The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has demanded all commercial banks and financial institutions promptly notify customers on all transactions on their accounts as part of their contractual obligations.
This mandate was part of the new guidelines on Disclosure and Transparency issued last Thursday, August 1 in Abuja.
The CBN said financial institutions must notify their customers about the amount and date of the transaction as well as the account balance.
Besides, the transaction narrations in account statements must state clearly the nature of the transaction, date, payer or payee, transaction channel and location.
The guidelines include details on how financial institutions would henceforth handle general information to their customers as they relate to an advertisement, pre-contractual and contractual disclosures, credit facilities, deposits,
The affected financial institutions include commercial banks, merchant banks, specialized banks, micro-finance banks, development finance institutions, finance companies, bureaux-de-change, and primary mortgage banks.
Others credit bureaux, mobile money operators, payment service banks, switching companies, payment solution service providers, payment terminal service providers, non-bank acquirer, super agents and mobile money operators.
The CBN said the documents is to protect consumers against the provision of inadequate, misleading or failure to disclose material and relevant information and generally guard against lack of transparency by Financial Institutions in their dealings with consumers
Other details include any changes that may be made to the contract terms, and how the consumer will be informed of such changes; information on how to lodge a complaint to the financial institution and how to escalate complaints to the CBN where necessary.
Also, the consumer must be provided with monthly statements of account for all products and account types, including loan accounts, special accounts and other associated accounts at no cost to the consumer.
In addition, the customer is entitled to account balances on request, while the financial institutions are obliged to give prior notice of variation in interest rates to customers.
The notification to the customers on variation, the CBN said, must state the reason for the variation, commencement date, the revised repayment schedule and the alternatives available such as concession, restructuring, re-negotiation, opt-out or termination of the contract.
Any variation in interest or any other rate, the CBN guidelines said, shall only be implemented after five working days of the notice.
On advertisement, the content of all advertisements and promotional materials must be factual and unambiguous, expressed in clear and simple language and shall not be offensive, misleading, deceptive, injurious, or exaggerate the benefits of the products or services being advertised.
Unsolicited advertisements through emails, text messages, voice calls and other channels sent by or on behalf of a Financial Institution shall be at no cost to the consumer and shall contain an opt-out provision for future advertisements.
Failure to comply with the guidelines, the CBN said, shall attract regulatory sanctions provided for by the CBN Act, the BOFIA, other laws and regulations.