Nigerians deposit bales of cash in banks ahead of naira redesign

Wealthy individuals and organizations with huge cash stashed away have begun depositing their naira with banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement of a redesign.

The CBN had a few days ago, announced the redesign of the N1,000, N500, and N200 notes, with a directive that the current notes be remitted to the commercial banks.

Our correspondents gathered from sources and workers in the operations department of many commercial banks that even though there has yet to be any rush by customers, there was a gradual increase in the volume of cash and amounts being remitted by customers.

A top banker with one of the first-generation banks, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was a gradual increase in the sums of money being deposited by some customers. “We have seen an increase in the amount being brought to some of our branches by some customers,” the source said.

When asked the highest amount an individual had remitted so far, the source, who heads a branch of the bank in Oshodi, Lagos, said, “The amounts vary, but we have seen people bring between N5m and N20m cash. It’s only rich customers that can have huge sums stashed away. The poor live on daily income and can hardly have enough to save.”

He said it was easy to identify the money stashed away for a long time because of the smell, the dates on them, and other elements she refused to disclose. “There are ways to identify them but I don’t want to go into that because the focus of the CBN policy is to rein in the volume of cash in circulation. The regulators would deal with the rest.”

The Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, while announcing the issuance of the new naira notes on October 26, said bank customers should start paying their current notes to enable them to withdraw the new banknotes once circulation begins on December 15, 2022.



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