Commercial banks in Nigeria have condemned attacks recorded at few of their branches across the country and urged customers to desist from transferring aggression on the banking sector.
The President of the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks, Rasheed Bolarinwa, while speaking on a radio programme monitored in Osogbo, on Wednesday, said the banking sector has done a lot for Nigerians, especially their customers to warrant such attacks.
It will be recalled that some banks had been attacked in Ibadan, Oyo State and Abeokuta in Ogun State during violent protests by some angry Nigerians against the scarcity of naira notes and alleged hoarding of the redesigned currency by the banks.
Bolarinwa argued that the banking sector has contributed a lot to alleviating suffering of Nigerians, provide millions of jobs for the unemployed and making loans available for their customers.
He called on Nigerians to desist from attacking facilities at banks.
He denied allegations by some anti-graft agencies and officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria that banks were hoarding the notes and refusing to load them on their Automated Teller Machines.
“Banks are not hoarding money and not hiding money from the people. Is it not the same banks that have existed for more than 130 years conducting businesses with our people. We understand the hiccups and the pains Nigerians are believed to go through with the implementation of the currency redesign that is meant to promote a cashless society. But, the implementation has gone awry.
“Look at the isolated case that happened in Ekiti. Thank God the bank concerned was able to issue a statement explaining what happened to those N200 notes of six million naira that was found, which was put on social media. The tax force has been working round the clock, working around Nigeria and making sure that money that was given to the banks are appropriately spent.
“The ATMs have been loaded with money but there are still long queues. I want people to be patient. We know the pains that the hiccups have caused but we need to plead with Nigerians, please, don’t attack the banks.
“What happened in Abeokuta; I have a friend there and I learned that the bank was paying over the counter and ATMs were spilling out naira and there were queues, but the protesters were hauling stones at the bank, destroying the property.
“I want Nigerians to know that bank officials are not enemies of the people. We have existed, doing businesses together and enabling institutions, so, they should know that Nigerian banks are not enemies of the people. If there are challenges, let us point them out; the bank managers are there and they are close to you. They are your brothers and sisters. An average banker has more than eight dependants on him, so, we should not go about attacking banks. The banks are not our fault. I know the CBN are making efforts to get the issue resolved. The government itself is also doing alot,” he explained.
On the huge cash discovered at the vaults of banks by the monitoring teams, Bolarinwa said the money was not hoarded as claimed.
He explained that, “if you give N25 million to a bank, the money has to stay in the vault and that’s the protocol. The money will be issued to the counter, where it would be paid over the counter where a customer cannot take more than N20,000 and at the ATMs. As the money gets exhausted in the ATMs, they move money from the vault into the ATM and people are getting the money.
“There is no way banks will have money and won’t dispense it. An average ATM takes up to N8 million. Let’s assume that CBN gives N25 million to a bank and the bank has about four ATM points and you load N8 million to each of the ATMs, what would be remaining would be taken to the counter. The moment that money gets exhausted, everybody will know. There is no way banks will hold on to money.
“The one that happened at a regional bank in Abuja where they found over N200 million, the bank showed them the distribution that has been made, and that N5 million was being sent to all the branches they have in Abuja, so, when issues like this happen, we need to put it into context. Vaults are meant to hold money, so, if an examiner goes into a bank and sees money in the vault, where else do they expect the money to be? It’s from the vault that it gets moved to the ATMs and counter.
“The issue of the money that was said to have been wrapped in ATM. The ATMs has two or three points that were working. That particular ATM was malfunctioning when they got there and that explanation was well given by the branch Zenith Bank manager. There are two leaders in every branch of a bank, Business Development Manager and the Business Credit Manager. If a regulator, wether you are from the CBN or you are from the anti-graft agency, when you reach that environment, you will see the list of every amount of money in the bank and everything is well documented. There are CCTV cameras everywhere.
“So, you cannot do otherwise. Any money that comes from the CBN, gets disbursed to customers through the counter and through the ATM.
“The limits and operations are so strange and banks are adjusting to it. We will continue to serve the public, we exist to serve the public. Is it not the same banks that have existed all along, that have been serving our people? So, what has changed? We are working round the clock to ensure that the alternate channels are up and running. The banks are PLC. They are owned by Nigerians who are shareholders. Nigerian banks have spent so much on alternate channels to ensure that the cashless policy work.We should not, under any circumstance, attack the banks or facilities there. This is a sector that has helped businesses in Nigeria.
“The banks have been there for Nigeria and this is the time to show understanding. We need to endure and things will normalize. We don’t cut the head because we have headache,” he urged bank customers and Nigerians at large.
Leave a Reply