BY Favour Nnabugwu & Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA— Less than 24 hours to the Christmas, most banks in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, yesterday, witnessed massive withdrawal of monies by customers to celebrate the yuletide seasons, as last minute shopping put commercial banks in the FCT under intense pressure to meet cash obligations.
Customers besieged banking halls as early as 8a.m. Even Automated Tell Machines, ATMs, were not spared in the withdrawal, as customers queued to make transactions.
When our correspondents visited some branches of Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa, Guaranty Trust Bank and First Bank, Ecobank and Enterprise Bank in Abuja, customers were in long queues scrambling for space to make withdrawals.
A check on some of the financial institutions by Vanguard showed that many customers were engaged in different transactions, including withdrawals, and money transfers to relations and friends.
A customer of UBA Area 8 branch told Vanguard that he had not witnessed a large crowd in that branch for a long time, but said the bank had anticipated the crowd and was fully prepared for its customers.
A savings account holder of the bank said he was at the bank as early as 8a.m. yet met a lot of customers on queue and all the customers were attended to satisfactorily.
He said: “I have not seen this kind of crowd. I have been here for some time. I must commend UBA for the good job.”
Another bank customer at Area 8 of Ecobank branch, who spoke to Vanguard, said: ‘‘I was lucky to finish my transactions because someone I know in the bank helped me.
“I wonder what the people in the bank will do since the network had broken down. I thank God I am here today because I am not sure transactions will be easier tomorrow (today).”
At Guarantee Trust Bank, Area 3, it was observed that although there was a large crowd, the management ensured that customers were attended to speedily.
A customers said: “But as you can see, Christmas is in the air. I have been to three different banks to make deposits and all the banks are crowded.”
At Zenith Bank in Area 8, Mrs Stella Okoro said that she was more concerned about how to take advantage of the Christmas to make brisk business.
‘‘I want to travel to my village and am sure you know that going to the village in any other time consumes money not to talk of now that it is yuletide season,” she said.
When Vanguard visited Utako main bus terminals, they beehives of activity. While some travelers were rushing to board night buses, others were buying ticket for the next day (today).
Further investigation revealed that the cost of transportation had gone up. While, the big luxury buses charge N6,500, the small buses charge N4,500, whereas the Sienna bus charge as high as N7,200.
Some transporters said the prices are expected to go higher today.