The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, NIBSS, in its latest statistics showed that Nigerians have abandoned 10 million bank accounts in 2018.
According to findings by National Daily, this is majorly due to economic hardship caused by sluggish economic growth, rising job losses and reduction in purchasing power occasioned by double digit inflation.
According to the statistics, the number of bank accounts abandoned by bank customers and hence categorised as ‘inactive bank accounts’ rose by 28 percent to 46.7 million in 2018 from 36.7 million in 2017.
According to the CBN 2015 guidelines on dormant accounts, “An account shall become inactive if there has been no customer or depositor-initiated transaction for a period of six months after the last customer or depositor initiated transaction.”
According to NIBSS, inactive bank accounts grew faster than active bank accounts in the past five years, 2014 to 2018.
During this period, inactive bank accounts grew by 73 percent while active bank accounts grew by 35 percent. While inactive bank accounts increased by 19.61 million to 46.7 million in 2018 from 27.09 million in 2014, active bank accounts rose by 24.75 million to 71.2 million in 2018 from 46.45 million in 2014.
Okechukwu Uzor, a teacher, does not see the need to continue to operate his bank account.
“I have an account with a zero balance which I have abandoned. If I have the money I will credit the account. The money is not enough to feed talk-less of saving it in the bank”, he siad.
Last year, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that the number of unemployed Nigerians rose by 3.3 million to 20.3 million in the third quarter of 2018 (Q3’18) compared to third quarter of 2017 (Q3’17).
This, according to Uju Ogubunka, President of Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN) will definitely lead to inactivity in bank accounts.
“We worked round the clock when there was business. We paid salaries; we also had other subsidiary companies under us. The business was at its peak by that time but thereafter from mid-2015 there was no business activity happening in the company.
“As a result of that, what do we have to do? When you are in business everything goes well but when you are not, what do you do. So my corporate account has been dormant from that time till date.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a staff of Ecobank, said: “A lot of people are leaving the country and abandoning their accounts. So it is leading to an increase in inactive accounts that banks have. Those are the people that can actually have bank accounts. You know people that are able to leave are people that earn fairly well and they can have a bank account. Once they leave they don’t access those accounts anymore.”
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