Crypto Ban: CBN Fines FCMB N400m Over Failure to Close Customers’ Accounts – Mid-level lender, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), got a knock from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over its failure to close accounts of customers suspected to have been involved in cryptocurrency.
After the October 2020 #EndSARS protests across the country, the banking sector watchdog directed financial institutions to stop their involvement in digital currency transactions.
The Nigerian government believed that the demonstrations, which shook the nation, were funded through cryptocurrencies from across the globe.
In an apparent move to thwart the popularity of cryptos in the country, the apex bank banned the business, threatening to sanction banks involved in it and close bank accounts of individuals and corporate organisations trading digital coins in Nigeria.
Financial watch gathered that FCMB got into the trap of the central bank and was sanctioned for failing to close bank accounts of its customers identified to be trading cryptocurrency despite the ban.
Analysis of the financial statements of the lender for the year ended December 31, 2021, showed that a fine of N400 million was placed on the financial institution for violating the crypto ban.
It was stated that the reason was specifically that the bank did not close the accounts of “Thanas Fasio Experts, Quadrant Emergencia Golden Global, Cryset Limited, Royal Jingling Enterprise identified to be involved in cryptocurrency.”
This fine was among the others FCMB received in the reporting year.
It was observed that the lender was also sanctioned N26.5 million over its non-compliance with the CBN Post-No Debit (PND) directives on 38 customers.
Furthermore, it was slammed with a fine of N270 million over a “contravention of Extant FX Examination from January 1, 2013, to July 2020 GVD/EIU/SEC/GOV/01/095 DD090321.”
Recall that last year, after Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ruled that a mere circular can’t be relied on by the CBN to block accounts of crypto traders, as it wasn’t law, FCMB warned its staff to “identify persons or organisations transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”
“Any staff member who wilfully does not disclose an account used for cryptocurrency transactions, in order to enable such account to be closed will be sanctioned in line with the provisions of the bank’s sanctions grid,” it declared.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Financial Watch. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
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