Friday, 15 March 2013

Depositors protest Access Bank’s hidden charges

Several customers of Access Bank Plc are at loggerheads with it over some alleged hidden and unexplained charges.
Some of the customers told PUNCH Metro that deductions were being made from their accounts for frivolous reasons.
A customer, Kolawole Ebenezer, said,  “I didn’t notice the deductions until a few weeks ago when I went to make a deposit into my account. I saw my account balance and began to make enquiries. They said the deductions started this year and I wasn’t alone.
“So many other customers that day in the banking hall were furious. Despite the directive from the CBN about not making deductions for the use of ATMs, I am being charged for email alerts, account balance, SMS, ATM usage and another N1,000 for maintenance.
“I made efforts to speak with the manager of Dopemu branch where my account is. Her response was that the deductions were not peculiar to me. She said it was a directive that all Access Bank branches were complying with. I find this disheartening because I have two accounts in other banks and they are not doing this.”
Another customer with Dopemu branch, who identified herself as Sola said, “Apart from a maintenance fee which is deducted every year, there are sundry charges which I have yet to understand.
“Even when you confront the bank workers, they always manage to find a reason for the deductions. Sometimes they tell you it is a mistake, they are working on it but your money is never refunded. Other times, they just ignore you outright. It is frustrating.”
Modupe Balogun, a 23-year-old lady, said she had become disillusioned with saving money in the bank.
Balogun, who opened a savings account with the bank in August 2011, said she saved N5,000 as of January 2013. However, she said when she checked her balance, she was told she had only N2, 942.11.
Balogun said she found the balance curious, and desired to know why her savings were depleted.
Balogun said, “My account with the bank is 0009872251. Since I opened the account, I have saved N5,000 and have never withdrawn any money.
“I am surprised that the balance sent to me in January 2013 showed that I only had N2,942.11k.
The depositor said after complaining to the bank’s Ogba branch, they asked her to obtain a statement of account to give details of the transaction.
She said the statement generated from the bank further depleted her balance, leaving her with N2,582.11.
Not satisfied with the state of affairs, Balogun opted to close her account with the bank.
But she said to her amazement, she was told she had a balance of N1,300.
Balogun added, “So, I decided to close my account and to collect the N1,300 they claimed remained. But to my consternation, I was told they would still remove N400 from the money.
“The development pissed me off. I had to call my uncle to narrate my woes. He said I should not take the N900 until the issue is sorted out. That is my story with Access Bank.”
In the summary of statement from August 2011 to January 31, 2013, Access Bank indicated that the depositor made deposits on September 11, 2011 (N1,500); June 25, 2012 (N1,500) and October 16, 2012 (N2,000).
It also indicated that on April 30, 2012, the bank debited the depositor’s account with N100 under the heading of electronic channel fees while on May 14 of the same year, N1,000 was removed for Verve Debit card issuance fee.
Also, as from June 12, 2012 to January 25, 2013, the sum of N1,320 was deducted from the account for electronic channel fees, account maintenance fees and SMS alert.
When Punch Metro visited Access Bank, Dopemu branch, our correspondent was not allowed to see the branch manager. However an employee of the bank, who declined to mention his name said there was nothing fraudulent about their charges.
“There is nothing fraudulent about our charges. The N1000 maintenance charge is deducted just once a year from every customer’s account. We decided it was better to have a maintenance charge instead of making charges for ATM withdrawals and the like.”
When PUNCH Metro contacted the spokesperson for the bank, Mr. Segun Fafore, he said, “I don’t really know what to tell you about the claims you have just made. These deductions are not just peculiar to Access Bank customers alone.”

Punch Nigeria

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