Activities authorised under "banking business" are the receiving of deposits on current account, savings account or other similar account; paying or collecting cheques drawn by or paid in by customers; provision of finance; or such other business as the Governor of the Central Bank may, by order published in the Gazette, designate as banking business.

The activities of a commercial bank in Nigeria include the acceptance of deposits withdrawable by cheque.

Those of a merchant bank include receiving deposits on deposit account, provision of finance, consultancy and advisory services relating to corporate and investment matters, making or managing investments on behalf of any person. A merchant bank may not accept any deposit withdrawable by cheque; accept any deposit below an amount which is prescribed from time to time by the Central Bank; hold for more than six months any equity interest acquired in a company while managing an equity issue except as stipulated by law.

The activities of a community bank are restricted to a specified geographical areas in Nigeria.

No bank may engage, whether on its own account or on a commission basis, in wholesale or retail trade, including the import or export trade, except in so far as may exceptionally be necessary in the course of the banking operations and services of that bank or in the course of the satisfaction of debts due to it. It may however engage in equipment leasing business or debt factoring.

This article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should NOT be treated as legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought by you about your particular case and special circumstances.

For further information/enquiries, please contact Patrick Abuka on Tel: (234)1-263 4656, 1-263 3024, 1-263 1708, 1-263 3512, 1-263 5115, 1-263 4553 or Fax No: (234) 1-263 1687, 1-263 5189

You may also wish to read through related material on 'Legal Aspects of Investing in Nigeria' provided by Abuka, Ajegbo, Ilogu & Nwaogu. You can view the entire archive via the Internet on Business Monitor Online (http://www.mondaq.com), or via your online provider by entering "Abuka, Ajegbo, Ilogu & Nwaogu" and "Business Monitor" as a free text search.