Following the growing concerns about unethical and unprofessional practices in the Nigerian banking and finance industry, which are capable of eroding public confidence in the industry, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) articulated the urgent need for operators to take steps to combat the emerging menace. In line with the provisions of the applicable laws, the Governor sought the co-operation of the banks through the Bankersí Committee.
THE BANKERS' COMMITTEE
The Bankersí Committee, in its determination to sanitize the practice of banking and finance in Nigeria and instill discipline in the profession, established the Subcommittee on Ethics & Professionalism on 19th December, 2000.
The mandate of the Subcommittee was to:
The Subcommittee, made up of 15 members, began its work of soliciting memoranda from all the banks and financial institutions in Nigeria, in addition to a Discussion Paper from Chief (Dr.) J. O. Sanusi, FCIB, the then Governor of CBN. It thereafter synthesized the inputs and following several working sessions, arrived at this Code.
The Code contains a list of acts, conducts, commissions and omissions classified as unethical and unprofessional as well as the framework for addressing these in the business of banking and finance in Nigeria. Thus, the Code also provides the procedure for dealing with complaints and the sanctions for infractions of its provisions.
- Identify practices and conducts considered unethical in the industry
- Develop an acceptable code of ethics and professionalism, and put in place effective machinery for enforcing compliance.
OBJECTIVES OF THE CODE OF ETHICS
The overall objectives of the Code of Ethics & Professionalism in the Banking and Finance Industry are to ensure the highest level of adherence to good banking practice and a strong commitment to high ethical standards in the banker-customer relationship.
The aim of the Code is also to enable financial institutions, regulatory bodies, employees of banks and members of the Institute to know in clear terms what acts, conducts, commissions and omissions and practices are considered unethical and unprofessional and the appropriate sanctions that would apply for non-compliance with the Code. It is expected that this Code would bring about discipline and professionalism in the banking and finance industry.
THE Subcommittee ON ETHICS AND PROFESSIONALISM
Objectives of the Subcommittee
- To ensure the highest level of adherence to sound and generally accepted banking practice.
- To ensure a strong commitment to good banking practice.
- To uphold the integrity of the banking profession in order to instill public confidence in the banking system.
Duties of Subcommittee
- To develop standard and codes for ethical and professional banking practice.
- To consider complaints from bank customers, the general public and from within the banking system.
- To consider complaints by banks against the regulatory authorities or other banks and vice versa.
- To consider complaints from bank staff against their employers or vice versa.
- To cause enforcement of decisions approved by the Bankersí Committee.
Membership of the Subcommittee
The membership is made up of CBN, NDIC, CIBN and 7 banks
Secretariat of the Subcommittee
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Ethics & Professionalism Division performs the Secretariat functions of the Subcommittee. The Registrar/Chief Executive is the Secretary, Subcommittee on Ethics & Professionalism.
Conditions for Handling Cases
The Sub-committee does not adjudicate on any of the following, nor award damages on cases/petitions:-
Framework/Procedure for Handling Reported Cases
- Cases above six years.
- Cases of less than N1million in value.
- Cases before courts of law (except referred by the Court through an Order)
- Cases currently before the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), or previously ruled upon by CBN and/or other relevant regulatory bodies except on express request by CBN and/or other relevant bodies to review such a case(s)
- Cases previously adjudicated upon by the Sub-committee except on appeal
- Cases where claims relate to request for damages/compensation
- Criminal Cases
- ATM and Electronic Banking Cases
- Cases filed without customerís mandate
- Cases where the debt on bank account have been bought over by AMCON
- Decision of the Sub-committee confirmed by the Bankersí Committee shall be final
The Subcommittee shall apply the following procedures for handling cases brought before it:
- The complaint shall:
- contain the name and address of the complainant and the bank; and
- state briefly and clearly the complaint(s).
- Where the complainant uses the services of a Consultant, a letter of authority must be obtained.
- All complaints/reports should be submitted to the Secretariat of the Subcommittee i.e. CIBN, in duplicate.
- Such complaints are to be acknowledged immediately. The letter of acknowledgement should include a clause prohibiting all parties to any issue before the Subcommittee from commenting on the matter in the mass media pending the determination of the case or going to Court.
- The Secretariat shall request for response from the defendant or other parties mentioned in the petition before it.