Customers of five major banks in Nigeria are raising concerns over N324 billion in funds that appear to be trapped or missing as of June 2023.
The affected banks include United Bank for Africa (UBA), Fidelity Bank, Access Holdings, Zenith Bank Plc, and Guaranty Trust Holding Company.
As per reports, the number of customer complaints directed at these banks has surged by a staggering 117% year-on-year, reaching a total of 6,865,217 by June 2023, compared to 3,156,704 complaints during the same period in 2022.
The financial claims stemming from these complaints have also seen a substantial increase, totaling N326.11 billion, which is a 289% rise compared to the N83.78 billion paid in claims in June 2022.
Customer complaints to UBA have skyrocketed, reaching 1,930,518 as of June 2023, marking a 306.32% increase from 475,121 in 2022.
The amount involved in these complaints has surged to N125.26 billion from N4.39 billion in June 2022.
Access Holdings witnessed a 132.25% increase in customer complaints between June 2022 and June 2023, with the number of received complaints reaching 3,222,907 from 1,387,702.
The disputed amount in these complaints has risen to N136.75 billion from N57.87 billion.
Fidelity Bank experienced a 77.69% rise in customer complaints, with the number of complaints reaching 1,010,586 from 568,738.
The total amount being claimed has reached N55.20 billion, marking a 268% increase.
Zenith Bank saw a 12.55% increase in received complaints, rising to 247,685 from 220,067 as of June 2022.
The amount involved in these complaints stood at N8.38 billion, indicating a 66% increase from H1 2023.
Unlike the other banks, GTCO reported a 10% decline in customer complaints, decreasing from 505,076 in H1 2022 to 453,575 in H1 2023.
The disputed amount also dropped to N517.67 million from N1.51 billion.
The increase in customer complaints appears to be linked to various factors, including the Naira Redesign policy implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
This policy led to a surge in electronic transactions due to a cash crunch, as reported by the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System.
Chizor Malize, the Managing Director of Financial Institutions Training Centre, cited the ‘Japa’ trend (the migration of skilled individuals out of Nigeria) as a factor contributing to the decline in the quality of banking services.
Dr. Uju Ogubunka, the president of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, emphasized the importance of adequate training for bank staff, particularly in the context of rapidly changing banking policies and customer expectations.
In conclusion, the rise in customer complaints and trapped funds in these major Nigerian banks underscores the need for robust customer service, training, and adaptation to policy changes to ensure a healthy and trustworthy banking sector.
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