New Naira Notes: CBN Makes Fresh Order to Banks
By Alabidun Shuaib AbdulRahman
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has instructed banks not to allow customers to make over-the-counter withdrawals of new naira notes.
Instead, the banks have been directed to use Automated Teller Machines to distribute the new notes across the country before the deadline of January 31, 2023, when the old notes will no longer be accepted as legal tender.
It is believed that the banks were given this directive on Wednesday and were required to implement it immediately.
However, as of Friday, the banks had been unable to comply due to a shortage of the new notes, leading them to use the old notes in their ATMs.
According to a source at a Tier-1 bank, the bank issued a memo on Thursday to all branch managers instructing them to follow the directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The memo, which was titled., ‘Urgent update on currency redesign’ and signed by the Group Head, Retail Operation, stated, “The CBN has mandated that we immediately stop the Over-the-Counter payment of the new N200, N500 & N,1000 currency. Instead, all new notes should be loaded into the ATMs for customer withdrawals.
“This is effective immediately please.”
The source, who is a manager in one of the bank’s branches in Ikeja, Lagos, however, complained that the new notes were in short supply, hence the branch decided to load a mixture of the old and new N1,000 and N500 notes in the ATMs for customers to withdraw.
The source stated, “We got a memo from the head office this morning (Thursday) that we should stop dispensing new notes to customers who come to withdraw over the counter, but instead we should load the ATMs with the new notes. The correspondence from the head office said the directive was from the CBN and that we should implement it immediately.
“The directive has, however, thrown us into a dilemma as we are in short supply of the new notes and we can’t afford not to load the ATMs as there has been a surge in the number of customers coming to withdraw after the Yuletide holidays.
“Loading of ATMs is the responsibility of the banks. When our bank tested the ATMs, only one denomination of the new notes passed the test of dispensing seamlessly through our machines. The bank is working on reconfiguring the ATMs to be able to dispense the new notes. What we have done in my branch is to mix the few new N1,000 and N500 notes available with old ones so that desperate customers can make withdrawals and meet their immediate needs.
“If you observed, a lot of ATMs were inactive during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The idea was not to give out old notes, but unfortunately, the new ones are not in circulation. The banks have a mandate to evacuate N1bn old notes each to the CBN on a daily basis and our head office has set a strict vault limit or cash holding limit for each branch, which on no condition we must exceed.”