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Business News of Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Source: www.sunnewsonline.com

Banking services spiral, e-Naira debuts as Nigeria clocks 61

Photo used to illustrate the story Photo used to illustrate the story

From just five banks in 1960, when Nigeria attained independence, demands for banking services in the last 61 year has grown by leaps and bounds, producing more than 1015 various banks , just as the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) debuts on October 4, 2021.

These novel banks are in sundry categories, comprising 22 commercial banks; 35 mortgage banks; six development banks and 940 microfinance banks. The rest are three non-interest banks; five merchant banks; three Payment Service banks (PSB) and the apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).

Going down memory lane, the five banks that pioneered banking services in the country were the African Banking Corporation, a foreign bank, which later metamorphosed into British Bank of West Africa (1892 to 1894), now First Bank of Nigeria; Barclays Bank (now Union Bank) which was formed by Anglo-Egyptian Bank and National Bank of South Africa, founded in 1925; British and French Bank for Commerce and Industry (now UBA) in 1949; Nigerian Farmers and Commercial Bank in 1947 and the Nnamdi Azikwe-owned African Continental Bank.

Since then, the nation has witnessed a lot of transformation and innovation in its banking sector.These include banking consolidation, introduction of 10 digit NUBAN number, cashless policy, Bank Verification Number (BVN), electronic payment system, Payment Service Bank (PSB)  to mention but few.

The latest game changer, due for launch on October 4 is the e-Naira, the the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

Commenting on it recently, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele said the eNaira would bring about increased cross-border trade, accelerate financial inclusion and lead to cheaper and faster remittance inflow. He said the digital money would lead to easier targeted social interventions, as well as improvement in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection. According to him, after its unveiling, Nigerians should be able to download the eNaira app from either Google plays store or Apple app store, on board themselves and fund their eNaira wallet using their bank account or with cash at a registered agent location.

“If you are a bank customer and you have say N10 million in your bank account, for your comfort of spending and making purchase, you can tell the bank to load N2 million out of your N10 million into your wallet.

“So, your bank balance in physical cash drops to N8 million, while your e-wallet carries N2 million. With that you can make purchases both within and across the country.

“There are so many variance of the eNaira. But this is where we would start becausewe are not going to pretend that there are not risks in opening your system up. We would look at the various products, determine the risk, determine the best way to mitigate the risk before we now open it up more and more,” Emefiele added.

Forex

Last July, CBN orders banks to sell foreign exchange (forex) directly to customersThe apex bank ordered the Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches to provide forex to Nigerians.

It announced the immediate discontinuity of forex sales to the Bureau De Change (BDC) operators saying: “Further to the Monetary Policy Committee briefing of July 27, 2021, all Deposit Money banks are hereby reminded to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX request for Personal Travel Allowance, Business Travel Allowance, tuition fees, medical payments, SMEs transactions among others.

 “In this regard, DMBs are also required to adequately publicise the locations of the designated branches and make necessary arrangements to sell FX to customers in cash and/or electronically in compliance with extant regulations.