Following the alleged suspension from the foreign exchange market transaction by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged non-remittance of the NNPC dollar deposits, some of the affected banks have come out to clarify themselves.
The banks include the FirstBank Ltd, Fidelity, Keystone and Heritage expressed their stance in statements and e-mails to customers on Wednesday in Lagos.
FirstBank in a statement said that the referenced NNPC dollar accounts were fully disclosed to the CBN.
It said that accounts were being operated in line with the regulatory requirements.
The bank also said that tripartite documented discussions had been ongoing between the CBN, NNPC and the bank on the need for domestic retention of those balances.
It said that was as part of measures to ameliorate challenges posed by the lack of FX availability, and customers’ inability to source FX to fund their trade finance obligations to the bank.
The bank reassured all its stakeholders that the issue was not a function of concealment or willful non-compliance by the bank.
“We are confident in our ability to meet and honour all our obligations as at when due and are currently in talks with the CBN and other relevant bodies and are positive of an amicable resolution soonest,” said the bank.
On its part, Fidelity Bank said it had repaid over 288 million dollars of those funds in line with the advised repayment schedule.
“We will like to clarify that these deposits were duly reported to the CBN by Fidelity Bank in line with the extant TSA requirements
contrary to the erroneous view in certain media reports that the funds were concealed from the regulators.
“At the commencement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in 2015, Fidelity bank advised NNPC and the regulators with a schedule of repayment for the NNPC/NLNG dividend dollar deposits.
“Please note that you can continue to operate your domiciliary account with Fidelity and this development will not affect your deposits/loans (local and foreign currency), remittances, transactional services and electronic banking services.
“Although the market condition remains quite challenging, we will continue to honour our obligations and operate with the highest level of corporate governance,’’ the bank said.
The bank said in the interim that it was engaging with the other eight banks involved, stakeholders and the regulators to resolve the issue quickly and ensure its return to the FX market.
Keystone Bank, also in a statement signed by the management, said it had engaged in efforts that were geared towards very timely resolution.
It said the bank understood the importance of sourcing foreign exchange for its customers’ needs to support economic growth.
The bank said that the development did not adversely affect customers’ existing transactions with it except that there would be constraints in establishing new letters of credit until the issue was resolved.
Meanwhile, Heritage Bank said that the CBN’s announcement of temporary suspension was a systemic challenge to the banking industry that cut across most banks.
It said that the bank would continue to treat forex transfer, remittance from domiciliary accounts, establishment of non-valid for FX form Ms and establishment of Letter of Credit (LoC) on the bank’s offshore lines.
It will be recalled that on Aug. 23, the CBN barred about nine banks from the foreign exchange market.
The banks were United Bank for Africa (UBA), 530 million dollars and First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), 469 million dollars.
Others are Diamond Bank Plc, 287 million dollars; Sterling Bank Plc, 269 million dollars; Sky Bank Plc, 221 million dollars; Fidelity Bank 209 million dollars; Keystone Bank, 139 million dollars; First City Monument Bank (FCMB), 125 million dollars and Heritage Bank, 85 million dollars.