N150,000 CASH LIMIT: Banks begin selective implementation

Although the apex bank said that the policy would commence December with a pilot scheme in Lagos, which would be extended to Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano by June next year, some banks have started selective implementation of the policy, which also banned banks from offering free cash pick services for customers.

Sources said the CBN in a hurry to implement the policy, has encouraged banks to start the implementation as no bank can do such a thing without clearance from the CBN.

Indications to this emerged last week when a bank (name withheld) issued a memo to its BDC customers telling them it would no longer allow cash transactions on their account but bank draft.

Cash lodgement for BDC transactions

The memo entitled ‘No more cash lodgement for BDC transaction,’ stated: “Please note the following important information on your account with us which we have introduced in order to serve you better. Effective June 15, 2011, ONLY Certified Bank Drafts will be acceptable means of payment for Bureau de change, BDC, purchases. Cash lodgment for BDC transaction will no longer be accepted.

Transfers of cash lodgments from other account types into BDC accounts for the purposes of transacting purchases is also NOT acceptable. This new policy will enable us serve you better and faster.

“We assure you of our commitment to ensure a smooth processing of your transactions without disruption or delay to your operations. Thank you for your understanding and co_operation.”

A top official of the bank, who pleaded anonymity, told Vanguard that the directive was an internal memo to staff to encourage customers to use alternative means of payment instead of cash, adding that the aim was to reduce cost of cash processing for the bank.

Meanwhile, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions, has condemned the policy that limits free cash transactions saying: “It is another policy fraught with danger.”

In a statement by Comrades Emeka Ogene and O. P Orere, President and Secretary-General of ASSBIFI affiliated to Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, lamented that the controversy trailing the recent pronouncement by CBN to limit cash withdrawal in the country, had died down when it threatened to liquidate any of the eight rescued banks it intervened into their management last year unless certain options are urgently taken before September 30, 2011.