Nigerian banks have stopped over-the-counter payment with new naira and have moved the same to the paying machines, known as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), BusinessDay findings have revealed.
This is in response to the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last week that all banks should with immediate effect load the ATMs with the new naira and stop over-the-counter disbursement.
A visit to some of the banks in Lagos showed that some banks’ ATM machines were dispensing the new naira notes while others were dispensing the old banknotes. The CBN had threatened to sanction any bank that fails to comply with its order.
BusinessDay visited more than 12 bank branches across Lagos State between Thursday and Friday and discovered that these banks were no longer paying with the new naira over the counter.
Investigation over the weekend showed that the ATM machine of one of the branches of First Bank of Nigeria in Apapa dispensed new notes of N1,000 denomination during the morning session but at about 1.00 pm, it stopped and customers were disappointed.
At Fidelity Bank in Apapa, customers were disappointed as the ATM machines were not dispensing cash. However, one of the cashiers pleaded with the customers to wait between 30 minutes and one hour for the ATM to be loaded with new naira.
“How can I stand here waiting for that long? Is it that I do not have any other work to do?” one customer queried and left.
Customers who visited Access Bank in Apapa on Friday morning could not get the new naira on the ATM but later around 2.00pm the paying machine was seen dispensing new notes.
All the customers who went to Zenith bank at Apapa withdrew old notes as the bank’s ATM machines could not dispense new naira.
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The ATM machine of one of the branches of GTBank at Surulere could not dispense new naira notes, leaving the customers grumbling.
“Imagine, the CBN gave them an order to load their ATMs with new naira and up till now they are giving us the old notes,” one customer grumbled.
Further investigation shows that United Bank for Africa (UBA) at Alakija dedicated one of its ATM machines to be dispensing new naira notes but limited to N5,000 per transaction.
All the banks’ ATMs at Mazama as on Thursday were dispensing (mixed) old and new naira notes at the same time.
What some greedy people who have the opportunity to withdraw the new naira are doing is to withdraw large sums to keep at home. This is contributing to the scarcity of the new naira,” a bank staff said under anonymity.
Meanwhile some Nigerians show less interest in the new naira note as all they are keen about is to get their cash and go. “So you want only the new naira? You do not need money,” one customer told another.
The CBN has commenced sensitisation exercises across the country on the new naira and the deadline for return of old notes which ends in the next two weeks.
“The deadline is January 31, 2023 and it is not changing. As I speak with you, we have not changed the deadline, it remains sacrosanct. What we are asking the banks and the public to do is to surrender the old notes and take the new ones. We have enough new notes in supply,” Godfrey Bariboloka Koyor, branch controller, CBN, Lagos, said.
He said the apex bank initially had a challenge as people were not depositing the old notes, but the situation had changed.