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Off-site ATMs still operating, two weeks after CBN deadline

TWO weeks after expiration of deadline given  by the apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) for  commercial banks  to stop off-site  Automated Teller Machines, (ATMs), some banks across the nation, especially in  Lagos state are yet to fully comply with the directive, CyberLIFE investigations show.

Sanusi

The apex bank had  directed that commercial  banks should limit the facilities to their bank  premises to  allow other agencies offer the service outside banks’ premises

With this, the CBN had, in a circular to all banks issued April 8, 2009, set the deadline for June 30, 2009 for banks to hands-off  off-site ATMs and invited bids

from interested firms to take over control of these machines. Later, the CBN moved the deadline to March 31, 2010.

The CBN subsequently through another circular issued on August 27, 2009 stated that the extension of the deadline became necessary in order to ensure a success of the exercise and proper commencement of operations of the emerging appointed consortia.

A  visit to several ATMs in  Ikeja and Victoria Island Monday morning showed that many banks were still operating their off-site ATMs.

At about 9:30am last Monday in Lagos State for instance,  an ATM beside Ikeja Local Government office along Awolowo Road was still operational.  By that time, a customer was seen using the machine.

Similarly, at about 10:3am last Monday at the City Mall, Onikan, the ATM there was still operational as customers were seen queening up to use the facility. At Silver Bird Cinema, Victoria Island, Lagos, CyberLIFE also saw that ATMs were still in use as customers were seen waiting patiently on a queue.

Meanwhile, bank chiefs have, however claimed that they had complied with the CBN directive and had handed their machines to Interswitch, which is expected to  provide the ATM services in public places subsequently.

Although some bank customers have condemned the CBN directive and called for more public enlightenment on it, sources at the Corporate Affairs Department of United Bank for Africa (UBA) said that the bank had handed over 700 machines nation-wide to Interswitch.

Currently, a total of 1,446 ATMs, it was learnt, have been handed over by these banks to ATM Consortium. A breakdown of the figure indicated that while UBA had handed over 700, making it the bank with the highest number of offsite ATMs, FBN, Ecobank and Wema bank followed, handing over 410, 19 and 10 ATMs respectively.

With the  handover, the five banks have now complied with the regulatory directives on deployment of offsite ATMs. Meanwhile, the  Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ATMC, Mr. Olumide Bajomo, had been quoted in a report as saying that  five banks have all blazed the trail in demonstrating compliance with the apex bank‘s decision.
He expressed satisfaction  at the handover by the banks who happen to be ATMC‘s major shareholders and views the gesture as a demonstration of their commitment and endorsement of ATMC‘s repositioning plan

It would be recalled that the  adaptation to the use of ATM card as an alternative and fast means of withdrawing instant cash has grown to appreciable level among Nigerians where even market women and artisans are now using the service.  But despite the fact that the technology has reduced the number of customers in  the banking halls, network failure has remained a challenge to many users since inception..

With the technology being the toast of many customers, it has been  observed that at a time customers are getting excited over the service, banks appear not to be investing in robust IT infrastructure to support the service which is popular across the globe.

An automated teller machine (ATM) or automatic banking machine (ABM) is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the clients of a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public space without the need for a cashier, human clerk or bank teller. On most modern ATMs, the customer is identified by inserting a plastic ATM card with a magnetic stripe or a plastic smart card with a chip, that contains a unique card number and some security information such as an expiration date or CVVC (CVV). Authentication is provided by the customer entering a personal identification number  (PIN).

Using an ATM, customers can access their bank accounts in order to make cash withdrawals (or credit card cash advances) and check their account balances as well as purchase cellphone prepaid credit. If the currency being withdrawn from the ATM is different from that which the bank account is denominated in (e.g.: Withdrawing Japanese Yen from a bank account containing US Dollars), the money will be converted at a wholesale exchange rate. Thus, ATMs often provide the best possible exchange rate for foreign travelers [1] and are heavily used for this purpose as well.

ATMs are known by various other names including Automated Transaction Machine,[2] automated banking machine, cashpoint (in Britain), money machine, bank machine, cash machine, hole-in-the-wall, Bancomat (in various countries in Europe and Russia), Multibanco (after a registered trade mark, in Portugal), and Any Time Money (in India).


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