More banks dispense old notes, customers reject deposit conditions

Gradual phasing out of old naira notes continues – CBN

More Deposit Money Banks have begun to dispense old N1,000 and N500 notes to their customers, about three days after a few banks started doing so.

Findings by The  PUNCH on Thursday revealed that Polaris Bank and First Bank had started to pay old N1,000 and N500 notes to their customers.

This came about three days after Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Sterling Bank started dispensing old N1,000 and N500 notes to their customers.

Meanwhile, many customers were shocked on Thursday after some Deposit Money Banks in Abuja that dispensed the old naira notes declared that they would not accept the old bills from their customers.

Many of the banks gave their customers conditions to be fulfilled before they would allow the old notes to be deposited in the DMBs by their clients.

This created confusion among customers, who also complained that the old notes were being rejected by traders, filling stations, transporters and other businesses in the capital city.

Customers who formed massive queues in front of several banks across various locations in Abuja, expressed surprise that the banks were paying the old notes and were at the same time rejecting the bills when one attempted to deposit it.

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“They are asking us to go and generate online codes from the Central Bank of Nigeria before we can deposit the same old notes that they dispensed to us,” an Access Bank customer in Kubwa, Abuja, who simply identified herself as Opeyemi, stated.

This was confirmed by more than five other customers at the bank, a development that made others who wanted to make withdrawals to vacate the bank, despite spending hours on queues.

Massive queues were also seen in front of First Bank, GTB, Polaris Bank, UBA, FCMB, Fidelity Bank, EcoBank, etc, in Kubwa, Gwarimpa and the Central Business District of Abuja on Wednesday.

Customers of some of these banks also confirmed that the DMBs were dispensing old naira notes, but were rejecting the notes, as they gave conditions for its acceptance.

“There is so much confusion right now around this old naira notes issue. Our banks have not given us the go-ahead to collect it and they don’t accept it,” the Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, stated.

Shuaibu also stated that oil marketers were aware of the conditions being given by banks before the old notes would be deposited in the financial institutions.

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He had earlier told our correspondent that oil marketers were waiting for the presidential directive, stressing that the President had not spoken concerning the use of the old naira notes.

“However, if the banks say we should collect the old notes, of course, we will accept the notes. But as it is now, we have not got any official confirmation. We are only hearing it from people.

“Once the banks tell our members to accept it, then I can assure you that we will comply with ease. We are hearing that the banks have started giving out the old notes, but as for me, I’ve not set my eyes on the old N500 and N1,000 notes. We are only hearing it,” Shuaibu stated.

Meanwhile, when our correspondent visited United Bank for Africa, Polaris Bank and Wema Bank branches in the Lugbe area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Wednesday  it was observed that the banks were yet to commence paying customers with the old N500 and N1,000 notes.

At the UBA bank it was observed that customers were not being paid with the new notes or the old notes because there was no cash available.

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Similarly, at the Wema Bank and Polaris Bank branches, customers were not paid because the banks had run out of cash.

Meanwhile, Ifeanyi Udenna, a customer who collected the old N1,000 notes from First Bank, said he accepted the old notes because it was issued to him by a commercial bank, according to a News agency of Nigeria report.

”I believe that because the money is coming from a commercial bank, the information will be authentic.

”Although we have not heard any information from the Central Bank of Nigeria about the old notes, the banks cannot be acting on their own,” he said.

Another customer, Eugenia Atah, said that although she collected the old notes from her bank, traders were rejecting the notes.

”I collected N20,000 of the old N1,000 notes from my bank but when I went to the market, they refused to collect it.

”I also went to a restaurant to have lunch but the woman in charge rejected it.

”This is frustrating because I thought that the issuance of the old notes will reduce our suffering,” she said.

A bank officer at Stanbic in Ikeja, Lagos, told our correspondents that there were no old naira notes available for disbursement.


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