Since the partial ease of the coronavirus lockdown in Abuja, Lagos, Ogun and other parts of the country on Monday, financial Institutions have been besieged by large crowds of Nigerians.
This has been taken by many as evidence of the ineffectiveness or outright failure of the digital banking provided by commercial banks through the various E-Banking channels.
Various banks regularly send e-mails, text messages to their customers, providing them with information on alternative channels to visiting bank branches.
Although the turnouts were not as much as seen nationwide on Monday, bank customers were still seen in large numbers in bank premises on Tuesday in Abuja, only that this time they were better organised, some seated under a canopy.
An Ecobank official who asked not to be named said the majority of the customers were traders who were there to deposit money.
“Some also came for ATM card issuance, issues relating to ATM cards, Internet banking passwords and the rest,” she said.
She urged customers to sign up on the digital space to enable them transact their businesses without having to visit banking halls.
“A lot of them are not on the digital channel, not even one, they will say they will steal their money.
“This lockdown is an eye opener for some of them, they have been coming to get their cards and some are still not requesting for ATM cards.
“As we are going into the digital era, these customers need to be sensitised, everyone needs to go completely digital so that they will be able to do everything from their home space,” she said.
She also said the bank tries as much as possible to take preventive measures.
“For bulk cash and cheques, we do that with a boxed system. You drop your bulk cash or cheque in a box, it is left for a period of time before we check it.”
Johnson Adewale, a bank customer waiting his turn at the Ecobank, Wuse market branch, said he was at the bank to rectify issues from failed transactions he made during the lockdown.
“I transferred N20,000 to my family in Lagos, I have been deducted and they (family) have not seen the alert for three weeks now. I have called their customer care, I even called customer complaint commission, but I am yet to get a refund,” he said.
Another customer at First Bank, Wuse Zone 2 branch, Salawu Ibrahim, said he was there to collect his ATM card.
“I could not access my money during the lockdown because I don’t have ATM. Now I want it, any day they deduct my money anyhow, I will close down the account,” he said.
“Mandate Digital Banking”
A financial analyst, Paul Alaje, said digital banking at this point should be mandatory for all bank users so that more Nigerians could embrace it.
“The campaign towards digital banking is popular more among the elite and the middle-class, the downtrodden have not embraced it because of several hidden charges.
“Banks should mandate that if the technology is not embraced, they will not solve customer-related problems and the Central Bank of Nigeria should in turn mandate commercial banks in a way of redoing the cost of people using online banking.
“If they are charging people for USSD, then it becomes unfair,” he said.
He also advised that more should be done to advertise and educate the lower-income group on digital banking.
“People still have the notion that CBN and their bank is actually exploiting them without giving necessary service,” he said.