Panic withdrawals trail CBN’s revocation of 200 microfinance banks’ licences




Worried depositors of microfinance banks (MFBs) have being besieged the banks demanding their money, following Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) revocation of the licences of 200 MFBs. A large crowd of depositors was seen at most of the banks visited by BusinessDay. Looking worried, the depositors, most of who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they had to ask for their money as the CBN did not name the MFBs which licences were revoked. “It is a precautionary action we are taking. Nobody wants to lose money to any bank for any reason”, one of them said.


Managing directors of some MFBs who spoke with BusinessDay under anonymity said the CBN took them unawares with the announcement. They told BusinessDay that both investors and depositors are confused as the list of the affected banks has not been made known. Similarly, sources at the National Association of Microfinance (NAMB) said that the CBN has been consulted on the impact of its action on the sub-sector.


A managing director from Lagos who claimed that his bank was not affected said: “With the situation of the microfinance banks generally, I saw this coming”. He stated that those whose licences were withdrawn had closed shop long ago. Prior to this development, the regulatory authorities had instructed some microfinance banks to shore up their capital base within a specified period after examining each bank.


Analysts were of the opinion that failure to meet up with CBN’s instruction may have triggered the action. The CBN Tuesday revoked the operating licence of 200 MFBs following results of its audit of the sub-sector. Lamido Sanusi, the CBN governor, said the apex bank revoked the licences in the last two weeks. According to him, the comprehensive list of the affected MFBs would be released soon.






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