The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed concern over the way banks charge customers indiscriminately during transactions.
Gbajabiamila said this when he hosted the Board and Management of the Standard Chartered Bank, led by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lamin Manjang, on Monday in Abuja.
The speaker said apart from charges known to the customers, there appeared to be other ‘hidden’ charges that the banks imposed on their customers.
He stated that the House was concerned that such a practice was making customers helpless, while calling on Nigerian banks to come up with ways to address high charges on loans and other facilities they offered.
“One of the issues at stake is the rate at which banks charge customers, there are claims that banks have hidden charges.
“This has come up a couple of times on the floor of the House and it is something we should look into.”
Gbajabiamila also expressed concern over the kind of exploitative marketing some banks’ marketers were being subjected to and demanded to know if that was the practice all over the world.
“You have corporations in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, what obtains here in terms of banking, in terms of marketing.
“Sending people to go and knock at people’s offices and all that; does it obtain in those places?,” he asked.
The speaker noted that such practice does not obtain in those countries, adding that if it is not international best practice, why should it obtained in Nigeria.
“Some years back, I came up with a bill against corporate prostitution, but that it did not sail through.
“We are here to support you, whatever we need to do, we should do it to support you.
“We need to know the kind of marketing that takes place. Is it digital marketing? We also have to set realistic targets for the marketers.
“We have the responsibility to protect Nigerians, and we also have the responsibility not to kill your business, so it is a delicate situation,” he said.
The CEO of Standard Chartered Bank had earlier said his bank was one of the oldest banks in Nigeria and that it had a strong presence in Asia, Middle East and Africa.
He said having taken the position of CEO of the bank two years ago, it was imperative to visit the Speaker to reiterate the bank’s commitment to Nigeria.
He said the bank would continue to play its role to make Nigeria achieve its goals.
Responding later to the issue of exploitative marketing, Manjang said it was a practice that allowed banks to market their products to the customers, but that it had to be ethical.
“It’s not peculiar to Nigeria but it has to be ethical, teams usually go round but the ethical conduct has to be there.
“You need to have marketing for people to know what you offer, if there are any abuses or conducts that are not ideal, they should be called out and addressed,” he added.