Customers lament closure of micro-finance banks


September 29, 2010 03:12PM


Some customers of micro-finance banks, on Tuesday, in Abuja, expressed concern at the closure of the banks, urging the authorities to urgently refund their deposits.The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had, on Friday, announced the closure of 224 micro-finance banks across the country. The CBN had revoked the banks’ licences on the grounds that they were found to be technically insolvent and distressed.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that E- Barclays Micro Finance Bank, one of the affected banks whose licences were revoked, was shut down. But the bank’s premises witnessed a large turn-out of depositors who were, however, unattended to by a handful of the bank staff available.


A customer, Robinson Idoko, told NAN that government should compel the banks to urgently come to the aid of depositors. “I have a savings account with E-Barclays,” he said. “I have N257, 000 in my account, and I didn’t open the account to take a loan from the bank. The purpose of opening this account is to save and pay for my shop, and the rent will expire by next month. I even paid in N35, 000 on Thursday, not knowing that the bank will be closed. Now, I don’t care if the government is closing the bank. What I want is my money.”


Another consumer, Friday Onuwu, said he operated his company’s account with the bank since a commercial bank disappointed him some years past. “I have a company account with the bank which amounts to over N1.187 million and on Thursday I even issued a cheque of N100, 000 and it was cleared,” he said. “You can imagine even their staff came to work today. But my problem is that nobody in the bank’s management has come to address or talk to us. This is really bad and I am really disappointed. We are not armed robbers; we worked for the money. Please, we want our money back.”


A staff of the bank, who did not want to be named, expressed dismay at the situation, arguing that the bank was not what the CBN claimed it to be. “I feel very sad right now,” he said. “Our bank is very strong and reliable. We have the capital base, the managerial skill, the manpower and the capacity. This is a big embarrassment to the bank. It came as a blow because as of Friday we were still paying our consumers. In fact, we paid over 600 costumers. The entire staff here are unhappy with government. This bank has undergone many stages before it got to this level.


Staff of CBN recently came to our bank and asked our staff questions, checked our cash control and even congratulated the bank. We are asking the CBN governor to let our bank be. Other mushroom banks are still operating, so why E-Barclays? We were being appraised monthly. The bank has above N100 million which was required by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Act 2006.”





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