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Customers cry out as banks slash withdrawal limits

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As the Yuletide season approaches, there is a rise in demand for more cash by bank customers; however, some banks have slashed the withdrawal limits of their customers.

Findings across bank branches in some key cities in the federation revealed that many customers could not withdraw the total amount they needed over the counter due to a lack of adequate amount of cash on the part of the banks.

Some bank customers, who spoke to journalists, said bank officials reduced the amount their customers wanted to withdraw and asked them to use alternative channels to carry out outstanding transactions.

Furthermore, it was learnt that many banks in most parts of the country did not load all their ATMs.

It was learnt that the development affected several operators of Point of Sale (POS) businesses 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 newsmen on Tuesday.

Some of the customers observed that the problem had started 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.

Some 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 lamented.

Bank officials, who confirmed the scarcity of cash flow on condition of anonymity, 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 do 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 pleaded anonymity said.

Also, in Ondo State, it is observed that many commercial banks were operating without adequate cash to meet their numerous customers’ needs.

There were also long queues of customers at the Automated Teller Machines points as some of the machines could not dispense cash. It was observed that many of them were not loaded with cash.
A staff of one of the banks in Akure, the state capital, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the shortage of cash supply from the CBN.

She said, “For some time now, we have not got enough cash from the CBN, we have many customers who want cash but we can’t give enough because we have a shortage in supply. All we tell our customers is that there is no network, in order not to make them feel disappointed; we can’t tell them that there is no cash. It is odd to hear but that is the situation we find ourselves.”
Some operators of PoS business in the state were also affected by the development.
An operator, who identified himself as Adegbola, said the low flow of cash from the banks affected his business.

“For the past few days now, I could not attend to customers 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.

However, 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.”

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