Saturday, April 17, 2021

Stop demanding for utility bills as requirement for opening accounts, customers tell Banks


Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a 30-year-old graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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Some bank customers have decried stringent requirements including utility bills by banks to open and update their accounts.

Some of them who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday, said that the requirements especially by the old generation banks negated financial inclusion drive.

They explained that most of the documents usually requested had been overtaken by information and financial technology.

Mr Idris Yakubu, a customer of one of the old generation banks’ said the requirements for the update of accounts was so tasking and `uncalled for’.

“They require things that are already out-dated and things that Information Technology (IT) has taken care of like utility bills which most of us buy online.

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“Sometimes if you change your phone number and you want to link your new number to your account, it usually takes weeks before they can link it,’’ he said.

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Mr Chukwudi Ike, a parent who runs his children’s account with one of the first generation banks, lamented that the account update requirements were tasking.

“I opened an account for my children in one of the first generation banks.

“In December, I decided to pay in their school fees into that account so that when school resumes, they can easily settle their fees.

“This January, when one of my sons wanted to withdraw his school fees from the account, he was unable to do that but when he inquired from the bank official, he was asked to update the account.

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“When he told me about it, I quickly went to the bank but they asked me to bring my utility bill.

“When I told them that I recharge online, they now asked me to go to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to collect a print out of the bills.

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“When I got to AEDC, I was asked to bring my tenancy agreement with my landlord before they can release the bill to me but with the help of one lady that went out of her way to help me, I was able to collect the print-out.

“I went and submitted it at the bank but up till now after one week, the account has not been updated and the boy has not been able to access the account to pay his fees.

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“This is so annoying and stressful,’’ he lamented.

Mrs Lilian Abone, another customer of one of the old generation banks’ said “the stress that banks’ make us go through is too much’’.

“You come to open an account which ordinarily should take one day but most times, you end up taking about two to three days to gather the documents they require.

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“I personally do not find this funny because I have a lot of things to do with my time,’’ she lamented.

Esther Ekette, a customer of the new generation banks, appealed to banks to upgrade their operations to meet with the current trend.

Reacting to the complaints, a bank official with one of the old generation banks who preferred anonymity said the move was part of the `Know Your Customer’, KYC, requirement for commercial banks.

“Once you pay your utility bill online, you will get a text message confirming the payment as well as a receipt that is automatically generated.

“So, you are expected to save it as that serves as evidence.

“We do not intend to make things difficult for our customers but it is one of the requirements for commercial banks from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).’’


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