Access Bank Plc said it will no longer be going forward with its earlier decision to collect accrued stamp duty charges (for February through to April) from its customers. This followed a serious social media backlash against the tier-1 bank this weekend, as customers expressed their utter dissatisfaction over the debits.
In a statement issued on Twitter, Access Bank explained the decision to cancel the stamp duty collection was because it cared about its customers. The bank, however, maintained that the earlier decision to withdraw the accrued charges was legal.
In the meantime, Access Bank said it will go ahead and bear the cost of the stamp duty (for February through to April 2020 alone) on behalf of its customers. Note that stamp duty charges on bank customers’ transactions are usually collected by the banks on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Part of the statement by Access Bank said:
“Stamp duty charge collection is in compliance with the mandate of the ‘Finance Act, 2019 (Stamp Duty Act, Cap S8). We are required by law to apply this charge as applicable and remit all funds to the Federal Government.
“However, we have heard our customers’ feedback that this charge is unwelcome, especially at this time against a challenging economic backdrop. We have considered your feedback and have decided to pay the stamp duty on our customers’ behalf for the affected period only. This means all individual and SMEs who were debited for the accumulated stamp duty charge for February to April 2020, will be refunded.”
— Access Bank Plc (@myaccessbank) June 28, 2020
To this end, Access Bank said it hopes the decision to refund all those who were debited would go a long way towards making them feel better.
Recall that Nairametrics reported last week about Access Bank informing its customers ahead of the stamp duty debits this weekend. An email sent by the tier-1 bank to its customers, as seen by Nairametrics, had explained that the accrued charges were not debited between February and April when they were supposed to, due to an omission on the part of Access Bank. The bank had, therefore, apologised to the customers for the inconvenience. But apparently, many customers claim they did not receive this notification, hence the backlash.
Investigation by Nairametrics reveal some of the banks customers have started receiving credit alerts on the phones. In a reversal seen by Nairametrics, the account holder was credited N100 at 20.31pm with a description “REFUND OF STAMP DUTY” included in the alert.