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Account Update: Customers Storm Banks In Last-minute Rush

Apparently in a last-minute effort to beat the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s January 31 dead-line for bank customers to update their account infor-mation, customers, on Fri-day, thronged the various banking halls to avert the apex bank’s sanctions.

The CBN had initially set December 31, 2010 deadline for the update but later shifted it to January 31, 2011.

Some of the branches visited by Saturday Tribune in Lagos State included: Sterling Bank, Ikorodu; Bank PHB, Mile 12; Oceanic Bank, Ikorodu; First Bank, Nigerian Stock Exchange building; Diamond Bank, Marina and Guaranty Trust Bank, Broad Street, Lagos.

In some of the banks, customers were seen sitting on floors filling the update forms, while in others, there were long queues. The private security personnel in the various banks had difficulties controlling the crowd.

Saturday Tribune gathered that while it was a seamless, stress-free exercise in some banks, it was entirely a different scenario in some others, raising fears that the affected banks might be up to some games.

Customers that were unable to meet the strin-gent requirements of some of the banks expressed their tales of woes, accusing the affected banks of deliberately preventing them from updating their accounts.

Customer relations officers in some of the banks were seen answering various enquiries made by customers. To douse tension, in one of the banks, a customer relations officer, who refused to disclose her identity, played down on the account update exercise, advising the frustrated customers, who could not meet up with the stringent requirements, that the exercise was a mere formality as they would continue to maintain their accounts.

Apart from utility bill statement, passport photo-graphs and means of identification, some of the banks made extra demand by requesting that custo-mers get two guarantors.

Some of the bank customers that spoke with Saturday Tribune in Lagos said the fresh hurdles set by banks before the update could be perfected were done against the backdrop that any account that was not updated before CBN’s deadline would remain suspended, stressing that it was an attempt by the banks to defraud them.

One of the bank custo-mers, Ahmed Onitiri, who was seen complaining in one of the banks, said the conditions set by the banks for account update was like opening a fresh account.

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