LAGOS, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 – Some bank customers in the South-East have urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to compel commercial banks to urgently address challenges facing transactions with ATMs at weekends and national public holidays.
The customers made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday while expressing frustration, anger and anxiety due to the poor performance of the ATMs in banks during the long Eid-el-kabir holidays.
In Abakaliki, there were long queues at many ATM points during the holidays due to network failures and cash shortages.
NAN reports that customers were seen shuttling from one bank to another in efforts to make withdrawals.
But bank officials attached to the ATMs declined to make comments.
Customers have questioned the CBN for encouraging the banking public to use electronic payment system when they could not fix the problems associated with the e-banking.
“Nigerian banks should upgrade their technology for the cashless policy of the Federal Government to meet demands of the ATM banking public.
“Banks should arrange for technical staff that will attend to cash shortages or network failures; Nigerians do not deserve this of kind situation,” the customers said.
Mr Charles Eze, who spoke to NAN at one of the commercial banks at Ogoja Road in Abakaliki, said that he was at the bank since 9.00a.m, but said that network had been on and off, keeping customers waiting and frustrated.
“I am here to withdraw money for the family needs, but I cannot; it is frustrating indeed.
“It is sad that we are still experiencing this kind of situation. It is important that the banks deploy robust technologies for e-banking,” Eze said.
Another depositor, Mrs Eucharia Agbo, urged bank operators to find lasting solution to the problems Nigerians were facing in using e-banking platforms for cash transactions, especially during the weekends and public holidays.
Agbo, a teacher in Model Urban Secondary School, Abakaliki, said network failures and cash shortages at ATMs being experienced by the customers had become a regular feature during weekend periods and public holidays.
“Let banks bring in robust technology that will boost the e-banking business to eliminate the embarrassment and frustration that their clients are subjected to, especially during public holidays and weekends,” she said.
Lawrence Obiekwena and Magnus Okereke, civil servants narrating their harrowing experiences, said that it was time Nigerian banks prepared for situations like this.
“This kind of thing cannot happen in the developed economy. Nigeria banks lack customer-care.
“We do not see the reason banks cannot brace up for this kind of challenge.
“Do we deserve this kind of suffering? It is very sad that the banks cannot invest in the right technology to save customers,” they said.
Malam Danjuma Ibrahim , a ram seller at the Abakaliki cattle market who was the Ecobank to make withdrawal, said that he had been on the queue for more than 30 minutes to withdraw cash for the Eid celebration.
“Nigerian banks are frustrating the banking public as a result of network failures, shortage of cash experienced by the customers and inability to get your ATM card back immediately when seized by the machine.
“The government is preaching cashless economy, but has not put in place the right infratsructure to do it.
‘It is sad to experience difficulty in an apparent attempt to withdraw money these holidays,” he said.
But in Enugu, customers expressed relative satisfaction and ease in the use of ATMs for withdrawing cash this Eld-el-Kabir holidays.
NAN correspondent, who monitored commercial banks in Agbani Road, Zik Avenue, Okpara Avenue, Liberty-Abakpa and Uwani areas, observed that customers collected money with ease with few people on queues at ATM points.
Mr Obinna Onu, a resident of Achara Layout, said that he withdrew money in a new generation bank at Mayor Bus Stop within 12 minutes.
“I have just spent about 12 minutes to make my withdrawal. It is quite okay spending that little time. This shows some improvement,” Onu said.
Mrs Amarachi Onyia, a trader at Ogbete Market, said that he withdrew at Zenith Bank in Okpara Avenue by Holy Ghost without any queue and was paid clean naira bills by the machine.
‘Unlike other public holidays, I did not meet any queue in the seven ATM points within the Zenith bank premises. It is so easy today, as you can see,” Onyia said.
A security man in one of the old generation banks in Liberty area of Abakpa, who simply identified himself as Kingsley, said that there was no rush or crowd like during previous holidays.
He said that it was only on Thursday that the bank experienced lengthy queue of about 25 customers, but “since Friday, fewer people visited these four ATM points here.
‘As you can see the ATM points are virtually free. It was only Thursday evening that we controlled people staying on the queue here, but as you can see once someone comes, he goes straight and gets his money instantly,” he said.
In Awka, customers decried the long queues at most ATM points.
Mr Tokas Uzondu told NAN at Ecobank branch near Government House that the long queue was because the bank programmed the machine to dispense N5,000 per transaction.
Another customer, Mr Anthony Ikem, said he was at the Access Bank branch at Regina Junction because of the massive crowd at Fidelity branch.
He said he chose to use his bank to avoid being charged for interbank services.
Other ATMs visited in banks at Awka were operational and seamless as at Monday.
The consensus of customers is that CBN should compel commercial banks to put the state of the art technology in their branches to boost the Federal Government’s cashless policy