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Investigation reveals how banks contribute to long queues at ATMs

Lagos residents in Iyana Ipaja and environs have had a lot to contend with in recent times.




Lagos residents in Iyana Ipaja, Ijaiye, Abule Egba, and environs have had a lot to contend with in recent times. For example, the dual carriage Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway that connects the network of suburbs and leads to the ancient city of Abeokuta has been under construction for about three years.

For over 2 million inhabitants of this area who rely on the Lagos-Abeokuta Express way to commute, slow moving traffic, dusty haze from coal tar and debris associated with road and bridge constructions are some of the challenges they have to deal with daily.

First timers driving past the Lagos section of the 80 kilometre expressway that cuts across two of Lagos State’s largest local government areas will quickly observe a fast developing, densely populated neighbourhood full of shops, roadside sellers, hawkers, the popular danfo buses, okadas, filling stations and banks flanking either side of the road. Keen observers will notice something else too – lengthy queues outside nearly all the commercial banks waiting to access their Automated Teller Machines  (ATMs).

The queues sometimes stretch outside the ATM areas to banks’ parking lots, as customers wait in anguish to withdraw cash. At one of our stops, a mother carrying an infant behind her back sits waiting in the queue, while a young man holds out an umbrella to shield himself from the hot sun.

Most of the users of these ATMs accuse Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank, Ecobank, First Bank and GTBank of neglect, due to the poor services they often receive at these banks’ ATMs located in the area.

The customers, who made their frustrations known while speaking to Nairametrics, expressed displeasure over the persistent long queues that characterise most visits to ATM galleries in that part of Lagos. The queues, they said, are always there at different points of the day and week, and get even worse on Saturdays, public holidays, and festive seasons.

Poor banking services

According to the customers, the problem has now become a norm, while the banks seem unperturbed by the stress which their customers often go through just to withdraw money from their accounts. The customers also got to the point of accusing banks of deliberately withholding their monies, just so that they (the banks) could use said monies for transactions, thereby making profits at customers’ expense.

The customers alleged that the banks are neglectful towards them, probably because Iyana Ipaja is mainly comprised of low and middle-income residents. According to them, residents in highbrow areas such as Ikeja GRA and most parts of Lagos Island seldom experience difficulties while withdrawing money at bank ATMs.

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What factors are responsible for the queues?

Based on our findings, there are three main reasons why residents of Iyana Ipaja and environs often face the challenge of queueing longer than normal to withdraw their money.

Firstly, there are not enough banks in the area to adequately cater to the needs of the customers. In the heart of Iyana Ipaja, there are about just five banks available.

Inasmuch as five banks may sound like a lot, it should also be noted that this part of Lagos is home to millions of Nigerians, as it also doubles as a major economic hub for small-scale business activities. Consequently, the residents, traders and commuters depend on the ATMs in these five banks for quick transactions.

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Commenting on this situation, a bank customer who identified himself as Sunday Ubeze said, “Nigerian banks really need to make it a priority to open their branches in this part of Lagos.” According to him, the bank that he patronises does not even have a branch in Iyana Ipaja. To compound that problem, there are hardly any banks close to where he lives in Iyana Ipaja. As a result of that, not only does he always have to come to Iyana Ipaja Roundabout whenever he needs to make an emergency cash withdrawal, he is also forced to pay the mandatory withdrawal charge of N65.


The second reason for the queues is that most of the banks fail to provide adequate maintenance for their Automated Teller Machines, thereby inhibiting optimal functionality. A visit to some of the ATM galleries of banks located in the area will show that most of the machines are always “out of service”, thereby limiting the number of working ATMs. Customers are, therefore, delayed as they are forced to queue up and use the few functioning machines.

“Temporarily unable to dispense cash”

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The last causative factor has to do with what some of the customers alleged as a deliberate ploy by the banks to keep them from withdrawing their money whenever they want. Some of the bank customers who spoke to Nairametrics accused banks of not putting money in ATMs, especially during the weekends. This, they alleged, is deliberate because the banks would rather “use our money for business than allow us withdraw it.”

A complicated challenge

Attempts to reach each of the affected banks for their comments on this matter proved futile. But that notwithstanding, Nairametrics spoke to a retail banker at Zenith Bank Plc who gave more insight into the situation. According to her, it is rather untrue to claim that banks intentionally withhold customers’ funds. This is because “it actually pays banks to shed weight (cash) in their vaults,” she said.

Using Zenith Bank as an example, she stated that branches earn a proportion of the charges paid by the customers on such withdrawals. Consequently, it does not work in their favour to withhold customers’ money.

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Speaking further, she noted that during weekends, ATM managers are usually on weekend shifts to ensure ATM availability for the banking populace. She also stated that the challenge of long queues is not limited to the Iyana Ipaja area alone.

She did agree that malfunctioning machines and the scarcity of enough bank branches are all factors that contribute to the long queues. However, though it is good for banks to open up branches across Lagos, she cited money considerations as a major hindrance.

“It takes money to do that. Moreover, you don’t just establish a branch that would close down due to lack of profitability.”

More should be done

Banks need to set up more ATM galleries in places like Iyana Ipaja, where their presence is needed. However, doing this would require that the banks carry out adequate feasibility researches and ensure that the ATM galleries would at least be able to pay for their own maintenance instead of eating into the profits of the banks. More so, security concerns must be put into consideration in line with CBN mandates, and the necessary logistics and manpower concerns should be sorted out.


In all, it is a fact that there are many bank customers living in Iyana Ipaja and environs. These customers often experience challenges when trying to withdraw money via ATMs. Unfortunately, the difficulties they face cause various forms of inconveniences for them. Some of the customers spoke about how they lost out on important opportunities and missed deadlines just because they queued for long hours trying to withdraw cash.

It is, therefore, for the good of all concerned parties, that the banks should do all that is necessary to put an end to this problem.

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Xanthos

    July 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    banks along that axis needs to deploy more of ebusiness soluions like POS,Internet Banking, USSD and market them to businesses around to reduce cash transactions…

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COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 24th of February 2021, 655 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths were recorded in Nigeria



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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 153,842 confirmed cases.

On the 24th of February 2021, 655 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

To date, 153,842 cases have been confirmed, 130,818 cases have been discharged and 1,885 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.49 million tests have been carried out as of February 24th, 2021 compared to 1.44 million tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 24th February 2021,

  • Total Number of Cases – 153,842
  • Total Number Discharged – 130,818
  • Total Deaths – 1,885
  • Total Tests Carried out – 1,489,103

According to the NCDC, the 655 new cases are reported from 21 states- Lagos (240), Ogun (88), Rivers (56), FCT (51), Kaduna (43), Kano (25), Plateau (21), Taraba (19), Edo (17), Abia (15), Delta (13), Nasarawa (11), Akwa Ibom (10), Kwara (10), Oyo (10), Kebbi (9), Borno (5), Bayelsa (4), Gombe (4), Ekiti (2), and Osun (2).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 55,122, followed by Abuja (19,115), Plateau (8,854), Kaduna (8,422),  Oyo (6,708), Rivers (6,398), Edo (4,491), Ogun (4,277), Kano (3,716), Ondo (2,944), Kwara (2,875), Delta (2,539), Osun (2,326), Nasarawa (2,208), Gombe (2,031), Katsina (2,029), Enugu (1,998), Ebonyi (1,839), Anambra (1,615), and Abia (1,487).

Imo State has recorded 1,440 cases, Akwa Ibom (1,439), Borno (1,247), Bauchi (1,221), Benue (1,188), Niger (912), Ekiti (797), Sokoto (768), Bayelsa (767), Adamawa (762), Taraba (712), Jigawa (496), Kebbi (358), Yobe (268), Cross River (267), Zamfara (219), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.

Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.

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On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.



READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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Cornerstone Insurance Plc appoints Ogechi Adeola as Director

Dr Ogechi Adeola has been appointed as an Independent Non-Executive Director at Cornerstone Insurance Plc.



Cornerstone Insurance Plc has appointed Dr Ogechi Adeola as its new Independent Non-Executive Director, subject to ratification by members at general meeting.

This is according to a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange platform, dated 24th of February, 2021, as seen by Nairametrics.

Dr. Adeola’s profile

Dr. Adeola has over two decades of work and consulting experience in the Nigerian Financial services sectors. She is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Lagos Business School and an alumna of the Manchester Business School, United Kingdom.

On the other hand, Cornerstone Insurance closed trading today (24th of February, 2021) at the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a share price of N0.59.

Results from the recently released FY 2020 financials posted by the firm showed that gross premium written increased from N13.06 billion in 2019 to N17.6 billion. However, profit for the period declined to N1.6 billion, from N4.11 billion recorded in 2019.

What you should know:

Cornerstone Insurance Company Plc is a Nigerian-based insurance company offering services in the life and non-life categories.

It was incorporated on the 26th of July, 2021, initially as a private limited liability and subsequently became a public limited liability after its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1997.

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