Customers Storm SMBC Micro-finance Bank, Demand Refund of Deposits

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

It was complete disappointment yesterday as customers of SMBC Micro-finance Bank were turned back when they stormed the bank to collect their money deposited with the bank
The customers numbering over 40 who stormed bank premises as early as 10am in Benin City, said the activities of the micro-finance bank became so suspicious since the building was taken over by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

The building housing the financial institution has been earmarked with red by the EFCC for investigation.
It however took the promptly intervention of the police to salvage the situation.

One of the customers of the bank, who identified himself, Samson Agidigbi, said he has deposited N800,000 meant for his cooperative with the bank and that he was about depositing more money when he saw customers gathering in clusters, discussing on how they could get their money back and that made him stopped depositing more money for the day.

“We are an Association of Air-condition Practitioners. So we opened our cooperative account here. We always come here to pay in money. I am their treasurer. I always come here to pay in money.
“Last week I was here to pay in money and even this morning, I am also here to pay in money but I observed that the place looked so scanty. Then, I decided to ask what was going on; the cashier said nothing but gave me a form which i filled.

“The other girl said she wanted to call the cashier later she said I should drop the money with her and come back for the deposit slip but I refused. So I decided to move on to inquire what was going on outside before I can pay in my money.

“And when I got there I saw people gathering outside discussing on how to get their money and that made me to change my mind of paying in more money today. They are owing my cooperative N800,000 and we have been banking with them for over three years now”, he said.

Another customer, Tracy Igbinovia said she deposited the sum of N64,400 with the micro-financial bank and wondered how she could get her money back as none of the staff was willing to tell them when and how to get it back

The Manager who only gave her name as Bridget pleaded with the angry customers to give the bank time to sort things out as the institution was facing some challenges as a result of the frozen of the bank’s account by the EFCC.