Cash Scarcity, Banks’ Network Issues in Lagos As Xmas Approaches

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By Niyi Jacobs

As Nigerians approach the end of 2023, financial institutions in the country are currently facing a tough time as they have been experiencing service downtime, such as cash scarcity, network glitch and IT related issues for over two weeks.
Customers who spoke with our correspondent lamented over delay in transactions in the banking halls, inability to access enough cash from banks, failed transactions on digital banking platforms as a result of network issues and system breakdown. Others complained bitterly over difficulties in accessing their mobile apps, while some complained about non-reversal of ATM failed transactions, among other issues. For some, the crowd in banking halls discouraged them from visiting the banks to lodge complaints. Other respondents said visiting the bank was frustrating as they had to wait for hours before they were attended to.
On Friday, some banks were giving customers as low as N5000 inside the banking halls irrespective of the amount needed by the customer, while the ATMs were completely unable to dispense cash.
Richard Aderounmu, an Access bank customer, who spoke with our correspondent over non-reversal of an ATM failed transaction said despite visiting the bank twice over the issue, his money was stuck due to a system breakdown from the bank.
“Two Saturdays ago, I tried to withdraw at an Access bank branch at Alaguntan Iyana Ipaja. The mistake I made was that I didn’t realise I was supposed to press N5000 at once because the machine was dispensing only N5000, instead I inputted N20,000 and then waited. The ATM didn’t dispense cash and my account had been debited. .
“Then I approached a security officer there and told her what the issue was, she asked if my account was debited, I said Yes. She told me to wait for a few minutes that it will likely be reversed, throughout that day it wasn’t reversed. On Monday, 27th November, I went to the bank to request for my money.
“Despite going early, I waited for about 1 hour 45 minutes before I was attended to. They had system breakdown and could not resolve the issue. The same day, I got a message stating that my case had been received and an update would be provided the next day. I tried to send messages online, no response. I went to the branch at Pako this morning, 6th December to complain about the same issue, there were a lot of people at the customer service unit who came to complain about the same issue.
“At a point I got angry and requested to see their manager, and I explained the issue to the manager. The manager said they couldn’t access the system and the platform had been down. She told me many people I could see at the bank were there because the platform was down. She said it was a general issue. As I am speaking with you, they haven’t reversed the money. Once they reverse this money, I will close my account and I’m done with them,” he said.
Dorcas Oladotun, a fabric merchant and a Wema bank customer shared her plight owing to the bank’s service downtime customers experienced last week which disrupted her plans for the day as all the bank’s digital banking channels were down.
“The network issue of Wema bank affected me terribly last week Friday. I couldn’t access my mobile app. I tried to transfer using USSD, but it failed. I couldn’t do any transaction on my account and I couldn’t receive money too. I had to cancel all my plans for the day because I didn’t have enough cash, I tried to withdraw money through POS thinking it was going to work, but it failed,” she shared.
After narrating her experience to our correspondent, Dorcas revealed that she received an email from Wema bank stating that they were experiencing downtime.
“We are experiencing downtime at the moment. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused. Our team is currently working round the clock to restore normalcy. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time,” the email stated.