Why banks are rejecting dollar deposits —CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that commercial banks are turning down dollar deposits from their customers with domiciliary accounts to turn the tide against money speculators and launderers.

CBN’s Director of Monetary Policy, Mr. Moses Tule, who disclosed this on Tuesday, said the activities of currency speculators had been responsible for eroding the value of Naira.

Speaking on a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme, Good Morning Nigeria, Tule said, “Though the banks acted on their own volition, the CBN supports the move because it is targeted against speculators and money launderers.”

According to him, the Naira had been subjected to devaluation consequent upon the actions of currency speculators, adding that many of them would buy dollars from bureau de change operators only to take same to commercial banks, thus depriving those in genuine need of forex for productive purposes the opportunity to get the needed money.

Tule, who said that the action of the banks did not contravene any law of the land, added that the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2011 empowered the banks to do everything in their powers to stop money laundering.

He noted that many of those who bombard the banks to deposit foreign currencies are not engaged in any business activities that could earn them such money within the country.

The CBN director said, “No country stands by and watch while speculators destroy its currency. It is normal practice across the world for banks to ask questions about the identification of those who deposit large sums of money as well as the source of such money. If the banks are saying they have so much foreign currencies in their vaults and are not willing to take more, there is nothing wrong with that.”

He assured Nigerians that the measure taken by the banks would not hurt the economy in any way, saying those who insisted that the refusal of the banks to take foreign currencies from depositors would impact negatively on the economy were being economical with the truth.

Tule said bureau de change operators were licensed to meet the needs of small scale users of foreign exchange but regretted that the operators were exceeding the provisions of their licences. He added that this was one of the reasons the apex bank directed them to always get the documentations of their patrons.

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