Four banks pay N493.2m as fines in two years

Four commercial banks paid N493.27 million as fines in two years for going against the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act.

NAN reports that the affected banks are: United Bank for Africa, First City Monument Bank Group, Access Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank.

A breakdown of the figure as contained in the banks’ annual reports showed that UBA paid the highest fine of N162.64 million for various contraventions during the period under review.

The bank paid N75 million in the 2017 financial year for various contraventions having paid N87. 64 million in 2016.

Access Bank comes next, paying N133.48 million in all, broken down to N78 million in 2017 and N55.48 million in 2016.

The FCMB Group paid a total of N117. 02 million, N28.26 million in 2017, and N88.76 million in 2016.

Similarly, GTBank paid N80.13 million, which include N18.08 million in 2017 and N62.05 million in 2016.

Moses Igbrude, general secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), said payment of penalties as a way of enforcing compliance with rules and regulations was disadvantageous to shareholders.

Igbrude said it was the duty and responsibility of the managements of the banks to comply with all the rules to avoid paying fines or penalties by employing compliance officers.

According to him, the compliance officers should be trained and equipped on how to monitor and supervise to ensure adherence to all rules to avoid payment of huge fines to the regulators.

“Where such officers fail in their duties, they should be made to pay such fines or penalties from their salaries.”

Igbrude said the CBN and other regulators “should not be seen as money mongers or using it as a major source of revenue to the detriment of shareholders.

“We shareholders will continue to engage management of banks on best ways to minimise or eliminate this challenge of compliance to rules and regulations.”

Herbert Wigwe (pictured), the group managing director, Access Bank, had told shareholders at their annual general meeting that the bulk of the contravention was in respect of the bank verification number registration.

Similarly, Kennedy Uzoka, GMD, UBA, said the bank would do everything possible to avoid unnecessary fines in the course of doing business.