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DATA PROBLEM MARS PAYMENT OF FAILED MICROFINANCE BANKS' CUSTOMERS

By NBF News

THE lack of proper documentation has prevented many customers of the recently liquidated 103 failed microfinance banks from being paid their trapped deposits.

An investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday, in Lagos, showed that due to irregularities, including the inability of the depositors to produce passbooks or cheques books, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) could not pay most of them.

Majority of customers of ADIF Microfinance Bank and Impact Microfinance Bank, both in Surulere, and Trinity Microfinance Bank on Victoria Island, could not receive their money on Wednesday, because the banks could not trace their names.

The customers, who were mostly affected, were those who operated fixed and current accounts.

A customer of ADIF Microfinance Bank, Mr Olayiwola Sulaiman, vowed that he would get his deposit by all means, despite  his inability to produce the relevant documents.

Sulaiman explained that when he opened a current account with the bank early last year, the bank did not issue him a cheque book or pay slip before it was closed down five months later.

'The bank kept promising me but it never fulfilled that promise. Besides, I learnt that the computer in which they stored customers data could not be traced,' Sulaiman said.

A customer of Trinity Microfinance Bank, Mr Igbochi Obiara, said that his name was also missing and the only thing the bank could get was the mandate given to him.

'I will go and search for my accounts officer, may be she could be of help,' Obiara said.

Also, a spare part seller at Lawanson, Mr Marsel Madu,  who also recounted his ordeal, urged the CBN to constitute a team to verify the customers` claims and ensure that they were protected.

An NDIC official at the payment centre in Surulere, who preferred anonymity, explained that all was not lost.

According to him, customers that misplaced their passbooks or cheque books will be paid if they can provide their national identity cards, passports or driver's licence.

He said it was not the intention of the NDIC to frustrate customers, pointing out that the problem emanated from the bank workers, especially those in the marketing department, whom customers accused of insincerity.

The ongoing payment, which began on January 17, will end on January 21.

The third batch will begin on Monday, Jan. 24 for customers of Integrated Microfinance Bank.