Acting on the alleged hoarding and sales to politicians of the newly redesigned naira notes by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has intensified monitoring of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in order to identify banks that are flouting its directive mandating DMBs to push out newly redesigned naira notes.
A team dispatched to Marina, Lagos, last week, comprising top executives of the CBN and some journalists visited First Bank, Marina branch, Union Bank, Polaris Bank, First City Monument Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, Tinubu Square, Lagos.
Before the team left the banks’ premises, they ensured that the ATMs had been loaded with new notes as most of the team members made withdrawals.
Checks revealed a disturbing trend whereby most banks seemed to have deliberately shut down their ATMs. While some attributed this to a ploy to conserve more redesigned naira notes at the instance of networth customers who are mainly politicians, others said the banks were disabling their ATMs in order to avoid interface with the CBN monitoring teams.
When asked what sanctions the CBN has mapped out for banks that are found guilty of hoarding and selling the notes, a deputy director at CBN, Seyi Badmos, said he was not in a position to disclose the specific sanction but that the CBN is seriously monitoring the banks.
According to him, if any bank claims it has no new notes, the CBN officials will look at the records and reconcile the amount given to such bank and how much it has dispensed to the banking public.
Badmos said, “The reason we are going round bank branches is to ensure that the banks are dispensing the new naira notes.
“We have told them to push out the new notes across the ATMs as that is the only way you can make the currency available to more Nigerians.”
Nigerian Tribune further visited Heritage Bank, UBA and Zenith Bank at Oshodi Lagos and discovered that the new notes were in some machines while the old notes were also being dispensed by another machine in the banks’ ATM gallery.
Earlier, the team after monitoring the ATMs of other banks to ensure they dispensed only the new notes, called on citizens to adhere to the instruction given and ensure they take their old notes to the banks ahead of the January 31 deadline so they don’t lose the money.
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