ByÂ Babajide Komolafe
THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday extended the deadline for banks to redeploy their off-site ATMs by two months to August 31.
The initial deadline of June 30 elapsed yesterday.
The extension was announced via a circular, entitled, â€œDeployment of DMBsâ€™ Offsite ATMs and Establishment of ATM Consortium,â€ issued to banks.
A senior bankerÂ and Head of the electronic banking division of one of the big banks confirmed this to Vanguard.
He said the initial notice from April to June 30Â was too short and believed it was deliberate so that the banks would know that the apex bank was serious about it.
Vanguard investigation revealed that the deadline was extended to allow for the licensing and re-licensing ofÂ independent ATM deployer (IAD) and to allow banks more time to comply with the directive. At present, there is one IAD in the country -ATM Consortium, owned by eight banks.
However, the apex bank wanted to licence more IAD so that banks can choose which one they desire to do business with and thereby occasion competition and quality service delivery among IADs.
In the circular CBN said, ”It would be recalled that one of the policies guiding the operations of ATM consortium (ATMC) is that ATMC shall have the sole mandate to deploy ATMs at public places while the banks shall deploy ATMs only within their premises.”
â€œCBN has observed with concern that the banks are competing with ATMC in the deployment of ATMs in public places.”
“A worrisome trend is the number of ATMs at the airports and hotel lobbies, which, if unchecked, would soon congest these public places.
“Against this backdrop, the CBN hereby directs that banks should forthwith restrict the deployment of the ATMs to their premises. Banks are further advised to re-deploy all existing ATMs in public places to their premises on or before June 30, 2009, it added.
â€œFurthermore, in line with the Bankâ€™s policy on shared payments infrastructure by the banking industry and the need to effectively respond to the rising demand for ATM services by the public, the CBN has decided to commence soon, the process of licensing an additional ATM consortium. This will bring the total number of ATM consortia in the economy to (2) two. The two (2) consortia shall be solely responsible for the deployment of ATMs in public places in line with this policy and best practices.â€