Banks in the country have returned huge sums of money in different currencies to some disgruntled depositors after they (banks) were reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria for various irregularities.
According to the CBN, its intervention in about 13,715 complaints brought before it, which were resolved by its Consumer Protection Department led to the return of N66.5bn, $18.5m, €26,319 and £9,085 to the complainants.
The CBN noted that consumer protection was a critical requirement for financial system stability and an indispensable component for effective regulatory and supervisory framework.
It added that the attainment of a sound financial system in Nigeria was to a large extent, predicated on an effective consumer protection regime, and that ceaseless vigilance and study were critical for effective market conduct regulation.
While mentioning the importance of consumer protection in the financial system, the regulator added that it helped to increase trust and confidence, as it was critical in an environment of constantly evolving complex disruptive technologies and vulnerabilities.
While the CBN further stated that consumer protection was critical in improving access and usage of financial products, it stressed that it helped to protect consumers from probable market abuse and exploitation.
The CBN stated, “The mandate of the Consumer Protection Department is to develop and implement an effective consumer protection framework that promotes consumer confidence in the financial system.”
According to the CBN, some of the duties of the CPD are to identify unethical practices by financial institutions and develop mitigating guidelines; conduct compliance examinations; conduct spot-checks/ special investigations; conduct customer service satisfaction surveys; and monitor FIs compliance with approved products features and other CP regulations.
It added that the department “also engages internal and external stakeholders on policies; provide policy recommendations to address observed gaps; and provides clarifications on consumer protection policies to the public.”