CBN defends monetary sanctions on banks


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has described the recent fines slammed on some financial institutions as considerate, given the level of infractions, which should have earned them more severe penalties.

The apex bank explained that it took a more lenient view of the infractions committed by the erring banks, to avert systemic consequences that would have resulted from such deserving steps like the removal of the chief executives and management teams.

The Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Bayo Adelabu, who gave the indication at the yearly stakeholders’ forum of the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria(BDAN) in Lagos, said the fines were also in compliance with the provisions of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act.

“There are some penalties that the bank would have computed at N2 million per day, as long as the infractions lasted. It did not take it that way as dictated by BOFIA out of consideration,” he noted.

Recently, the apex bank had fined three banks to the tune of N8.8 billion, beside mooted sanctions on some banks that are yet to release to CBN the export proceeds of their customers.

Earlier in a keynote address by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, he pointed out that the theme of the forum ‘Overight Functions of the Board: Effectively Managing Key Internal and External Relationships,’ was apt given the need for the directors to coordinate their responsibilities towards workers, shareholders and the regulators.

The Governor, represented by Adelabu, noted that compliance is not just for its sake, but to add value to stakeholders, become ethical and promote corporate governance.

“The need for oversight in relationship management is increasingly important now that true oversight expected of board members and international best practice cannot be achieved without stakeholder engagements.This is because stakeholder engagement is a vital ingredient for good corporate governance necessary for business success and societal trust. Sound corporate governance underline principle is that the full knowledge by the board, of the strategy and risks the bank is exposed to, is critical to oversight functions,” he said.
“I therefore call for the integration of internal and external engagements within the acceptable core functions of the board as part of best practices corporate governance,” he said.

However, the President of BDAN, Olorogun Sunny Kuku, said the recent challenges faced by banks and other financial institutions, call for a forum to review activities in the industry and way forward.

“We are all aware of some of the recent CBN reforms introduced to the banking, including the Treasury Single Account (TSA), as well as the declining business activities as a result of the dwindling performance of the national economy, with its impact on banking business and bank customers.

“The recent removal of Nigeria from the global Risk Index has continued to impact negatively on the operations of many banks and other institutions, including the capital market.

“These, coupled with the increasing demand and expectations from institution’s stakeholders, including government and investors, among others, has resulted in exposing banks and other financial institutions to a variety of business and non-business risks,” he said.

According to him, it is now apparent that for banks and other financial institutions to survive and win in the competitive market in this turbulent national and indeed global business environment, they need to identify, engage and manage their key internal and external stakeholders.

He noted that the individuals and institutions referred to as ‘stakeholders’, through their influence can make or mar an organisation, if they are not properly managed.
BDAN, as a body of key decision makers in the industry, he said, organises this forum yearly to bring up current and relevant issues, as they affect banking industry and the economy at large.

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