CBN fines 6 commercial banks ₦1.31bn for cryptocurrency transactions

Eberechukwu Etike
Stanbic IBTC, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Access Bank, Wema Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Fidelity Bank. are among the banks affected
CBN Releases New Regulations and Sanctions for Electronic Payments in Banks and Other Financial Institution

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has fined six individual firms for failing to comply with the ban regulations made on cryptocurrency transactions. The banks fined by the CBN include Stanbic IBTC, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Access Bank, Wema Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Fidelity Bank.

As reported by Bloomberg, the sanctions are part of the CBN’s efforts to double down on stopping cryptocurrency transactions. It was also revealed that the CBN has the ability to detect cryptocurrency transactions that commercial banks may have overlooked.

In February 2021, the CBN placed a ban on all cryptocurrency transactions and a regulation policy to all commercial lenders. This was made after CBN government concluded that these transactions posed a threat to the Nigerian financial system.

Following the directive of the CBN, most banks and financial institutions closed down the accounts of individuals or entities that transact or operate in cryptocurrency.

The CBN will introduce digital currency in Nigeria - Godwin Emefiele
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele

The CBN has now fined Stanbic IBTC bank, approximately 200 million naira ($478,495) for two individual accounts that has allegedly engaged in crypto transactions. This was said during an investor conference call on Tuesday by the Chief Executive Officer, Wole Adeniyi.

According to the CEO of Stanbic IBTC bank, the firm has always followed the CBN directives and the transaction it was sanctioned for, must have been come in undetected.

In his explanation, he said that the central bank was able to detect these banned transactions using an “advanced capability” that are inaccessible to Nigerian lenders.

“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 added.

In its 2021 consolidated and separate financial statement, Access Bank Plc said it was fined 500 million naira for “failure to close some customer’s crypto accounts.”

United Bank for Africa Plc also received 100 million naira penalty for cryptocurrency transactions by a customer. While Wema Bank got a sanction of 100 million naira ‘for contravening CBN circular on cryptocurrency’.

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) was fined 400 million naira.

CBN fines 6 commercial banks ₦1.31bn for cryptocurrency transactions

“Contravention of CBN Circular BSD/DIR/GEN/LAB/14/001 on Cryptocurrency… Failing to close customers accounts (Thanas fasio Experts, Quadrant Emergencia Golden Global, Cryset Limited, Royal Jingling Enterprise) identified to be involved in cryptocurrency,” FCMB’s 2021 financial statement reads.

Fidelity Bank Plc received a sanction of 14.28 million naira for cryptocurrency infractions, the bank said in its 2021 audited financial statement.


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