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Lagosians groan over urban renewal- Investigation

….As depositors lament challenges at Yuletide

At a time when business and financial related activities require proactive measures to curb incessant agony often caused by long queues in commercial banks’ branches and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) galleries across the country, but the recent demolition of structures in Agege Pen Cinema of Lagos for the construction of a flyover, has worsened bank customers situation in the axis, findings by the Daily Times has revealed.

The Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, recently, pulled down several buildings, which include commercial banks, Plazas, residential among many other structures.

But due to the strategic positions of both Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and Union Bank Plc that were affected by this development, huge bank customers in the axis have started lamenting over the impending suffering during and after this year festival season.

In our fact findings, our correspondents who visited other banks in the area over the weekend, observed that seamless banking service through other payment system such ATMs that were supposed to be benefitted by the depositors of the affected banks, are no longer the case as scores of banks customers were stranded in some of the new generation banks that received the hit of the demolished banks in the area.

At Zenith Bank in Agege, bank customers who spoke with Daily Times lamented over the long queue witnessed as the bank only has two ATM machines, compared to seven housed at GTBank that was affected by the demolition.

Banks customers in a separate interviews at the weekend, related their ordeal to our correspondent, how they experienced long queues at different banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) couple with incessant failure of these machines to dispense cash, which they linked to being stranded over the weekend.

Our further check, however, showed that nearest GTBank branches to Agege are the Ogba and Alausa branches, which means that for every customers of the bank in Agege axis who wish to use the bank or the ATM, will have to get to any of the aforementioned branches for their bank transactions.

For Union Bank customers in the area may have to turned their hopes to the bank branch at Sofunde in Agege and the Akowonjo branch.

Although, some customers, who succeeded in getting money, said that they found it difficult to withdraw from their banks ATMs, due to the long distance from their residence but were rescued from other banks including Access Bank, Fidelity and Zenith Bank.

“I was able to withdraw from Access Bank ATM gallery in Agege, even though not all the ATMs dispensed but we were able to withdraw for the weekend upkeeps”, one of the depositors said.

Most Nigeria’s bank customers whose hearts soared on the announcement of the removal of the erstwhile N100.00 charge, while using ATMs of other banks, still prefer to prevent the three three chances in every month to withdraw from another ATM, in order to avoid the N65 charges for any more withdrawals on other banks’ ATMS.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says 213.69 million transactions valued at N19.33 trillion were recorded in the third quarter as data on Electronic Payment Channels in the banking sector.

The NBS said this in a report on “Selected Banking Sector Data: Sectoral Breakdown of Credit, e-Payment Channels, Deposits and Domestic Credit Breakdown and Staff Strength’’ posted on the bureau’s website.

The bureau stated that the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) Instant Payment (NIP) transactions dominated the volume of transactions recorded in the quarter.

It stated that 97.53 volumes of NIP transactions valued at N13.96bn were recorded in the quarter under review.

In terms of credit to private sector, the report stated that a total of N15.83trn worth of credit was allocated by the banks in the quarter.

It stated that Oil and Gas and Manufacturing sectors got credit allocation of N3.54trn and N2.27trn to record the highest credit allocation in the period under review.

The report also stated that the number of banks’ employees increased from 75, 607 in the second quarter to 82,531 in the third quarter.

Motolani Oseni, Lagos

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