ATM fraud: CBN recovers N2bn from banks
By Emeka Ezekiel, Abuja
Friday, 18 Mar 2011

The Central Bank of Nigeria has recovered N2bn from Deposit Money Banks, being money wrongly deducted from bank customers using Automated Teller Machine cards within the last one year.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, disclosed this during a stakeholders' forum on financial services organised by the Consumers Protection Council to mark the 2011 World Consumer Rights Day in Abuja, on Thursday.

Sanusi, who was represented by the Director, Other Financial Institutions Department, CBN, Mr. Olufemi Fabanwo, however noted that the money had been returned to the banks' customers.

According to the CBN governor, there is an urgent need to build and sustain consumer confidence in the use of ATM cards. He stressed that the move would go a long way in strengthening the nation's banking sector.

As part of efforts towards tackling the problem of ATM card fraud within the banking sector, Sanusi said that the apex bank had established the Card Fraud Arbitration Committee to ensure speedy resolution of complaints by customers.

He said, "We should recognise the fact that financial institutions are in business because they have customers who patronise their products. But when consumers' confidence begin to wane due to inefficient service delivery, it means that something needs to be done to restore their confidence.

"Nigeria is a country where the issue of consumer protection was not taken seriously in the past. People got away with breaches of consumers' rights without serious consequences. However, the CBN is poised towards tackling this problem."

He added, "Within the past one year, the CBN has recovered N2bn from banks which was wrongly taken from consumers using ATM cards. The money has been returned to them. In order to address the problem of card fraud, the CBN has set up Card Fraud Arbitration Committee to look into complaints in this area. The objective is to ensure efficient and sustainable delivery of financial services within the banking sector."

Speaking during the event, the Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Ify Umenyi, decried the zero level of consumer awareness concerning new products and the services provided by financial institutions across the country.

She, however, commended the CBN for its unrelenting efforts towards sanitising the banking sector.

She said, "Much as we appreciate many innovations brought into the industry by operators to make financial services attractive to consumers, we are of the belief that it is the responsibility of the operators to fully educate the consumers properly on the new services and how to maximally utilise these services so as to prevent consumers from being exposed to fraudsters and other associated abuses.

"This underlines the need for adequate financial service literacy and places statutory burden on sector regulators such as the CBN, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Insurance Commission, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, and others, to guarantee a safe and satisfactory financial sector."
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