The Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) has reacted to speculations on banks hoarding new naira notes against Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directives.
ACAMB empathizes with the Nigerian public on the unintended hardships being faced in the process of the ongoing rollout of re-designed naira notes and enhanced cashless policy.
A statement signed by Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa, President, ACAMB stated: “There is no doubt that the unintended constraints in the withdrawal of old naira notes and circulation of new naira notes, alongside the national policy to enhance cashless transactions, have had UNINTENDED effects on the generality of the Nigerian populace.
“Nigerian Banks have invested an estimated total sum in excess of N100 billion in setting up and maintaining cutting-edge electronic channels over the past few years as part of an ongoing commitment to seamless customer experience and real-time digital financial transactions. From internet banking to mobile apps, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) merchants, mobile wallets, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes, agents, and digital franchises among others; not less than 80 per cent of Nigerians now enjoy one form of digital or cashless transaction or another, powered by investments by Nigerian Banks.”
“These commitments by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have seen Nigeria rising steadily and recognised as having arguably Africa’s most advanced digital financial services industry and one of the world’s top 10 real-time payment markets. It is a national pride and proof of Nigerian Banks’ commitment to customer service that Nigeria is regarded as having Africa’s most digitized banking industry. Nigerian Banks remain committed to continuing investments in seamless and secured digital banking that EXCITE customers to voluntarily use and rely on the various digital and alternate PAYMENT SYSTEMS available.”
He noted that “In view of its numerous benefits and the cutting-edge capability of the Nigerian banking sector, ACAMB fully supports the enhanced cashless policy championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The entire banking sector is working with the apex Bank and other stakeholders to urgently address constraints in the implementation and ensure that Nigerians suffer no untoward pains in the transition process.
“Nigerian Banks are currently working with the CBN to ensure that customers have access to cash through ATMs and other channels as well as Over-The-Counter (OTC) in the banking halls. ACAMB AFFIRMS without any equivocation that Banks are not in any way hoarding or holding back naira notes or engaging in any act inimical to our avowed commitment to exciting customer experience. ATMs are being loaded every day and cash is being paid as provided by the CBN, as regularly being checked by CBN Inspectors and other regulators including anti-graft agencies.
“In the past few hours, Banks have taken additional measures to quicken the flow of naira notes. These measures, among others, include the deployment of extra technical supports for online payments, additional security at ATMs to ensure all-clock usage, technological back-up to reduce online downtime to the barest minimum, additional staff deployment to counters to attend to cash transactions and timely interbank and inter-branch networking to bridge any gap. We are confident that these measures, in addition to efforts by the regulatory CBN, will result in greater ease of access and cash liquidity. The Federal Government and the CBN have reiterated similar readiness to address any constraint in the cyclical flow, including making adjustments, where necessary. ACAMB urges Nigerian banking public to exercise patience and not to resort to any untoward behavior against Bank staff or banking facilities. Nigerian Banks, the majority of which are publicly quoted, are owned by millions of Nigerians and provide employment to several millions of staff, who work 24/7 to ensure that the generality of Nigerians has reliable and secured globally competitive banking services.
Bolarinwa emphasised that “The cashless policy is generally in line with the yearnings of most Nigerians for the elimination of corrupt practices in financial transactions, adequate security and improvements in law enforcement, and the general integrity of the wealth creation process. As shown by global evidence, a cashless policy helps in curbing crimes such as; kidnapping, banditry, and official sleaze, among others.
“The cashless or digital transaction is also a boost to commerce and industry; as well as public finance. It is noteworthy that digitization of public finances of many states and at national level has led to phenomenal improvement in REVENUE GENERATION, which form the basis of improved infrastructural renewals Nigerians now cherish. It is also noteworthy that all stakeholders agreed on the importance and advantages of the redesigning of naira notes. The redesigning of naira notes safeguards the Nigerian economy and the country’s sovereignty, by strengthening the nation’s currency flow and control. We believe that ongoing concerted efforts will address the constraints currently being experienced in the cyclical flow of the new naira notes and the legal tenders generally.
Banks and customers are inseparable stakeholders as they exist for one another. It is, therefore, detrimental to the interest of the general banking public to disrupt banking operations by untoward actions against Bank staff or vandalisation of banking facilities. The Nigerian banking industry owes its global success as a leader in digital banking to its enthusiastic customers and remains committed to doing everything possible to ensure customers continue to have delightful experiences; in the banking halls and across the electronic and other alternate channels. ACAMB implores Nigerians to consider the big picture of the advantages of the redesigning of the naira and enhanced cashless policy, and therefore exercise patience, as stakeholders work to ensure normalcy. Customers must demonstrate ownership of their Banks and eschew any act that could lead to the disruption of banking operations or damage to banking facilities.
“ACAMB shall continue to engage all stakeholders and stimulate effective communications to foster greater understanding and forbearance, he concluded.