Banks Begin Compliance with Directive on FX Teller Points

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Some commercial banks have heeded the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive on the opening of teller points for retail foreign exchange transactions, THISDAY investigations have shown. 
The CBN had said the new directive was a reaffirmation of its willingness, capability and determination to meet FX demand in the market.
Some of the commercial banks branches visited in Abuja yesterday to assess the level of compliance with the directive had already created special points for FX transactions as well as electronic display boards to show current FX rates. 
However, officials of some banks’ branches visited around the Asokoro area of Abuja
expressed ignorance of the central bank’s new directive.
When asked if his bank had complied with the new directive, a senior official in one of the second generation banks said his branch was not aware of the directive.                                
He said it was the headquarters of the bank that should preoccupy itself with handling such directives, adding that the directive he was familiar with was the one mandating commercial banks to create FX sales points at airports to attend to travellers’ FX needs.
He, alongside a female colleague, said the banks needed some time to comply with the latest directive. 
In issuing the new directive, the CBN said the initiative was aimed at easing access to buying and selling of FX at all locations as well as easing access by customers and other users, without any hindrance.
The CBN on Sunday also directed all commercial banks to process and meet the demand for travel allowances (PTA/BTA) by end-users within 24 hours of such applications. 
THISDAY investigations showed that although some of the banks within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had electronic monitors for FX rates, they posted insufficient information on rates.
For instance, while some of them displayed only their selling rates without the buying rate, others showed the rate at which they were buying but not selling.
THISDAY further observed that most of the banking halls visited had only a few customers conducting FX transactions. 
In a related development, the central bank yesterday sustained its intervention in the FX market, when it provided another $367,134,329.93 in forwards sales.
A breakdown showed that $144,073,753.07 was for 45 days forwards, while $223,060,576.86 was for 60 days. 
However, the naira traded between N455 and 460 to the dollar at some parallel market points in Lagos.
The CBN acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, confirmed the release, adding that the move was in line with the Bank’s determination to ease the FX pressure on various sectors through forward sales under the new flexible regime to keep the market liquid.
The CBN recently introduced new FX measures, which among other things, are aimed at easing the burden of travellers and to ensure that transactions are settled at much more competitive exchange rates.
The central bank had also directed all commercial and deposit banks to open FX retail outlets at major airports as soon as logistics permit.

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