customers were part of its responsibility as a regulatory body mandated to protect consumers of financial services in the country.
The CBN made the disclosure in Enugu at the opening of a one week sensitisation of financial consumers in Enugu state. The forum was aimed at promoting financial literacy among bank customers.
Representative of CBN's Director of Consumer Protection, Hajiya Khadija Kasim while addressing a media briefing said virtually all the banks in the country were involved in ripping-off customers which culminated in the refund of the whooping sum.
She said that the consumer forum was to enlighten customers of commercial banks, insurance and other financial institutions.
She enjoined bank customers in Enugu state to avail the opportunity of the forum to know all about their rights so as know when they are being excessively charged by their banks.
She noted that there are help desks in all financial institutions in the country charged with the responsibility of providing assistance and solutions to customers' complaints, adding at anytime a consumer is not satisfied with the response of their banks, they could refer such complaints to the CBN.
Kasim recalled that it was after the global economic recession that the CBN took more seriously the need to address consumers' needs.
She stressed that the CBN is very much concerned about consumer protection.
"We are here to inform consumers about their rights and also to make people know about achievements so far recorded by the department. Any bank found culpable of illegal deduction will be punished," Kasim said.
She also noted that the CBN is gradually phasing-out Commission on Turnover (CoT).