Following the recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the sale of foreign exchange (forex) to all bank users nationwide, commercial banks have started reaching out to their esteemed customers about their readiness and creation of teller points to handle forex transactions in their branches across the country.
The apex bank had since last week after the bank of forex sale to Bureaux De Change Operators, directed all commercial banks to immediately create designated desks in their branches for the sale and disposal of FX to eligible customers for legitimate purposes.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who disclosed the end of FX sale to the BDCs while briefing journalists at the end of a two-day meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in Abuja last week, said the apex bank would now channel weekly FX allocations, hitherto meant for BDCs, to commercial banks.
Heritage Bank through in an email at the weekend, informed its customers over the development that it has duly followed the CBN directive by creating teller points across its branches.
“Be informed that Heritage Bank has successfully set up designated teller points within our banking halls to handle all foreign exchange transactions.
“Kindly work into our experience centres nationwide to conveniently, carry out any of the foreign exchange transactions (Personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, payment of international school fees, payment of foreign medical bills and SME form Q operations).
“Please, note that is subject to you providing all the required documentation needed for every transaction,” it stated.
Also, Ecobank Nigeria assured customers that the bank has put in place every arrangement for the implementation of the foreign exchange (fx) policy issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The bank in an email to its customers indicated that all its branches had been put on notice to ensure smooth FX sales to eligible Ecobank customers and non-customers.
According to Ecobank all relevant staff, especially the Tellers have been well trained on strict adherence to the drive by the CBN to ensure availability, access, and efficient handling of all FX transactions.
In his comment, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan said Ecobank remains a one-stop-shop for all FX needs particularly for PTA, BTA, School fees, Medical bills, Mortgage payments and remittances, stressing that all customers with genuine documents and complying with the FX regulations will be well served by the Bank.
“I wish to assure our customers that there are no worries. Walk into any of our branches nearest to you and access FX once you have genuine documents, legitimate needs and meet the other requirements. We have staff dedicated to handle and meet your foreign exchange needs. From Personal and Business Travel Allowances to tuition and medical payments. Be rest assured, Ecobank has got your back,” he said.
On its part, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) informed its customers about its transformation into a Holding Company.
“We are now a fully-fledged Financial Services Group. Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (“GTCO Plc”) has been listed on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited and the London Stock Exchange, replacing Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
“GTCO Plc will operate as the parent company of all Guaranty Trust banking businesses across Africa and the United Kingdom as well as other non-banking businesses which we will establish following our transition.
“This development is very exciting to us because transitioning to a Holding Company Structure enables us to create more value for you, deliver better results for all our stakeholders and further enrich lives in the communities wherein we operate,” it stated.
Meanwhile, commercial banks chiefs under the bankers’ committee in Nigeria had assured Nigerians of their readiness and capability to meet foreign exchange demand of bank customers.
The committee headed by Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer last week said commercial banks in the country have the capacity and are ready to meet the legitimate demand for forex including that which BDC operators used to handle.
According to the Committee, the Group Managing Director of Guarantee Holdco (GTCo), Segun Agbaje, while responding to question on the rapid deprecation of the naira seen in the market on Wednesday and Thursday said, “The rate will come down. Very soon, you will buy at N423 or N425 at most.”
Supporting the notion, Herbert Wigwe mentioned efforts made by the CBN to facilitate the transaction process of FX, saying that the CBN has sent out circulars asking banks to set up dedicated channels for all those requesting FX.
“People can begin by going to any bank branch and submitting their requests.”
“Nigerian banks will be able to meet this requirement. This was being done by the BDCs before and there were 5000 of them and if you look at the branches that all the banks bring to bear across the country, the banks have more than enough capacity to deal with it.
“So, I can confirm that every bank is doing it right now, they may not have reached 100 per cent across the country but it is happening as we speak and it is to cater for all the people who used to buy from BDCs in the past.” He stated.
As communicated during the briefing, a toll-free line has been set up at the CBN for bank customers to escalate unresolved complaints related to their FX requests.
“The CBN will continue to closely monitor banks’ conduct and compliance with this directive to ensure an efficient FX market for all legitimate users,” the committee.