Nume Ekeghe in Lagos and Laleye Dipo in Minna with agency reports
Following the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the deposit money banks (DMBs) yesterday opened their doors to customers in Abuja, Lagos, and other states for cash deposits and withdrawals in a bid to ease the cash crunch and provide succor to customers.
THISDAY checks revealed that compliance with the directive was high in Lagos and some other states.
THISDAY gathered across the country that some banks that did not open their banking halls, ensured their automated teller machines (ATMs) were loaded with cash to serve customers.
In Lagos, Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank, and Union Bank were some of the banks that complied with the directive.
At the Gbagada axis of Lagos, GTBank, Stanbic Polaris Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank, Fidelity Bank, and Providus Bank were both dispensing via ATMs as well as serving customers inside their banking halls.
Also, THISDAY witnessed full compliance by the banks around Oba Akran and Ikeja. In some parts of Abule Egba, some of the banks were also seen attending to customers within and outside their banking halls.
Some bank officials, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that the apex bank released a sizeable amount of funds to bank branches nationwide.
At the Access Bank branch on Gado Nasko Road in the Kubwa area of Abuja, customers were allowed to withdraw a maximum of N20,000 through the counter and N10,000 from the ATMs.
It was however gathered that non-customers of the bank were allowed to withdraw N2,000 from the ATM.
At the Fidelity Bank branch on the same axis, the ATMs were yet to start dispensing cash, but customers were allowed to withdraw a maximum of N10,000 inside the banking halls.
The Stanbic IBTC branch allowed for a maximum withdrawal of N30,000 through the counter, while the ATMs were not dispensing.
Some other banks like First Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Union Bank, and Unity Bank also had a large turnout of customers.
A resident of Kubwa, Abbas Ibrahim, expressed relief that the CBN had finally allowed the use of the old Naira notes till December.
“At least, between now and December all the stakeholders should have been fully prepared for the Naira redesign,” he said.
Another resident, Sule Aliu, also commended the apex bank for directing banks to work during the weekend.
“At this rate, within the next one week the situation will become normalised, ” he said.
In Niger State, customers also besieged the premises of commercial banks in Minna, the state capital to make cash withdrawals.
As early as 7 am, the premises of the banks were thronged by eager customers, though most of the banks did not open until about 11 am.
When THISDAY visited some of the banks, it was observed that they were dispensing varying amounts through their ATMs.
For instance, two of the old-generation banks were dispensing N5,000 to each customer inside the banking hall, while another first-generation bank was dispensing N20,000.
Customers could also withdraw a maximum of N10,000 through the ATMs.
However, most of the banks closed at 2 pm. The situation was the same in most parts of the country.
The CBN had on Friday confirmed the evacuation of banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks and assured Nigerians in a statement that its latest directive to the banks would reduce the cash crunch
The CBN, which said this through its acting Director of Corporate Communications Department, Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, in a statement, had also directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
The apex bank’s spokesman said a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.
AbdulMumin added that the CBN had also directed all banks to load their ATMs.