Access Bank to refund stamp duty charges after customers’ outcry

Access Bank Plc has said it would refund its customers whose accounts were debited for stamp duty charges.

The bank made this known on Sunday after it received heavy criticisms for the charges.

Recall that account owners on the microblogging site, Twitter, called out the bank throughout the weekend for the charges, which some of them described as insensitive, coming at a time when many had lost their means of livelihood due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the bank, in a statement, said it had informed the customers earlier in the week of its decision.

“Earlier this week, we informed all our customers that we had inadvertently not charged stamp duty on some accounts from February to April 2020 as mandated by the Federal Government,” the statement read.

Explaining the reason for stamp duty charges, the bank said: “Stamp duty charge collection is in compliance with the mandate of the Finance Act, 2019 (Stamp Duty Act, Cap S8). We are required by law to apply this charge as applicable and remit all funds collected to the Federal Government.”

Promising to refund the affected customers their money, the bank said it had taken cognisance of the customers’ displeasure and had decided to rescind its decision for the affected months of February, March and April, saying it would pay the Federal Government on the customers’ behalf.

“We have considered your feedback and have decided to pay the stamp duty on our customers’ behalf for the affected period only. This means all individual and SMEs who were debited for the accumulated stamp duty charge for February to April 2020, will be refunded.

“While we still have to remit these funds via the CBN to the Federal Government, we realise that we got it wrong by debiting our customers late, and we are refunding the affected stamp duty charge today to all affected customers,” the bank said.

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