The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered regular banks not to pay customers who want to make counter withdrawals of new naira notes again, instead the banks should load their Automated Teller Machines (ATM) with only new notes to ensure that the currency circulates across the nation ahead of the January 31, 2023, which is the deadline for the old notes.

This information was contained in an issued memo to all the branch managers to enforce the CBN order, ordering that the implementation must begin immediately. The memo, which was titled., ‘Urgent update on currency redesign’ and signed by the Group Head, Retail Operation, states: “The CBN has mandated that we immediately stop the Over-the-Counter payment of the new N200, N500 and N,1000 currency. Instead, all new notes should be loaded into the ATMs for customer withdrawals.
“This is effective immediately please,”

Anonymous manager in one of the bank’s branches in Ikeja, Lagos, however, complained that the new notes were in short supply, hence the branch decided to load a mixture of the old and new N1,000 and N500 notes in the ATMs for customers to withdraw. He also stated, “We got a memo from the head office this morning (Thursday) that we should stop giving new notes to customers who come to withdraw over the counter, but instead we should load the ATMs with the new notes.

“The directive has, however, thrown us into a dilemma as we are in short supply of the new notes and we can’t afford not to load the ATMs as there has been a surge in the number of customers coming to withdraw after the holidays. Loading of ATMs is the responsibility of the banks. When our bank tested the ATMs, only one denomination of the new notes passed the test of dispensing seamlessly through our machines. The bank is working on reconfiguring the ATMs to be able to dispense the new notes. What we have done in my branch is to mix the few new N1,000 and N500 notes available with old ones so that desperate customers can make withdrawals and meet their immediate needs.

“If you observed, a lot of ATMs were inactive during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The idea was not to give out old notes, but unfortunately, the new ones are not in circulation. The banks have a mandate to evacuate N1bn old notes each to the CBN on a daily basis and our head office has set a strict vault limit or cash holding limit for each branch, which on no condition we must exceed.”