By Chika Otuchikere
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued guidelines on the Global Standing Instruction (GSI) granting banks the right to seize loan defaulters’ money in other banks.
The apex bank said the guideline was issued to enhance loan recovery in the banking sector and to facilitate an improved credit repayment culture; reduce Non-Performing Loans in the banking industry; and watch-list consistent loan defaulters.
According to the CBN accounts eligible for such seizure include individual savings accounts, current accounts, domiciliary accounts, investment /deposit accounts in both Naira, foreign currencies; as well as electronic wallets and joint accounts.
The statement read in parts;
“The GIS shall serve as the last resort by a creditor bank without recourse to the borrower to recover past due obligations principal and accrued interest only, excluding any penal charges from a defaulting borrower through a direct set-off from deposit/investments held in the borrower’s qualifying bank accounts with participating bank accounts.”
While the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and the apex bank would be expected to work together for successful implementation of the guidelines, it is expected that all banks must execute the GSI Mandate Agreement with the NIBSS and ensure that all qualifying accounts remain visible to NIBSS on the Industry Customer Accounts database.
Accounts of borrowers must be linked to their Bank’s Verification Number (BVN), as failure to do so would attract such accounts being watch-listed when discovered. It is also expected that all banks will honour all balance inquiry and debit advice received from NIBSS for GSI Trigger in accordance with master agreement including GSI recall instructions.
Chief Executive Officers of banks have been directed to routinely update the Board of directors on the GSI process as it relates to frequency of use and amounts recovered or released, and banks have also been ordered to report regularly to the CBN on recoveries made through the GSI as well as releases made to other banks.
Any creditor that violates the guidelines would be made to take full liability and pay a flat fine of N500m per incident.