Cash Scarcity Eases As Banks Raise Withdrawal Limits

Reports from multiple bank officials show that Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) are set to raise their cash withdrawal limits from the current N20,000-N50,000 range to over N80,000-N100,000, to help bank branches to tackle naira scarcity and lingering queues in some cities across the country.

Recall the Central Bank of Nigeria had on Friday last week directed commercial banks to open for operation on Saturday and Sunday, as part of effort to ease the circulation of old and new banknotes.

This came after the CBN began the release of billions of old naira notes to DMBs after finally obeying the Supreme Court on the controversial legal status of the old naira notes.

According to findings, most DMBs currently pay between N20,000 and N50,000 over-the-counter and Automated Teller Machines (ATM), however, officials disclosed that banks are planning to raise the limits to enhance currency circulation and put a permanent end to queues in banking halls and ATM points.

Upon reciept of the latest information, customers had on Monday plunged banking halls and ATMs to get cash despite the banks working throughout the weekend.

Visits to several bank branches in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun State and other cities revealed that customers in their numbers converged on bank premises to withdraw cash, Punch reports.

At the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, bank customers were able to access cash with less stress.

A visit to Zenith Bank, Keystone Bank, Eco Bank and Access Bank located in Area One and Central Area showed that the queues at banking halls and ATM galleries had reduced.

The Access Bank branch at Garki dispensed a maximum of N20,000 via its Atm while Ecobank in the same area, paid N250,000 via its busy cashier to its customers. Non-account holders were allowed to withdraw N10,000 at its ATM stand.

At Zenith Bank customers were allowed to withdraw as high as N500,000 over the counter, while Keystone Bank claimed not to have cash for disbursement due to low allocation from the apex bank.

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Yohanna, a trader, applauded the availability of the naira notes, saying that the development has positively affected her business as customers now bring cash.

She said, “I am very happy about the availability of cash. My customers are now paying with cash and I don’t have to wait for transfers or POS before I can conduct any transaction.”

At Access Bank and Union Bank branches in the Sabo Yaba area of Lagos State, customers were able to access cash via ATMs while in the Ikeja area of the State, banks were also dispensing cash although old naira notes.

Few customers who could gain access to a Fidelity Bank in the same area were able to leave with a mixture of both old and new banknotes.

At Mazamaza, Lagos, Union Bank allowed customers into its banking hall in batches but the ATMs were not loaded while First Bank of Nigeria and Access Bank did not grant customers access their ATMs.

At Oshodi Express, branches of Access Bank and Fidelity Bank dispensed cash inside their banking halls and via ATMs.

Ecobank branch at Ketu bus stop, Lagos, gave customers access to N30,000 withdrawals over-the-counter .

Similarly, customers thronged banks in the Isolo and Airport Road area of Lagos on Monday with majority disbursing cash, especially through ATMs.

Access Bank branch in the Ire Akari area of Isolo, Lagos, was fully operational despite the crowd of customers who wanted to carry out different banking transactions. Customers were able to withdraw and deposit cash while the ATMs dispensed cash with a limit of N10,000.

Ecobank branch located at the Isolo bus stop, Lagos, a limited number of customers were allowed to go into the banking hall with its ATMs paying only N3,000. However, customers who had more than one debit cards were able to withdraw more.