By Jonathan Ugbal and Odey Ojeka
Bank customers in Cross River have complained over their inability to get cash from the system due to poor services at the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the state.
“Calabar is one useless place, even POS (Point of sale) machines are not working, you want to to transfer money, they say no and me? I can’t queue to withdraw money from ATM,” said Moses (other name withheld), a researcher in a chat with our Correspondent.
In Calabar, our Correspondents report that endless queues are seen in ATM points across the capital city as early as 7:00 AM which lasts the entire daytime up to 11:00 PM.
“I was frustrated, hungry, dying, tired and only one of the 4 ATMs was paying and when I went into the banking hall, it was worse! I spent over 3 hours just to withdraw money,” said Perpetua Anya, a student in the University of Calabar.
The banking halls are now more crowded than ever with bank officials offering no explanation why the ATMs are not loaded with cash.
From Odukpani junction to Murtala Muhammed highway by Axari hotels, an area with a population of over 5,000 people; only one ATM is functional while only 6 are functional in Calabar South local government area excluding those at Calabar road where 8 banking institutions are located.
In Ugep, the situation deteriorated on Wednesday with the queues longer than usual with customers recounting their ordeals to CrossRiverWatch.
Okoi John, a customer said he could not make any withdrawal with his ATM card at the Firstbank ATM center along Ikom/Calabar highway located at Ntamkpo, Ugep.
“When I reached here, among the four ATMs only one of the ATM was working and the queue is so long,” he said.
Another customer who preferred anonymity blamed the situation on the lack of financial institutions, which he said will not change until more institutions establish branches.
He said that: “In Ugep, we have just four ATMs in Firstbank which cannot serve the population. People from Yakurr, Biase and part of Abi use Ugep Firstbank ATMs for their withdrawals.”
Some of the security personnel at the bank are allegedly making a fortune out of the scenario by collecting illegal fees from customers who don’t want to spend a long time at the queues.
“Ugep Firstbank enjoys the whole monopoly. Their security personnel who suppose to control the population will instead use that as an advantage to collect money from some of their customers to withdraw for them.
“Ugep Skye bank which is supposed to compete with Firstbank have only one ATM which is not always functional 24 hours. There is no competition here, Ugep needs more banks and more competition. (it will) lead to better products and services (as) my community in Biase local government area have no bank,” said another customer who simply gave his name as Enang.
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