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Published On: Wed, Sep 3rd, 2014

Abuja residents lampoon CBN, banks over reintroduction of ATM charges

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Emefiele GodwinBy Mahmud Jika

Some residents of Abuja, the nation’s capital have lambasted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other financial institutions overthe reintroduction of N65.00chargeson extended use of other banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) especially for withdrawals in the country.

Many residents, who are bank customers,are complaining that the development would further subject people to more hardships, as the new policy only favoured the banks and their owners under the pretext of a legal backing by the apex bank.

They said that while the bank customers rather than to be treated as kings in the industry, are being used as onlyinstruments of money making for the financial institutions and a few richones in the society.

It could be recalled that with new policy which took effects on 1st September, the charges applies when a bank customer withdraws money from another bank’ ATM facility.

Peoples Daily recalls that since the announcement of the re-launching of the policy to the public, ithad so far generated a mixed reaction among bank customers and other stakeholders across the country, which raises the fundamental issue of policy inconsistency ingovernance.

Checks by our correspondent on activities at different ATM points within the metropolis revealed that while some of the ATM machines had a long queue of customers waiting to use the service, while others were seen empty.

A cross section of people, who spoke to Peoples Daily, said they have not found it easy with the reintroduction of the ATM charges , when a bank customer withdraws money from another bank’ ATM facility.

A resident, Ademola Oluwasheju, described the new policy as capitalism at its peak, as the system only favours the rich and big business owners, whereas the common man on the street would always be subjected to exploitation.

“If it is not capitalism at its peak, how come even with all the profits- amounting to billions of naira these banks are making daily, so, the new policy is adding more money to them, while ordinary customers are getting more sufferings as they earn nothing good from it”, he stressed.

Similarly, one Mrs. Evelyn Frank, who narrated her recent bitter encounter with one of the ATM machines belonging to a new generation bank, said she spent almost forty minutes at the ATM machine point without being able to make withdrawal, even though the card she was using belongs to the same bank.

“But the machine is paying to customers having other banks card, while any card belonging to her bank’s ATM machine,and it was rejecting the payment.

“After I reported the issue to the customer care, they (bank’s management) said it’s a network problem.

“But, I think we are having these new challenges due to the enforcement of the new policy on ATM charges , therefore to me it seems is a kind of collaborative network to reap us of our hard earned resources(customers)”, she laments.

Another ATM user Michele Solomon, who was at an ATM point, complained that she had spent N200 on transport to reach her banks ATM machine dispensing point, while the remaining balance in her account as you can see is only N2000.00.

“I had spent N200.00 as transport fee that brought me to this place (ATM machine);then it makes one to wonder what the benefits of keeping money in these banks are?

“And if you asked them they will answer that it is for safe keeping purpose, but in reality they are the only ones benefiting while we the customers, they continue to look down on us,” she said.

But, one Ismail Sanusi Hamza, who noted that it is a natural phenomenon with new policy, which always comes with sweetness and a mixture of bitterness.

He opined that Nigerians should try and accept the new policy of the CBN, as life is very dynamic, and what goes up must surely come down with time.

“Even though the apex bank’s reason behind the reintroduction of the ATM charges is not a very convincing one, but the motive behind it appears very clear to all,” he expressed.

A civil servant, Abembola Oke, said bank customers will forever be grateful to the immediate past Central bank governor for revolutionizing the banking sector, which made the customers to feel the direct impact by removing the hitherto obnoxious ATM charges of N100.00.

“Then, it is a victory that many predicted will not last long; as many forces within the financial system are not happy with that development, it is not a surprise seeing its reintroduction by the present CBN regime. It is only very unfortunate that things are happening like that.

According to one Mr. Kelechi Ohanacho, “for me, whatever they think is right and will benefit economic growth of the financial institution, is always ok by me, the only thing is to seek for God’s guidance and wish our leaders all the best in their respective endeavours.”

On his part, an economist, Mustapha Sa’ad, called on the current CBN’s leadership to always reason with the citizens in formulating policies.

“Policy formulation must always be taken with human face, some of the policies the new central bank governor is putting on the nation’s economic table appears to be a form of counter to that of his predecessor. Bu politicising economic policy, resulting in policy inconsistency is a set back to our national development.

“Therefore any policy by the CBN should put the masses first, because without the bank customers, there will be no existence of these banks, and the fact that the presence of these commercial banks that gave birth to the regulatory apex bank, each of them is important as their services are interwoven,” added.

 

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