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Some banks still operate off-site ATMs in Lagos

Some banks in Lagos are still operating their off-site Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) after the expiration of central bank”s deadline that banks close all such machines. The CBN had in June 2009 directed banks to stop operating ATMs outside their premises and gave them up till March 31, 2010 to close such machines.

The apex bank directed that banks should limit the facilities to their premises and allow other agencies to offer the service outside banks” premises. A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) showed that some banks are still operating their off-site machines 24 hours after the expiration of the deadline. A correspondent of NAN reports that the Skye Bank ATM at the National Theatre complex was still functioning on Thursday.

Customers were seen waiting patiently at another ATM at the National Theatre while the machine was being loaded. Sources told NAN that the Skye Bank ATM at the premises of Tastee fast food on the Marina was dispensing cash on Thursday before the machine went out of service around 1.00 p.m. The ATM operated by Spring Bank at the City Mall at Onikan was, however, out of service while another at the same location but without any identification was also not operational.

Some banks have, however, said that they had complied with the CBN directive and had handed their machines to Interswitch, which they said, would provide the ATM services in public places. Mr Moshood Isamotu, Head of Corporate Affairs at Afribank, confirmed that the bank had fully complied with the directive and had handed seven machines to Interswitch. He said that the bank did not have many off-site machines, a reason for the low number of machines released to Interswitch.

“There are no complications because customers can still collect money at the same locations The only difference is that it is now Interswitch that will be solely responsible for the management of these ATMs. The new system will reduce the cost of management formally borne by the banks in charge,’’” he said.
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.

Mr Francis Barde, Head of Corporate Affairs at Union Bank, also confirmed that the bank had stopped operating 250 of such machines but said that the cost of moving these machines would be high. Some bank customers have condemned the CBN directive and called for more public enlightenment on it.

Mr Yinka Owolabi, General Manager of F and F Group, dealers in bank and office equipment in Lagos, said that perpetrators of ATM frauds were bankers who knew much about the operations of the ATMs. He appealed to CBN to look at other ways of dealing with the problem of ATM fauds.

Mrs Adenike Oni, a bank customer, frowned at the directive, saying that many people were ignorant of the new development. “I have been to my bank this morning but had to leave because customers were many and decided to make use of the ATM here, but on getting here I learnt of the directive,” she said.

Mr Ahmed Sanni, another customer, said he was not aware of the directive and appealed to the CBN to consider the adverse effects of the directive.


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