Amid a surge in demand for more cash by bank customers as the Yuletide season approaches, some Deposit Money Banks have slashed the withdrawal limits of their customers.
Findings across bank branches in some key cities in the country revealed that many customers could not withdraw the total amount they needed over the counter due to a lack of adequate amount of cash on the part of the banks.
Some bank customers, who spoke to our correspondents, said bank officials simply reduced the amount their customers wanted to withdraw and asked them to use alternative channels to carry out their outstanding transactions.
Furthermore, it was learned that most of the banks did not load all their ATMs, a situation that worsened the plight of the customers.
BusinessReview learned that the development affected several operators of Point-of-Sale businesses who could not withdraw enough cash from the banks and the ATMs to run their businesses properly.
Customers from several parts of the country including Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Taraba, and Abuja shared their grievances in separate interviews with the BusinessReview crew.
Some of the customers observed that the problem had started last week.
“I was at Access Bank and GT Bank branches inside Redemption Camp in Ogun State to collect N500,000 on Monday but I could not do so. Access Bank officials said they could give me only N100,000. GT Bank officials also claimed they could give me only N150,000. The two banks claimed there wasn’t enough cash and subsequently advised me to use alternative channels to complete my remaining transaction” a PoS operator in Mowe, one Shola Adekunle, told one of our correspondents.
Bank officials, who confirmed the development to our correspondents on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, said the surge in demand occasioned by the Yuletide season had made it difficult for banks to meet the demands of their customers.
“What we have resorted to do is to encourage our customers to use alternative channels. The CBN hasn’t been giving us enough cash in recent times especially since the surge in demand started a few days ago. But the truth is that people should be encouraged to use alternative channels” the branch manager of a First Bank in Lagos who pleaded anonymity informed BusinessReview.
Reports across the states of the federation show that there has been difficulty in getting cash from the banks. The banks kept saying that they couldn’t get cash from the CBN. The festivities are here and a lot of people are getting desperate for cash. For the customers that reside in the rural areas where there are rarely any online transactions, things might get uncomfortable soon if they can’t get their money.
In Ondo State, it was observed that many commercial banks were operating without adequate cash to meet their numerous customers’ needs. There were also long queues of customers at the ATM points as some of the machines did not dispense cash. It was observed that many of them were not loaded with cash.
A staff member of one of the banks in Akure, the state capital, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, confirmed was a shortage of cash supply from the CBN.
She said, “For some time now, we have not got enough cash from the CBN, we have many customers who want cash but we can’t give enough because we have a shortage in supply. All we tell our customers is that there is no network, in order not to make them feel disappointed; we can’t tell them that there is no cash. It is odd to hear but that is the situation in which we find ourselves.”
An operator, who identified himself as Adegbola, said the dearth of cash from the banks affected his business.
“For the past few days now, I could not attend to customers who wanted to withdraw over N50,000 at once. This was because I couldn’t receive much cash from my banks. I was forced to be rationing the little cash,” he lamented.
A businesswoman, Mrs. Ngozika Chinyere, said her funds were trapped in the bank in the state and the development was affecting her business.
“I was in the bank on Monday to withdraw N2m, but I was told that I can only withdraw less than N300, 000. Most of my customers are villagers who don’t have bank accounts, so, the development is affecting my business.
“It is very unfortunate that we have money in our accounts, but we cannot withdraw our monies when we need it. We need an explanation as to what is happening,” she lamented.
A customer with one of the new generation banks in Ibadan said on Tuesday, that he had difficulties in withdrawing from his bank last Friday.
In some locations, however, there doesn’t seem to be this challenge of inadequate cash. A customer of the same bank told our customer on Tuesday evening that he withdrew millions of naira from the bank without anybody wasting his time.
He said, “We went to the bank today to withdraw some cash and there was no problem. I withdrew less than N7m with ease. There were even customers making withdrawals and making deposits and I did not see any sign of distress or crisis there.”
The spokesperson for the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, said the issues would be addressed if customers send their complaints to the apex bank through the appropriate channels.
He said, “Customers who are having difficulty withdrawing cash should send their complaints to the CBN through the various channels provided by the bank. This way, the CBN will be aware of the challenge, which banks are affected and address it accurately.”
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