CBN To Sanction Banks For Paying Old Notes To Customers Via ATMs

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to penalise any commercial banks that fail to comply with its directives.

CBN To Sanction Banks For Paying Old Notes To Customers Via ATMs

The warned commercial banks against putting old naira notes into Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

Ahmed Umar, CBN director, of currency operations, made this known in Abuja on Monday at the training session for state directors of the National Orientation Agency (NOA).

Last week, the apex bank ordered banks to halt dispensing the new currency notes over the counter — and to only make them available via ATMs.

Umar said the purpose of the CBN directive was to implement the January 31 deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes in circulation.

“We want to use this training session to pass a message that CBN has enough currency notes to go around the general public.”

“We, CBN management, have mandated banks to stop putting old notes in their ATM machines. They should only put the new notes.

“And there is a serialisation of the policy that they can put either N500, N1000 or N200 note whichever denomination they have or combination of any of those notes, they should just put a new note in their machines.

“We are going to monitor to ensure that the banks comply and if they don’t, we have a penalty for non-compliance.”

He said in many countries across the world, it takes a few years to change a currency note design.

“In our own case what we had was basically over 20 years of having the same design of note,” Umar explained.

“Over that period, what it did to us was to create an avenue for some people to master the act of counterfeiting the note.

“In our own case, what we have is a minimum of 17 years or more for us to redesign our currency.

“If you notice the N1000 note that was introduced in 2005, it took 17 years for us to redesign it. N500 and N200 notes were also redesigned after 21 years and 22 years respectively.

“So, if currency notes stay too long in the system, there is a tendency that people who counterfeit to make a lot of efforts to produce the same notes.

“So, that is why there is a need to change our notes regularly.”

He said N500 and N1000 naira notes constitute 99 per cent of the currency notes that are being targeted by counterfeiters.

“It is simple logic, the effort you put to counterfeit N1000 is the same effort you put to counterfeit N5,” he said.

“So, why will they waste their energy doing small notes; they always target the higher note particularly N1000, because of the values attached to it.”

Garba Abari, director-general of NOA, said his agency partnered with the CBN to educate the agency’s staff to assist in enlightening Nigerians on the redesign of the new banknotes policy.

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