CBN issues ‘Disclosure, Transparency Guidelines’ on Consumer Protection Framework

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued guidelines on disclosure and transparency Consumer Protection Framework (CPF).

The guidelines, according to CBN, is to give effect to the Disclosure and Transparency Principle contained in the Consumer Protection Framework (CPF) for institutions regulated by the CBN.

The Guidelines provide minimum Disclosure and Transparency requirements for Financial Institutions under the regulatory purview of the CBN to ensure they provide consumers with all material and relevant information regarding their business relationship in a clear and transparent manner.

The objective of the Guidelines is to protect consumers against the provision of inadequate, misleading or failure to disclose material and relevant information and generally guard against lack of transparency by Financial Institutions in their dealings with consumers.

The general provision of the guideline includes: To promote transparency and enhance disclosure, Financial Institutions shall comply with the following general provisions.

4.1.1. Contracts, offer letters, statements of account, notices and other documents (hereinafter referred to as the “document”) provided or made available to consumers shall:

4.1.1.1 Be written in clear, legible and simple English language and in a minimum font size of 10.

4.1.1.2 State the name, contact details of the Financial Institution and the consumer.

4.1.1.3 Contain a statement that the Financial Institution is regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

4.1.1.4 The overall impression of the document must not be misleading or deceptive.

4.1.1.5 Provide a copy of the document to the consumer in a durable medium for future reference.

4.1.2. Put procedures in place to ensure that an oral explanation of the document is provided to the consumer in a language that he or she understands:

4.1.2.1 If requested by the consumer; or

4.1.2.2 If it is reasonably obvious that the consumer is illiterate or blind or, for any other reason, cannot understand the document.

4.1.3. Conspicuously display in their banking halls and publish on their websites and internet banking platforms, accurate and up to date information on all their products. Such information shall include:

4.1.3.1 Prime and maximum lending rates;

4.1.3.2 Deposit rates; and

4.1.3.3 Foreign exchange rates of currencies.

4.1.4. Disclose to the consumer in writing, all Terms and Conditions of a transaction agreement

4.1.5. Ensure that the disclaimer “Terms and Conditions Apply” or any phrase conveying a similar meaning shall only be used if the terms and conditions have been disclosed in the contract document or in other medium accessible by the customer. The financial institution shall at all times, draw the consumer’s attention to such disclosure.

4.1.6. Clearly explain technical terms used in documents to the consumer to aid understanding.

4.1.7. Agree with consumers on the communication channel(s) to be used for all correspondences and include the channel(s) in all contract documents.

4.1.8. Use the agreed communication channel(s) in all correspondences with the consumer.

4.1.9. Ensure that their websites and other information dissemination channels are functional and regularly updated with the current features of products and services offered.

4.1.10. Comply with the rates, charges, fees or prices published or disclosed at their engagement points.

4.1.11. Inform consumers of applicable and indicative foreign exchange rates through customer engagement points and advise consumers to always check the rates before consummating foreign exchange transactions.

4.1.12. Bear all costs associated with disclosures to customers required by the Guidelines except for deposits and withdrawals by or on behalf of the customer.