Across Lagos, most commercial banks are refusing deposits of old ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 notes from customers, citing the currency redesign deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The currency redesign process has been confusing, with the CBN moving the deadline once and a Supreme Court judgment extending the same deadline to February 15. A lawyer who spoke to TechCabal clarified that since the CBN wasn’t a party to the case, the decision of the Supreme Court is not binding on it.
TechCabal visited bank branches in Lagos and spoke to several bank employees. We came away with a picture of a haphazard policy that needs to be clarified. A First Bank employee in Lagos told TechCabal it turned away several customers with old notes, including a filling station manager with 4 million worth of old notes. FCMB and Access Bank bank branches also refused to collect the old notes, saying that the deadline elapsed on February 10. They added that they are waiting on more directives from the CBN.
Customers at the bank branches TechCabal visited said they did not get any emails or notifications from their banks about Monday’s deadline. During TechCabal’s visit, a security officer at an Access Bank branch was shocked to overhear a TechCabal reporter confirming that the bank had indeed stopped collecting old notes. The bank’s customers who were in a queue to withdraw cash at the ATM said they were also hearing about the deadline for the first time.
One of the few commercial banks that informed their customers of their decision to cease deposits of old notes is Stanbic IBTC bank. The bank told customers, “The old designs of N200, N500, and N1,000 will no longer be accepted as legal tender after today 10 February 2023. Deposit your old notes now at any of our branches.” An employee at one of the bank’s branches in Port Harcourt confirmed that no deposits of old notes were ongoing and customers were not coming in to deposit their old notes.