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Banks Deny Hoarding Cash, Say N100bn Invested In IT Infrastructure

Banks Deny Hoarding Cash, Say N100bn Invested In IT Infrastructure

Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have spurned claims by some Nigerians, including the damning verdict passed on them by President Muhammadu Buhari, that they are complacent and have been hoarding naira notes.

In the past few days, the country had been enveloped in tension and panic, as Nigerians battle helplessly to obtain cash at banks, ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) terminals. Apparently dismayed by the development, President Buhari, on Friday at a meeting with governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had expressed doubts about the commitment of banks to the success of the policy, describing them as “inefficient”.

“Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves, even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away,” the president noted.

But absolving themselves of complacency in the scarcity of cash across the country, the commercial banks clarified that over N100 billion have been invested in technology to ensure customers enjoy seamless electronic transactions.

Speaking under the  auspices of the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB), the banks said contrary to the belief of some,  they had been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that the hardship that bank customers are currently experiencing due to the nationwide scarcity of naira notes is resolved on time.

In a statement signed by its president, Rasheed Bolarinwa, ACAMB said the entire banking sector is working with the apex bank and other stakeholders to urgently address constraints in the implementation and ensure that Nigerians suffer no untoward pains in the transition process.

They stated: “Nigerian banks are currently working with CBN to ensure that customers have access to cash through ATMs and other channels as well as Over-The-Counter (OTC) in the banking halls.

“ACAMB affirms without any equivocation that banks are not in any way hoarding or holding back naira notes or engaging in any act inimical to our avowed commitment to exciting customer experience. ATMs are being loaded every day and cash is being paid as provided by the CBN, as regularly being checked by CBN Inspectors and other regulators including anti-graft agencies.

“In the past few hours, banks have taken additional measures to quicken the flow of naira notes. These measures, among others, include deployment of extra technical supports for online payments, additional security at ATMs to ensure all-clock usage, technological back-up to reduce online downtime to the barest minimum, additional staff deployment to counters to attend to cash transactions and timely interbank and inter-branch networking to bridge any gap.

“We are confident that these measures, in addition to efforts by the regulatory CBN, will result in greater ease of access and cash liquidity. The Federal Government and the CBN have reiterated similar readiness to address any constraint in the cyclical flow, including making adjustments, where necessary.”

ACAMB implored the Nigerian banking public to exercise patience instead of resorting to any untoward behaviour against bank staff or banking facilities.

Nigerian banks, majority of which are publicly quoted, it said, are owned by millions of Nigerians and provide employment to several millions of staff, who work 24/7 to ensure that the generality of Nigerians have reliable and secured, globally competitive banking services.

Stating that Nigerian banks have invested an estimated total sum in excess of N100 billion in setting up and maintaining cutting-edge electronic channels over the past few years as part of ongoing commitment to seamless customer experience and real time digital financial transactions, the bank managers added that “from internet banking to mobile apps, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) merchants, mobile wallets, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes, agents and digital franchises among others, not less than 80 per cent of Nigerians now enjoy one form of digital or cashless transaction or another, powered by investments by Nigerian Banks.”

These commitments by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), the group said, have seen Nigeria rising steadily and recognised as having arguably Africa’s most advanced digital financial services industry and one of the world’s top 10 real-time payment markets.

It added: “It is a national pride and a proof of Nigerian Banks’ commitment to customer service that Nigeria is regarded as having Africa’s most digitized banking industry. Nigerian Banks remain committed to continuing investments in seamless and secured digital banking that EXCITE customers to voluntarily use and rely on the various digital and alternate payment systems.

“In view of its numerous benefits and the cutting-edge capability of the Nigerian banking sector, ACAMB fully supports the enhanced cashless policy championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The cashless policy is generally in line with the yearnings of the most Nigerians for the elimination of corrupt practices in financial transactions, adequate security and improvements in law enforcements and general integrity of the wealth creation process. As shown by global evidence, the cashless policy helps in curbing crimes such as; kidnapping, banditry and official sleaze, among others”.


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