Load New Currencies in ATMs or face sanctions: CBN warns Banks

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned commercial banks that they will be penalized if they fail to comply with the directive of loading the redesigned naira notes in their automated teller machines (ATMs).

Ahmed Umar, CBN director of currency operations, made this known at a training session for state directors of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Abuja. Last week, the CBN ordered banks to stop dispensing new currency notes over the counter and to only make them available via ATMs.

The directive's purpose is to implement the January 31 deadline for withdrawing old naira notes in circulation.

Load New Currencies in ATMs or face sanctions: CBN warns Banks
New Naira Notes

Umar explained, “We want to use this training session to pass a message that CBN has enough currency notes to go round the general public. We, CBN management, have mandated banks to stop putting old notes in their ATM machines. They should only put the new notes."

He added, “There is a serialization of the policy that they can put either N500, N1000 or N200 note whichever denomination they have or combination of any of those notes, they should just put a new note in their machines. We are going to monitor to ensure that the banks comply and if they don’t, we have a penalty for non-compliance.”

Umar also noted that it takes a few years to change a currency note design in many countries, but in Nigeria, it has been over 20 years since the last redesign.

He explained, “Over that period, what it did to us was to create an avenue for some people to master the act of counterfeiting the note.

If currency notes stay too long in the system, there is a tendency for people who counterfeit to make a lot of effort to produce the same notes. So, that is why there is a need to change our notes regularly.” He added that the N500 and N1000 naira notes constitute 99 percent of the currency notes that are being targeted by counterfeiters.

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