Standard Chartered Bank cancels ATM charges – Source

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In what will be good news for customers and a shift in the local banking landscape, Standard Chartered Bank has decided to cancel charges on its Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), a source who chose not to be identified told BusinessDay on Monday.
However efforts to confirm this were unsuccessful as Joke Adu, corporate affairs manager of the bank, did not reply the text message sent to her. Phone calls to her line were barred by network problem.
Reacting to the development, Taiwo Oyedele, head, Tax and Regulatory Services, PWC, said, “it is a good development which customers will be delighted about.’’
Oyedele said it is an indication that banking in Nigeria is becoming better aligned with global practices. This will also ensure that the use of ATM is treated in the same way as cash withdrawal across the counter, which is currently at no charge, according to him.
 “This is also good for financial inclusion and protecting the most vulnerable in society given that the current ATM charges affect the poor more,’ Oyedele told BusinessDay.
Standard Chartered Bank Group is investing $1.5 billion to revamp its technology globally over three years. The Bank is targeting to migrate over 80 percent of transactions to non-branch channels by 2020.
Nigerian banks charge and N50 monthly for cards maintenance and N1000 for replacement of a lost card. Charges on ATM withdrawals at other banks, or remount-on-us is N65 after the third withdrawal. The Central Bank of Nigeria in September 2014, reintroduced N65 charge on transactions at other banks’ ATM.
In his emailed response to BusinessDay, Ayodele Akinwunmi, head of research, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, said, cancelation of ATM charge “means lower account maintenance cost for the customers of the banks. So the customers benefit”.
Standard Chartered Bank is not a dominant player in the ATM business in Nigeria.   It has less than 40 ATM locations in the country compared with some banks that have over 500 ATM locations.
The Nigerian Senate last month called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the excessive ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers.
The CBN last year reviewed its “Guide to Charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions” which replaced the one issued in 2013.
The guide to bank charges provides a basis for the application of charges on various products and services offered by banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) in Nigeria to their customers.
Kelvin Amugo, director, financial policy and regulation department, CBN, said this may be reviewed from time to time to reflect changes in the business environment.
HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE

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