Five top Nigerian banks have paid a total of N1.4bn as penalties to financial regulatory bodies. The bodies include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Security Exchange Council (SEC) and Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, in the first half of the year.
The banks are the United Bank of Africa, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank and First City Monument Bank.
This figure was arrived at from analysis of the H1 2021 financial statements of the banks obtained from their websites.
Findings show that the penalties were as a result of contraventions and infractions of guidelines instituted by the Federal Government through the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), relevant CBN circulars and other regulatory requirements.
The BOFIA Act is a regulatory framework that was introduced to guide the financial industry. The Act which was first enacted in 1997 empowers the CBN to implement its provisions.
The president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had in November 2020, signed the amended BOFIA Act 2020 which repealed the erstwhile BOFIA 2004.
In the period under review, GTB paid a total sum of N692m as penalties to regulators for two major infractions bordering on foreign exchange transactions carried out by Betting and Gaming Companies (N690m) and non-refund of interest on the debit of non-interest related charges to non-funded accounts (N2m).
For forex trade infractions and other forex infractions, risk-based supervision between 2018 and 2019, and late returns, Fidelity bank paid the sum of N64.1m to the CBN during the period under review.
SEC also sanctioned the bank within the review period to the tune of N1.1m for late filling of its December 31 2020 Audited Financial Statement.
The total sum paid for infractions by Fidelity bank in H1 2021 was N349.3m lower than the aggregate sum of N414.5m paid as penalties in H1 2020.
According to the financial reports, Access Bank was fined N184.5m by the CBN while SEC fined the bank N1m during the review period.