Some Nigerian banks are not going to open their doors for Saturday banking to accept deposits due to the euphoria of Christmas, BusinessDay findings showed.
However, some other banks are going to open but not all their branches. For instance Zenith Bank said it will operate on Saturday to accept deposits, Access Bank will open in some designated branches, while Keystone Bank says it will not operate on Saturday.
“We are not going to open on Saturday, but our branch at Commercial Road, Apapa, will open,” said one of the staff of Access Bank.
Some Nigerian banks commenced Saturday banking towards the end of October 2022, as part of compliance measures to the CBN’s new rules on cash deposit.
After it announced plans to redesign the higher denomination of naira notes, the CBN directed all banks to keep open their currency processing centres from Monday to Saturday so as to accommodate all cash that will be returned by their customers.
On the amount of deposit so far returned into the banking system since the directive was issued, Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor said: “The central bank has taken close to half a trillion. And with the banks we also have close to about half a trillion. So what we have done in the central bank was to move more people from different departments into currency processing so that they can process this cash as quickly as possible.”
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Emefiele said over time the circulation of N500 and N1000 notes will reduce, adding that its availability in large volumes is partly responsible for the inflationary pressure.
BusinessDay findings revealed that commercial banks are rationing the new naira notes they have received from the CBN as many customers are keen to hold the redesigned notes.
Aisha Ahmad, deputy governor in charge of financial system stability, said the CBN ordered the printing of 500 million pieces of new naira notes in the first contract, which rolled out last week, December 15, 2022.
She noted that there are 31 Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) with 4,603 branches as at October 2022. In the Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) sector, there are 878 Microfinance Banks (MFBs) with1,966 branches; Agents- 1.4million; PoS Terminal- 899,642; and Number of ATMs is over 14,000.
Commercial banks across the country are rationing the new notes to few customers that make over the counter withdrawals, while the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) which is used by most customers are still dispensing old notes.
Ocy Okpanku, executive director – investment, Enlaurels International Limited, said that he has not seen nor received the new naira notes. Okpanu said that corruption will make it difficult for the new notes to circulate well within the stipulated time by the CBN.
He said: “For me as an ordinary citizen, I don’t see anything wrong with the redesigning of the naira. The only problem I have is the attitude of Nigerians; we are extremely corrupt and we would make it difficult to work”, he said.
“A lot of cash was pulled away in secret places and they’re now been dug out from the ground and as they do all those things our naira continues to depreciate”, he observed.