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Exclusive Interview: Microfinance Bank As Catalyst for MSME Development in Nigeria

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Yusuf Gyallesu

NAMB National President, Yusuf Gyallesu Speaks with Business Echo Publisher, Olushola Okunlade

The growth of microfinance banks in Nigeria is phenomenal with over 800 licensed institutions mostly operating in urban and rural areas. Though some microfinance banks have come and gone, there are still some vibrant ones providing services to their clients. Where is the strength of this industry in Nigeria?

Olushola Okunlade in an exclusive interview with Yusuf Gyallesu, the President, National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), highlighted the challenges, opportunities and government’s role in this industry.

How would you rate the Microfinance industry performance, in terms of its financial interventions in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector of the economy?

Well, thank you very much for this question. Microfinance Banking has fared well in the last few years despite the challenges that stared its face.

You know prior to this time most banks were not digitalized, but with the advent of technology, which brought in BVN and other technologies, most banks have measured up.  They are effectively rendering services to customers even at the grassroots. Therefore, I think there is great development, and great achievement for us. Lets not forget that technology evolves every times, so, we keep to the times.

What are the challenges?

The major challenge in this Microfinance Banking sub-sector, naturally, is funding. Liquidity is not always there, and you know we service the MSMEs, which is the engine room of any economy in the world. Therefore, we feel we don’t have the required funds and liquidity to service them effectively, which could help these MSMEs to contribute effectively to the economy.

Meanwhile, sourcing deposits and raising funds into Microfinance industry is very expensive, this is why our interest rate is usually high when we give out loans.

Similarly, we are different from the Commercial banks where everyone who has surplus money goes there to deposit.

There is this misconception about our industry; many people think that Microfinance Banks are just there to give out loans. This is a layman’s belief. We don’t just give out loans like that. You must attract the savings anddeposits first, so from there you can now start to give out loans.

Actually, we found out that some of our customers take loan from us and deposit it with Commercial banks i.e the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs). These people put it (the fund)either in savings or fixed deposits with the Commercial banks, but when they are looking for loan they don’t go there, they come to microfinance banks. The question is where are we going to get the funds to give them?

But the ideal thing is that they should bring their deposits to us too, so that we can give othersloans from that deposit.  

What is CBN doing concerning this?

CBN cannot do anything about this because it is a free market. This issue is affecting the entire microfinance banks in the country. What we want is that people with excess funds without immediate need for use should bring it to us for saving in whatever form; either as fixed deposits or ordinary savings. Then people having businesses requiring funding can come to us to take loans from the money deposited by these people. That is what banking is all about.

Furthermore, CBN expects that if we float our private businesses as banks we should be able to source for deposits from the public and at the same time find channels to give out loans to people.

So, CBN cannot intervene in this. However, there was a time when N220billion was set aside to fund MSMEs in the country. This fund was meant to be accessed by Commercial banks, Microfinance banks and even state governments.State governments could access up to N2billion from this MSME Fund.

However, for us to access this money and lend to our customers, the terms and conditions set by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were so stringent that we were unable to access it.

As I am talking to you now, less than 5% of the N220billion has been accessed by the Microfinance sub-sector because of the strict conditions that were set. We have been talking and advocating for CBN to relax these conditions so that we can access the money and lend to our customersthat the money is meant for.

There have been consistent clamor by the NAMB for a level playing ground for operators, Could you shed light on what you really mean by this?

You see, sometimes in 2018 or thereabout, CBN came out with an idea of establishing a National Microfinance Bank, while already we had nine (9) licensed National Microfinance Banks.

So, we said if government is floating a bank, then frankly speaking, there won’t be that fair level –playing ground.

By our understanding, government has no business in doing business. The government’s responsibility is to provide an enabling environment for all stakeholders and players to do their businesses.

However, when we learnt of their intentions we wrote a letter to CBN to express our fears. But we later gathered that they have succeeded in floating the Microfinance bank.

But how can a regulator become an operator? Who will regulate that regulator? We complained, hoping that they will reason with us in what we were talking about. Rather, we were told that it was the Bankers’ Committee that floated the bank.

But who are members of the Bankers’ Committee?

These are the Managing Directors of the Deposit Money banks with the CBN Governor as the chairman.The Microfinance banks are not represented on that Committee at all.No wonder, most of the key staff of the new bank were seconded from CBN.

How do you reconcile that?

The newly floatednationalMicrofinance bankis partnering with NIPOST and is expectedto have branches in all the 774 Local Government Areasof the country.

We saw the whole idea as an emergence of a government bank to compete with privately owned banks. Like I said before, government has no business in doing business.If it were a private body floating that national bank we wouldn’t have any fears at all.

Now they call it NIRSAL Microfinance Bank which is also a member of our association. With this, we now have 10 licensed National Microfinance banks.

Our fear was proven, when the government brought out palliative of N50b. The whole amount was given to that one bank leaving out the other 873 licensed Microfinance Banks. That confirmed our earlier fears because this is government’s money, it is a post Covid-19 intervention meant to support every person and business in the country that was affected by the pandemic.

They know that they own a bank, so the whole amount was given to their ownmicrofinance bank.

Don’t forget that this bank was established barely three years ago.  Furthermore, the experience, professional training and certification most of us have their staff don’t have. The Managing Director and other top Management team were from CBN. So westill see it as a government owned bank.

Do they have the reach and branch network to disburse N50billion across the country?

They don’t have. They are new and lack the required microfinance banking experience to effectively disburse and efficiently manage such funds.

We feel that they are overwhelmed by this huge amount to manage. There is no way they can effectively and efficiently handle this intervention money. So, what weafearis that there could be a serious problem in the implementation of the government support to the people.

Also, in reference is the Anchor-borrowers’ fund where the same government brought out money to assist the rice farmers.  The Microfinance banks that are there dealing with farmers at the rural communities were not involved in the scheme at all. They channeled the funds through the Deposit Money Banks and that is the story now. There is a very high percentage of default in this scheme.

Obviously, the idea is that any time the government has anyintervention money for the poor people; they prefer to give it out directly throughother channels without involving the microfinance banks who are closest to these people at the local community levels. For instance, if this N50billion intervention had been given to some of the sound Microfinance banks scattered across the country, the effect would have been excellent. Also, the money would have been relatively safe as the microfinance banks would take it as loans for on-lending under some terms and conditions.

So the government would not be worried because they are dealing directly with licensed banks that would ensure full recovery of the funds.The microfinance banks will disburse and ensure they follow due diligence and apply strict credit risk management on whoever they are disbursing the money to. But the way they are disbursing through NIRSAL Microfinance bank who the people see as a government bank, will not yield the desired result. Most beneficiaries will see it as a grant and or national cake that do not need to be repaid. We fear that they cannot effectively monitor the beneficiaries to ensure that they are putting the money to use and to ensure recovery.I am not a prophet of doom, but I can assure you that at the end of the day the level of default would be high.

So,what we are advocating to Central Bank of Nigeria is that, since this N50b has not been completely exhausted, other sound microfinance banks should be involved with the disbursement of this palliative.

We are partners in progress and also stakeholders in the financial system and would want the government to succeed in its policies that affect the poor population at the grassroots levels,

What are the initiatives you intend to set up to pilot NAMB forward during your tenure?

Am sure you are aware that I was part of the last regime in the capacity of the First National Vice President.I worked hand in hand with the then President todevelop sound programs for the association.

Therefore, for continuity, wehave to implement uncompleted programs of the last regime and then introduce new onesfor development and progress of the association and its members. I hope that whoever is succeeding me after my tenure next year will equally continue with my uncompleted programs like that..

Ours is a professional association and we ensure that at any given time the leadership will always have programs that will protect the interest of the members and uplift the statusof the body and sector as a whole.

But to answer you, one major campaign promise we made was a commitment toensure that we have sound, functional and compliant Microfinance banks in the country.

We are also conducting membership verification across the country to establish and determine the actual numbers of our members that are functionally active and those that are not. This will assist us in planning for effective membership services and budgeting. We discovered that payment of annual dues and other financial obligations by members are not adequate compared to the number of 874 licensed banks.Also, attendance to any official function of the association is always very poor. You will find that the attendance to functions and payment of annual dues usually hovers around 400 out of the 874 registered banks. So, what is happening to the other 400 members?

We know for sure that most of these remaining 400 members are just members on paper as they only have the license from Central Bank Nigeria to render services to the public but are not doing due to one reason or the other. Some may be facing someserious challenges affecting their operations while some  have willingly closed shop and refused to surrender their licenses back to Central Bank of Nigeria. These banks are still being regarded as active members. So we are trying to reach out to all our members to ensure that we have the correct figures so that CBN will know that out of the 874 only 500 or soare actively doing the business.But each time we interact with CBNit keeps making reference to 874 as our membership strength. This figure actually distorts our compliance levels with the regulators.

We are therefore, conducting an online membership census which will later be validated by on sight physical visits.

There are 4 functional administrative levels in the NAMB structure, comprising of the Board of Trustees, the National Working Committee, the Zonal and State Chapters. These levels are necessary to ensure effective and efficient administration and delivery of services to the members.

We ensure that every state and zonal chapter holds regular meetings,as dictated by the constitution, where they discuss issues affecting the association and the sector in general. The chapters periodically update the national secretariat with their actual membership strengths.

It is from these chapters that the payments of dues are being coordinated.

How is NAMB’s collaboration with the Nigerian Exchange Limited (“NGX” or “The Exchange”). How will this impact on MFBs?

Actually, in 2019 I was part of a team that went to the Stock Exchange for a collaborative engagement. We had a very fruitful discussion where we saw the need for the association to collaborate with them. We saw this as an avenue where our members could raise the required funds to meet up with the new minimum capital requirement.

Most of our members will not be able to raise funds from the private sources, So we saw the need to approach the Stock Exchange.

We also went round the geopolitical zones of the country on sensitization and creating awareness to all the stakeholders on the various investments and funding options available for us. This is a continuous exercise until funding and liquidity is stable in our sector.

NAMB plans to float a Microfinance Development Company to serve as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for funding the microfinance sub-sector. Have you been able to achieve this?

Yes, this company is a child of necessity. Like I told you from the beginning of this interview the major challenge we have in this sub-sector is funding. We saw that we are not actually being able to generate enough deposits to enable us offer our normal banking services, and getting funds straight from the government with all these stringent conditions is not forthcoming.

Also, individual microfinance banks will not be able to meet the requirements set by these government agencies. Therefore, we resolved that as an association we should float a company that will be responsible for accessing funds either locally or internationally, for on-lending to our members. That company has been floated and it commenced operations since October last year and is wholly owned by Microfinance banks.

We have clear and simple modalities and requirements on how to invest and access funds on that platform.  A lot of our members have seen the wisdom in floating this company because, if nobody wants to give us funds, why can’t we raise it ourselves?That was why we as an association formed that company.

As NAMB President, what were your experiences during COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 Pandemichas come and is still very much around. It is being experienced by everyone as it has affected all spheres of life, not only here, but all over the world.

All our members have been affected negatively as movements were restricted forcing businesses to completely shut down. We could not render services to our customers and at the same time could not recover our loans that fell due for repayment. –

But for us as the umbrella body of all the Microfinance banks what we are doing is advocating with Central Bank of Nigeria to allow our banks to reschedule and extend the loans tenors for most of our customers who were unable to repay as and when due.Because during this Covid-19 period most our customers couldn’t do anything, they were struggling to survive and stay alive not to talk of doing business torepay their loans.. So we are appealing to our members to be soft on their customersby  givingthem some moratorium and extend the re-payment periods. Let them give the customers time to come back to their businesses.

So this is what the association is advocating to our members.

How would you rate the performance of your Microfinance Bank in terms of deposit base, core banking services and expansion trajectory?

Well, with regardsto the microfinance bank where I am the Board chairman, even though we have just taken over the bank, we are still trying to re-engineer the bank so that, being the President’s bank, whatever requirement is expected of a Microfinance bank we should be able to have. We are hoping  tomeet  the new minimum capital requirement before the dateline.

The bank is already on the NAMBUIT platform that CBN is mandating all microfinance banks to key into, even though the association is advocating that it should not be by compulsion. Banks should be allowed tomake a business decision in selecting their preferred IT platforms.

We are doing everything possible as an association to see that this IT platform works, so that our members who do not have robust banking software can key in and do their banking business.

Therefore, we are trying as a bank to measure up and ensure that with the available resources we are able to meet up with all the requirements expected of any microfinance bank.

What roles do you think this bank will play in leveraging your members’ operations and by implication, stabilizing the MBF sub-sector?

JOSAD MFB is just one of the 874 licensed microfinance banks operating in the country. We are located in Karu, Nassarawa state. I believe there are lots of commercial activities there.it is a virgin  market and we will do our best to take advantage of the potentials that abound and may be in about 2 or 3 years’ time it will be a success story.

What is your reaction on CBN’s new 60% Loan Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy for banks?

Yusuf Gyallesu, the President, National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB)

To me, what they mean is whatever amount of deposits you have, at least 60% of it must go out for loan disbursements. If you understand what that means, for me it is okay.

However, getting the deposits is the problem. Like I told you earlier, in banking whatever deposits you are able to mobilize, youmust channel such fundst to loans. It is your working capital which you have sourced at a cost. If you mobilize deposits at a cost and you don’t use it to give out loans,then you are failing as a bank. You must give out loans in order to generate enough income to recover your costs and make some profits.

So the 60% ratio they are putting is reasonable and okay.

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is responsible for formulating policies and guidelines to regulate and control the banking system. It is their duty to continuously be changing the policies so that they suit the economic agenda of the government at any particular time.

How is NAMB members handling clients and what are the guidelines NAMB has put in place to ease clients’ loan facility during pandemic?

It is Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that comes up with policies to guide the banking activities in the country; while our duty as an association is to ensure that our members adhere and comply with the policies and regulations.

Where do you see NAMB in five years?

In five years’ time, I see NAMB as a self-regulating association with little or no interference from CBN except on policy matters. I see a very close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders to ensure vibrant and sustainable banks in the sector

In fact, self-regulation is one of the 5 cardinal pillars of our association. To actualize this, we embarked on a study tour to Ghana where their rural banking is being self-regulated. We have also been on study tour to Germany and Luxembourg to understudy the international best practices in microfinance banking. Microfinance banking is being practiced in Germany in the form of Cooperatives and Savings Societies for over 200 years.

To achieve this self-regulation, we have to embark on serious sensitization and capacity development of our sector to regain the lost confidence of the general public and our regulators.  We must clean and put our house in order to restore our good reputation. 

If we are able to achieve this, we can then honestly do our business with very minimal regulation from the authorities. It is only then that you will see real development in microfinance banking sector.

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Carbon Doubles Revenue, Continues To Disrupt Credit Banking In Nigeria With ‘Carbon Zero’

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Carbon Doubles Revenue, Continues To Disrupt Credit Banking In Nigeria With ‘Carbon Zero’

…Debit card ‘Pink passport’ upgraded to include more services

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Carbon, a credit-led pan-African digital bank has doubled its client base and revenue since 2018 primarily due to its disruptive ‘Carbon Zero’ product. The company’s published 2022 financial report shows a remarkable revenue climb from ₦3.7Bn in December 2018 to ₦7.7bn in December 2021. The product also contributed heavily to the tremendous growth of the company’s customer base to over 3 million active users.

Since its inception as ‘One credit’ in 2012, through its evolution as ‘One-fi’, ‘Paylater’, and finally ‘Carbon’ in 2018, the bank has firmly placed its customers’ needs at the center of its innovative products and services.

“I got my loan approved in less than 5 minutes. I was able to make bank transfers and online payments swiftly. Thanks for this app.” said an excited customer Odunjo Olakunle

The product has been designed to perform better than a loan; with Carbon Zero, customers can make purchases online and offline and spread the cost of any bill and pay in 4 installments at 0% interest. In addition, by signing up on the web or using the Carbon app, customers receive a N30,000 spending limit.

Carbon takes pride in the fact that it has made finance more accessible to Nigerians, offering not only affordable loans but also a deposit account, a high-yield savings account, free bill payments, free transfers, and debit cards. 

Attesting to the uniqueness of Carbon, Olowolafe Sunday Oladelestated “They got me covered during the ‘rainy days’. Moreso, if you’re tired of all these traditional banks and their hectic stuffs, just get carbon. From loans to paying bills, and most importantly, the savings and investment programs there is just too much” 

Carbon Doubles Revenue, Continues To Disrupt Credit Banking In Nigeria With ‘Carbon Zero’

The bank also expanded the services provided by its debit card, enabling it to do more than just make payments. Dubbed the ‘Pink Passport,’ the Carbon debit card now allows users to buy and split payments in 4 at 0% interest in both online and offline transactions.

In January 2022, the company announced a new Carbon Zero partnership with global retail chain outlet SPAR. The partnership is poised to help even more Nigerians buy anything at any Spar store and pay for items in a wide range of categories in installments at 0% interest.

Know More About Carbon: Carbon is a credit-led digital bank offering modern banking services to ambitious, youthful, unrelenting Africans looking for value and control over their finances.

Carbon Zero is a buy now pay later product that allows individuals to purchase anything from pretty much anywhere, splitting the payment into 4 interest-free installments.

The product has been designed to perform better than a loan; with Carbon Zero, customers can make purchases online and offline and spread the cost of any bill and pay in 4 installments at 0% interest. In addition, by signing up on the web or using the Carbon app, customers receive a N30,000 spending limit.

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Banks Not Hoarding New Naira Notes, Normalcy Returning Soon – ACAMB

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Banks Not Hoarding New Naira Notes, Normalcy Returning Soon - ACAMB

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) has reacted to speculations on banks hoarding new naira notes against Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directives.

ACAMB empathizes with the Nigerian public on the unintended hardships being faced in the process of the ongoing rollout of re-designed naira notes and enhanced cashless policy.

A statement signed by Mr. Rasheed BolarinwaPresident, ACAMB stated: “There is no doubt that the unintended constraints in the withdrawal of old naira notes and circulation of new naira notes, alongside the national policy to enhance cashless transactions, have had UNINTENDED effects on the generality of the Nigerian populace.

“Nigerian Banks have invested an estimated total sum in excess of N100 billion in setting up and maintaining cutting-edge electronic channels over the past few years as part of an ongoing commitment to seamless customer experience and real-time digital financial transactions. From internet banking to mobile apps, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) merchants, mobile wallets, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes, agents, and digital franchises among others; not less than 80 per cent of Nigerians now enjoy one form of digital or cashless transaction or another, powered by investments by Nigerian Banks.”

“These commitments by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have seen Nigeria rising steadily and recognised as having arguably Africa’s most advanced digital financial services industry and one of the world’s top 10 real-time payment markets. It is a national pride and proof of Nigerian Banks’ commitment to customer service that Nigeria is regarded as having Africa’s most digitized banking industry. Nigerian Banks remain committed to continuing investments in seamless and secured digital banking that EXCITE customers to voluntarily use and rely on the various digital and alternate PAYMENT SYSTEMS available.”

In view of its numerous benefits and the cutting-edge capability of the Nigerian banking sector, ACAMB fully supports the enhanced cashless policy championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The entire banking sector is working with the apex Bank and other stakeholders to urgently address constraints in the implementation and ensure that Nigerians suffer no untoward pains in the transition process.

Nigerian Banks are currently working with the CBN to ensure that customers have access to cash through ATMs and other channels as well as Over-The-Counter (OTC) in the banking halls. ACAMB AFFIRMS without any equivocation that Banks are not in any way hoarding or holding back naira notes or engaging in any act inimical to our avowed commitment to exciting customer experience. ATMs are being loaded every day and cash is being paid as provided by the CBN, as regularly being checked by CBN Inspectors and other regulators including anti-graft agencies.

In the past few hours, Banks have taken additional measures to quicken the flow of naira notes. These measures, among others, include the deployment of extra technical supports for online payments, additional security at ATMs to ensure all-clock usage, technological back-up to reduce online downtime to the barest minimum, additional staff deployment to counters to attend to cash transactions and timely interbank and inter-branch networking to bridge any gap. We are confident that these measures, in addition to efforts by the regulatory CBN, will result in greater ease of access and cash liquidity. The Federal Government and the CBN have reiterated similar readiness to address any constraint in the cyclical flow, including making adjustments, where necessary.  ACAMB urges Nigerian banking public to exercise patience and not to resort to any untoward behavior against Bank staff or banking facilities. Nigerian Banks, the majority of which are publicly quoted, are owned by millions of Nigerians and provide employment to several millions of staff, who work 24/7 to ensure that the generality of Nigerians has reliable and secured globally competitive banking services.

The cashless policy is generally in line with the yearnings of most Nigerians for the elimination of corrupt practices in financial transactions, adequate security and improvements in law enforcement, and the general integrity of the wealth creation process. As shown by global evidence, cashless policy helps in curbing crimes such as; kidnapping, banditry, and official sleaze, among others.

The cashless or digital transaction is also a boost to commerce and industry; as well as public finance. It is noteworthy that digitization of public finances of many states and at national level has led to phenomenal improvement in REVENUE GENERATION, which form the basis of improved infrastructural renewals Nigerians now cherish.  It is also noteworthy that all stakeholders agreed on the importance and advantages of the redesigning of naira notes. The redesigning of naira notes safeguards the Nigerian economy and the country’s sovereignty, by strengthening the nation’s currency flow and control. We believe that ongoing concerted efforts will address the constraints currently being experienced in the cyclical flow of the new naira notes and the legal tenders generally.

Banks and customers are inseparable stakeholders as they exist for one another. It is, therefore, detrimental to the interest of the general banking public to disrupt banking operations by untoward actions against Bank staff or vandalisation of banking facilities. The Nigerian banking industry owes its global success as a leader in digital banking to its enthusiastic customers and remains committed to doing everything possible to ensure customers continue to have delightful experiences; in the banking halls and across the electronic and other alternate channels. ACAMB implores Nigerians to consider the big picture of the advantages of the redesigning of the naira and enhanced cashless policy, and therefore exercise patience, as stakeholders work to ensure normalcy. Customers must demonstrate ownership of their Banks and eschew any act that could lead to the disruption of banking operations or damage to banking facilities.

ACAMB shall continue to engage all stakeholders and stimulate effective communications to foster greater understanding and forbearance.     

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Sterling Bank States Reason On New Notes Distribution At Ado-Ekiti Branch

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Ademola Adesina Public Relations and News Management

Written by Olushola Okunlade

Sterling Bank PLC has stated why it did not disburse the N6 million in the N200 denomination found in its vault in its Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State branch.

The bank explained on Sunday after a viral video surfaced on social media indicating new naira notes worth N6 million in its vault.

Following the discovery of officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who stormed the bank premises unannounced to discover new N200 notes worth N6 million inside the vault of the bank.

The official, who identified himself simply as Owoeye, a Deputy Director, made the discovery public, ordering that the branch must commence the dispensing of the money the following morning at the latest.

In a statement on Sunday, Sterling Bank PLC said at the time the fund was discovered, it was yet to configure its Automated Teller Machine for the dispensing of N200 notes.

It said the new N1,000 and N500 notes in its possession at the time had been disbursed.

The statement, titled: “New Notes Distribution At Ado-Ekiti Branch,” said: “We would like to state the facts surrounding our branch in Ado Ekiti formally.

“The Naira notes referenced were received prior to the re-configuration of the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to dispense the 200 Naira denomination.

“On January 23, 2023, a regulatory official visited our branch in Ado-Ekiti and the vault contained N 6,000,000 in N200 denominations.

“During the visit, the official observed that we had run out of N1,000 and N500 notes on that day and were unable to load the N200 as the ATMs had not yet been configured to dispense N200 notes.

“At the time of the visit, the subsisting instruction was that the newly designed notes were not to be dispensed over the counter.

“All our ATMs have been dispensing the available quantities of the N1000 and N500 denominations of the newly designed currency as received since the commencement of the policy. We have also successfully reconfigured our ATMs nationwide to dispense N200 notes.

“All denominations can now be withdrawn from our ATMs and over the counter in line with a regulatory pronouncement on February 2, 2023.

“We hereby confidently assure the public that the branch was not hoarding any funds and that Sterling remains at the forefront of ensuring that this exercise is a resounding success.

“Together, we will all overcome this inconvenience and come out stronger.”

Sterling Bank Plc. statement received by BusinessEcho Magazine reads

New Notes Distribution At Ado-Ekiti Branch: We would like to formally state the facts surrounding our branch in Ado Ekiti.

  1. The Naira notes referenced were received prior to the re-configuration
    of the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to dispense the 200
    Naira denomination.
  2. On January 23, 2023, a regulatory official visited our branch in Ado-Ekiti and the vault contained N 6,000,000 in N 200 denominations.
  3. During the visit, the official observed that we had run out of N1,000
    and N500 notes on that day and were unable to load the N200 as the
    ATMs had not yet been configured to dispense N200 notes.
  4. At the time of the visit, the subsisting instruction was that the newly
    designed notes were not to be dispensed over the counter.
  5. All our ATMs have been dispensing the available quantities of the
    N1000 and N500 denominations of the newly designed currency as
    received since the commencement of the policy. We have also
    successfully reconfigured our ATMs nationwide to dispense N200 notes.
  6. All denominations can now be withdrawn from our ATMs and over the
    counter in line with regulatory pronouncement on February 2, 2023.
    We hereby confidently assure the public that the branch was not hoarding
    any funds and that Sterling remains at the forefront of ensuring that this
    exercise is a resounding success.
    Together, we will all overcome this inconvenience and come out stronger.
    Ademola Adesina
    Public Relations and News Management

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