I introduced ATM in Nigeria 25 years ago – Saraki

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The Senate President,  Dr Bukola Saraki on Wednesday disclosed that he introduced the use of Automated Teller Machine,  otherwise known as ATM, in Nigeria.

He stated this while speaking on a motion entitled:  “Illicit and excessive charges by Nigerian Banks on customers account with particular focus on Automated Teller Machine (ATM)  maintenance and withdrawal charges”, sponsored by Senator Olugbenga Ashafa representing Lagos East Senatorial District.

Saraki stated that he introduced ATM 25 years ago when he was the Chairman of Society Générale Bank before other banks began the use of ATM.

He however expressed grave concern over exorbitant charges by banks when customers use their ATM,  saying that when he introduced ATM services in the now defunct Society Générale Bank, it was not so.

“I quite agree with the motion sponsored by Gbenga Ashafa over the exploitation of ATM users,  after all, the use of ATM is not a new thing to banks. I first introduced ATM about twenty-five years ago,” the Senate President said.

Saraki was the Chairman of both the Society Générale Bank which later became Trade bank. However, both banks have been liquidated.

In his lead debate, Ashafa pointed out that there have been several complaints from Nigerians about the excessive charges by Nigerian commercial banks.

He explained that CBN in 2017 increased the maintenance fees charged by banks in  debit and credit card maintenance from N100 a year to N50 per month (N600) a year as contained in its “Guide to Charges by banks and other financial institutions”.

The lawmaker also noted that card users are still charging N65 per withdrawal from the ATM, after the third monthly withdrawal from an ATM outside that of the domicile bank of the said ATM user.

Further, Ashafa worried, ‘Most banks have deliberately manipulated their ATM machines not to dispense more than N10,000 per withdrawal in some cases and in most cases not more than N20,000 per withdrawal at the ATM.

“That this is a deliberate ploy to manipulated the ATM machines which are ordinarily manufactured to dispense as much as N40,000 per transaction, in order to attract more bank charges from customers who are forced to carry out more transactions due to the manipulated machines”.

The Senate also said it appears the CBN is becoming insensitive to the plight of Nigerians who are already complaining of excessive charges by commercial banks, asking: “If the CBN is trying to encourage a cashless Nigeria, why should they be making it more difficult and expensive for Nigerians to do transactions?”

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