Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday decried the low impact of commercial banks on the citizenry with no fewer than 40 per cent of the people under-banked.

He spoke at the public presentation of the book “Banking Reform in Nigeria: the Law, the Prospects and the Challenges’’ written by a member House of Representatives Bode Ayorinde, in Abuja.

”It is perhaps accurate to say that for most Nigerians, banks have not really significantly impacted their lives or livelihoods. First, the under-banked population is said to be in the order of about 40 per cent, which means that a significant number do not even have access to banking facilities let alone banking products of any kind. The majority of those who have bank accounts for a variety of reasons are not able to access personal loans, mortgage or business loans. This explains why financial inclusion has gained inclusive currency and resonance in the past few years.’’

According to Osinbajo, depositors give their hard-earned funds to the banks at single-digit interest rate but cannot get anything less than double-digits when they seek the same funds for their businesses or mortgages for homes. He noted that the practice occurred against the backdrop of what seemed to be regular declarations of hefty profits by banks. The Vice President stated that the issue was not just about safe keeping of funds especially for the poor and those in the rural areas.

He said everyone should have access to financial products designed for low income earners as well as for the SMEs. Osinbajo stated that when the administration started the conditional cash transfer scheme for the poor it experienced the banking problems first hand.

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