CBN directs banks, discounts houses to seek approval for employing new staff

By The Citizen

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed Deposit Money Banks and Discount Houses to obtain the approval of the apex bank before recruiting new employees.

The development followed the rising cases of fraud and the attendant recycling of dismissed employees in the financial services industry, according to a new CBN circular to the financial institutions.

The new directive, issued by the CBN Director of Banking Supervision, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, takes immediate effect, according to the circular dated February 5.

The circular, entitled 'The need for the CBN prior clearance of prospective employees of banks', read in part, 'We refer to our circular to all banks dated July 16, 2004 on the above subject, wherein banks were required to obtain the prior approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria for all prospective employees.

'The intendment of the above referenced circular was to prevent the recycling, within the banking Industry, of erstwhile employees indicted, terminated or dismissed for fraud and other acts of dishonesty.

The circular further stated that the new directive followed the representations made by banks during the CBN/Banks' Human Resources forum held in last December regarding difficulties in the strict implementation of the above circular.

As a result, Martins said the management of the CBN had approved, as part of the amendments, that new employees of banks and discount houses could assume duty prior to obtaining the approval of the CBN, if this proved difficult or impractical.

However, it stated that for employees to assume duty without the CBN's prior approval, banks and discount houses should within 30 days submit their curriculum vitae and other relevant information on the new employees to the CBN for clearance.

'Banks and discount houses shall include as part of the terms of employment (offer letter) that 'the offer is subject to the receipt of satisfactory responses on any background checks or other inquiries on the employee from relevant authorities,' it said

However, the CBN said the latest amendments would not apply to new employees on the level of assistant general manager and above as banks were required to continue to obtain the prior written approval of the CBN before the resumption of duty for these categories of workers.

The CBN said the latest directive superseded its earlier circular of January 16, 2004 and took immediate effect.

The spate of fraud in the bank has been alarming in recent times, just as labour mobility in the sector is on the rise.