CBN slams N800m fine on 3 banks for breaching crypto currency rules

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From Uche Usim, Abuja

Access Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and United Bank for Africa have been slammed with an N800 million fine by the Central Bank of Nigeria over flagrant disregard to existing regulations outlawing consumers from transacting in crypto currencies.

According to Bloomberg, the sanctions were part of the CBN’s deterrence to ensure banks’ compliance; just as the apex bank tightens the noose around cryptocurrency.

The CBN in a circular dated 5th February 2021, notified Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions, other financial institutions against doing business in Crypto and other digital assets.

According to the report, Access Bank Plc, the country’s largest lender by assets, was fined N500 million for failing to shut down customers’ crypto accounts.

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United Bank for Africa Plc was fined N100 million naira for a customer’s digital-currency transactions.

CBN penalized Stanbic IBTC Bank, the local unit of Standard Bank Group Ltd., N200 million for two accounts allegedly used for crypto transactions.

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Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC, Wole Adeniyi disclosed at an investor conference call in Lagos that while Stanbic IBTC followed the central bank’s orders, the transactions for which it was sanctioned may have passed through its system undetected.

He explained that the CBN was able to detect the relevant transactions using “advanced capacity” that Nigerian lenders do not have access to, and they have urged the central bank to share the technology.

“It doesn’t seem that they are going to entertain a refund, but they are now sharing intelligence with us to be able to kind of deter clients,” Adeniyi noted.

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