Amid a surge in demand for more cash by bank customers as the Yuletide season approaches, some Deposit Money Banks have slashed the withdrawal limits of their customers.
Findings across bank branches in some key cities in the country revealed that many customers could not withdraw the total amount they needed over the counter due to lack of adequate amount of cash on the part of the banks.
Some bank customers, who spoke to our correspondents, said bank officials simply reduced the amount their customers wanted to withdraw and asked them to use alternative channels to carry out their outstanding transactions.
Furthermore, it was learnt that most of the banks did not load all their ATMs, a situation that worsened the plight of the customers.
The development, it was learnt, affected several operators of Point of Sale business who could not withdraw enough cash from the banks and the ATMs to run their businesses properly.
Customers from several parts of the country including Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Taraba, and Abuja shared their grievances in separate interviews with our correspondents on Tuesday.
Some of the customers observed that the problem had started since last week.
“I was at Access Bank and Gtbank branches inside Redemption Camp in Ogun State to collect N500,000 on Monday but I could not do so. Access Bank officials said they could give me only N100,000. Gtbank officers also claimed they could give me only N150,000. The two banks claimed there wasn’t enough cash and subsequently advised me to use alternative channels to do my remaining transaction,’” one Shola Adekunle, a PoS operator in Mowe told one of our correspondents.
Bank officials, who confirmed the development to our correspondents on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the matter, said the surge in demand occasioned by the Yuletide season had made it difficult for banks to meet the demands of their customers.
“What we have resorted to doing is to encourage our customers to use alternative channels. The CBN hasn’t been giving us enough cash in recent times especially since the surge in demand started a few days ago. But the truth is that people should be encouraged to use alternative channels” the branch manager of a First Bank in Lagos who pleased anonymity told one of our correspondents.
Some operators of PoS business in the state were also affected by the development.
An operator, who identified himself as Adegbola, said the dearth of cash from the banks affected his business.
“For the past few days now, I could not attend to customer who wanted to withdraw over N50,000 at once. This was because I couldn’t receive much cash from my banks. I was forced to be rationing the little cash,” he lamented.
The operator urged the CBN to find a solution to the ugly development as a matter of urgency, saying it had compounded the financial problems of Nigerians.
Business owners in Taraba State have lamented the cash crunch currently affecting banks in the state.
A businesswoman, Mrs. Ngozika Chinyere, said her funds were trapped in the bank in the state and the development was affecting her business.
“I was in the bank on Monday to withdraw N2m, but I was told that I can only withdraw less than N300, 000. Most of my customers are villagers who don’t have bank accounts, so, the development is affecting my business.
“It is very unfortunate that we have money in our accounts, but we cannot withdraw our monies when we need it. We need an explanation as to what is happening,” she lamented.
Aminu Umar a businessman from Mutum-Biyu who also operated a PoS lamented that he was at a Zenith Bank branch in Jalingo to withdraw N10m, but was told that he could only withdraw N3m on account that there was no money.
The visibly angry Umar, who said he needed the N10m for his customers who usually come to buy grains in Mutum-Biyu market called on the central bank to intervene in the lack of cash in circulation.
“Initially, I thought it was only Zenith Bank that is having the problem, but most banks in Jalingo are without money.
“A friend of mine in Kano told me that they are facing the same problem. I want to call on the CBN governor to intervene in the issue especially during this Yuletide that people need cash.”
A customer with one of the new generation banks in Ibadan told one our correspondents on Tuesday that he had difficulties in withdrawing from his bank last Friday.
The customer, who simply identified himself as Godwin said, “ I wanted to withdraw just N250,000 last Friday and I went to two branches of the bank. After spending several hours, I was paid just N50,000. I wanted to use the money to buy a few gifts and keep extra cash in a case of emergency but I was frustrated. One of their officials told me that the CBN did not give them cash.”
However, another customer of the same bank told our customer on Tuesday evening that he withdrew millions of naira from the bank without anybody wasting his time.
He said, “We went to the bank today to withdraw some cash and there was no problem. I withdrew less than N7m with ease. There were even customers making withdrawals and making deposits and I did not see any sign of distress or crisis there.”
The spokesperson for the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, said the issues would be addressed if customers send their complaints to the apex bank through the appropriate channels.
He said, “Customers who are having difficulty withdrawing cash should send their complaints to the CBN through the various channels provided by the bank. This way, the CBN will be aware of the challenge, which banks are affected and address it accurately.”