Posted by Amechi Obiakpu | 18 March 2016 | 3,471 times
Over N6 million has been refunded by Nigerian banks as a result of the March 1 no banking day protest championed by Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON).
President of CAFON, Sola Salako, made the statement on Tuesday in Lagos, at the annual Consumer Rights Day Symposium organised by Brand Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN). She spoke on the theme, ‘Banking in Nigeria: Developments and Customers Challenges.’
Salako said that every customer deserves better services from their banks and where such services are falling below par customers needed to voice out their dissatisfaction.
This, according to her, was what led to the no banking day protest.
She said: “The protest made the banking community more aware of the power vested in their customers as king and not the other way.”
“After the protest, I got several calls and emails from some of the complainants that monies were being refunded by some banks up to the tune of about N6 million. So, the question I keep asking is that if we had kept quiet would such amount of money have been realised?”
CAFON had on March 1, 2016 called on bank customers to boycott banking activities to protest the exorbitant deductions by Nigerian banks with the aim of pressuring them to review their charges downwards.
Though, the exercise did not achieve 100 percent success but, there were unconfirmed reports that banking activities on the said day dropped by 24%. Excited by the report, the CAFON boss said it was able to send the right signal to the right places.
She noted that despite the low success rate of the protest it had been able to send strong signal to the banking community that their customers are now more informed of the activities of the banks.
Salako said: “We are where we are now because everybody are now more aware of every kobo in their accounts due to the tsunami that hit the nation’s revenue, as a result of the drastic fall of the international oil price.
“Before now it didn’t use to matter because there were lots of money going through the system hence all the seemingly little deductions were in most cases over looked which in the real sense should not be.”
She faulted the price fixing mechanism of the bankers’ committee which she termed ‘price fixing cartel’ where fix charges are applicable to all banks in the country. She said individual bank should have been allowed to fix the amount to charge its customers for bank transactions. This she said will give room for flexibility and offer customers options to switch banks, instead of fix rate for all banks.
She therefore call on all bank customers to continue to demand better services from their banks and to query every deductions on their bank accounts irrespective of how insignificants the amount may be.
•Photo shows CAFON President, Sola Salako.
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