Economy

Banks raise cash withdrawal limits to reduce queues

Deposit Money Banks are set to raise their cash withdrawal limits from the current N20,000-N50,000 range to over N80,000-N100,000, according to multiple bank officials.

 

The move, it was learnt, would help bank branches to tackle lingering queues in some cities across the country.

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria had on Friday directed commercial banks to open for operation on Saturday and Sunday, as part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of old and new banknotes.

 

This came after the CBN began the release of billions of old naira notes to DMBs. The central bank on Thursday finally obeyed the Supreme Court on the legal status of the old naira notes after months of controversy that trailed the naira redesign policy.

 

According to findings, most DMBs currently pay between N20,000 and N50,000 over-the-counter and Automated Teller Machines.

 

However, officials told our correspondents that banks were planning to raise the limits to enhance currency circulation and put a permanent end to queues in banking halls and ATM galleries.

 

Customers had on Monday thronged banking halls and ATM galleries to get cash despite the banks working throughout the weekend.

 

Visits to several bank branches in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun State and other cities revealed that customers in their numbers converged on bank premises to withdraw cash.

 

At the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, bank customers were able to access cash with less stress.

 

A visit to various bank branches showed that the queues at banking halls and ATM galleries had reduced.

 

The banks include Zenith Bank, Keystone Bank, Eco Bank and Access Bank located in Area One and Central Area.

 

The Access Bank branch at Garki dispensed a maximum of N20,000 via its ATM.

 

At Ecobank located in the same area, its busy cashier paid N50,000 to its customers while non-account holders were allowed to withdraw N10,000 at its ATM stand.

 

At Zenith Bank customers were allowed to withdraw as high as N500,000 over the counter.

 

However, Keystone Bank claimed not to have cash for disbursement due to low allocation from the apex bank.

 

A trader, who simply identified as Yohanna, applauded the availability of the naira notes, saying that the development has positively affected her business as customers now bring cash.

 

She said, “I am very happy about the availability of cash. My customers are now paying with cash and I don’t have to wait for transfers or POS before I can conduct any transaction.”

 

In Lagos State, at the Access Bank and Union Bank branches in the Sabo Yaba area of the state, customers were able to access cash via their Automated Teller Machines.

 

In the Ikeja area of the state, banks were also dispensing cash albeit old naira notes. However, a few customers who could gain access to a Fidelity Bank in the area were able to leave with a mixture of both old and new banknotes.

 

The branch of Union Bank Plc located at Mazamaza, Lagos allowed customers into its banking hall in batches. The ATMs were however not loaded. The branches of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, and Access Bank Plc at Mazamaza did not grant customers access their ATMs.

 

At Oshodi Express, branches of Access Bank and Fidelity Bank dispensed cash inside their banking halls and via ATMs.

 

At the Ecobank branch at Ketu bus stop, Lagos, bank customers had access to N30,000 each in over-the-counter withdrawals.

 

As of 10:10am, our correspondent observed there were crowds of customers at the Guaranty Trust Bank branch inside the Redemption Camp. Some customers struggled to withdraw cash from the bank’s ATMs

 

The Premium Trust Bank had a minimal crowd as the long queue was well organised. Meanwhile, Unity Bank ATM dispensed cash to account holders only. Customers of other banks were unable to withdraw from the ATM.

 

Similarly, customers thronged banks in the Isolo and Airport Road area of Lagos on Monday. The majority of the banks were also disbursing cash, especially through their ATMs to customers.

 

The Access Bank branch in the Ire Akari area of Isolo, Lagos, was fully operational despite the crowd of customers who wanted to carry out different banking transactions. Customers were able to withdraw and deposit cash while the ATMs dispensed cash with a limit of N10,000.

 

At the Ecobank branch located at the Isolo bus stop, Lagos, a limited number of customers were allowed to go into the banking hall. Its ATMs were only paying N3,000. Some customers who had more than one debit cards were, however, able to withdraw more cash.

 

The First Bank branch located along Okota Road was fully operational with a large crowd.

 

The FCMB branch along Osolo Way, near Airport Road was operational. Customers joined queues to enter the bank for transactions. The lender’s ATMs also dispensed with a limit of N10,000.

 

A customer who introduced herself as Anu said “I wanted to make a withdrawal of N30,000 but the ATM could not dispense more than N10,000. I will manage this and make another withdrawal tomorrow till everything normalises.”

 

(The Punch)

 

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