CBN threatens sanction Rivers Banks for hoarding new Notes worth N4.5Bn

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN on Friday berated commercial banks in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over their refusal to dispense the sum of N4.5billion newly redesigned naira notes, distributed to them in Port Harcourt.

Maxwell Okafor, Branch Controller CBN, Rivers State, who led the CBN enforcement monitoring team on the newly redesigned bank notes to some commercial banks and markets in Port Harcourt, said between Thursday and Friday, the apex bank has disbursed about N4.5bn newly redesigned naira notes to commercial banks in Rivers  State and wondered why many bank customers are not getting the new naira note.

He expressed concern that some commercial banks in Port Harcourt were deliberately frustrating the efforts of the apex bank in implementing the disbursement of the new Naira notes by hoarding them in their vaults.

He charged the commercial banks to stop dispensing old notes, saying that another N2 billion of the new notes will be injected into commercial banks in Port Harcourt within the next 24 hours.

Okafor said; “We have been monitoring the dispensing of the new naira note and the impression we have is not encouraging. We have visited some banks and one of the banks we visited was not dispensing the new naira notes.

“Their ATM machines are not functioning even as early as at the time we came. We had it on good authority that the banks received money from CBN. Some of these banks received money yesterday and the money is still in their vaults.

“In some of the banks, their ATM machines are down. So there is no explanation for their actions and CBN has warned that there will be serious consequences for hoarding this new naira note and giving it to special customers.

“Many of the banks we visited are not dispensing the new naira note. On Thursday we injected about N2.5bn into the banks in Port Harcourt and in less than 24 hours we injected another N2bn.

Many of the ATMs are not dispensing so it’s a situation we want to look at very critically and there will be consequences.

“We stopped dispensing old currencies since the new currency came out. There is no reason why the ATM should not dispense money and the money they collected are in the vault. There is pressure from these banks to collect more money so what did they do with the ones they collected? What did they do with the N2.5bn and N2bn they collected? We are going to escalate this matter and we will consult with the management on the next line of action,” he said.

Also speaking, CBN Deputy Director of Strategy, Emenike Eleonu, said there is no doubt that some banks are trying to frustrate what CBN is doing.

Eleonu said that some of the banks have the new naira notes but are not dispensing them to customers, assuring that there will be repercussions as CNN will take up matters with the bank management.

The newly redesigned Naira notes are there in their vaults but they are not dispensing to customers. Almost N3 billion of the new notes were injected into banks in Port Harcourt yesterday but they are not dispensing it.

In one of the banks we visited, our presence made them hurriedly load their ATM machines with the new currency.

Some of the banks visited by the monitoring team were First bank, Access bank, GTB, UBA, Zenith, and Keystone Bank. The team also visited some markets in Port Harcourt where traders were sensitized members of the public on the new naira notes.

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