• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

New ATM policy: Sterling Bank deploys additional ATMs to protect customers’ interest

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To cushion the effect of the perceived reintroduction of the ATM charge of N65 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Remote-on-Us ATM transactions on its customers, Sterling Bank has announced the deployment of additional ATM points nationwide, thereby increasing its footprint at existing and new locations.

The bank said that additional ATMs will be added to existing branches while ATM galleries will be put in place in strategic locations nationwide. A robust infrastructure to support the expansion has also been put in place, the bank said.

Remote-on-Us transaction occurs when a card holder goes to the ATM of a bank other than his or her own bank to make a withdrawal. The card holder will be charged N65 after making three withdrawals from such ATMs after a given month. The bank where his or her account is domiciled will be responsible for the payment of the charge of N65 for the first three withdrawals from another bank’s ATM.

While speaking against the backdrop of insinuations that the charge was initially removed by the apex bank in December 2012, Sterling Bank’s group head, strategy and communications, Shina Atilola explained that “the charge payment was never suspended by the CBN. Rather, the responsibility for absorbing the charge was transferred to the commercial banks to pay on behalf of their customers” to encourage the use of ATMs by Nigerians.

His words: “It is true that some members of the public have indicated that the policy may discourage the use of ATMs. However, this is largely due to the insufficient awareness of the facts.’’

He explained further: “Firstly, the three free withdrawals from other bank’s ATMs is monthly – meaning that you withdraw cash from other banks’ ATMs three times every month without being charged. Secondly, all withdrawals from your bank’s ATMs would continue to be free. Finally, the reduction in the financial burden borne by banks would encourage banks to increase ATM deployment which further makes their banks closer to them.”

Atilola disclosed that Sterling Bank has commenced aggressive roll out of ATMs nationwide. His words: “We have almost doubled our ATM count between December last year and September 2014. We started the year with 300 ATMs but aim to close the year with about 1000. This would involve additional deployments at existing locations, partner locations and ATM galleries.”

He also stressed that the public needed to know that beyond cash withdrawals, customers could do transfers (inter and intra bank), pay bills such as electricity and DStv and buy air time  at the bank’s ATMs.

His words:  “As a financial institution poised to enrich lives, Sterling Bank will continue to maintain high quality ATM services by supporting the inter-operability of the  payment system in the country. We will continue to deploy more ATMs to promote the cashless policy of the CBN and ensure that our customers are not at disadvantage in any way.”

The bank, aside from increasing its footprint across the country through the deployment of ATM, is also on a trajectory of growth evidenced by its impressive half year results.

For the six months through June 2014, the Nigeria lender’s revenue surged by 48.69 billion from N41.85 billion the same period of the corresponding year (HY) 2013.

Additionally, net interest income spiked by 20.45 percent to N37.43 billion in (HY) 2014 as against N31.08 billon as at (HY) 2013, despite tough regulatory environment buoyed by the CBN tightening policy.

Sterling bank’s total assets also increase by 3.29 percent to N731.09 billion in HY 2014, compared with N707.75 billion as of HY 2013.

The bank’s share price closed at N2.32 on the floor of the NSE, while market capitalisation of N50.09 billion.

BALA AUGIE