By Sunday Ogundiran
About 36 Automated teller Machines (ATMs) representing 25.1 per cent out of 143 operated by 43 branches of 13 banks in Oshodi, Isolo and Ejigbo areas of Lagos State are currently inactive.
These ATMs are either blocked or not powered.
Investigations by Echonews, the community’s highest circulating newspaper, also revealed that out of 107 ATMs properly functioning,a few were not able to dispense cash most of the times but enabled other transactions such as account balance checking, money transfer and payment of bills.
The analysis by ECHONEWS through its survey of the automatic teller machines of banks within the communities showed that Access Bank has the highest number of Automated Teller Machines (15), followed by Zenith, GTB and UBA Banks with (14) ATMs each while ECO Bank has 10.
Other banks maintaining ATMs are Sterling Bank (9), FCMB (9), First Bank (9),Fidelity Bank (6), Wema Bank (5), Heritage Bank (5),Polaris Bank (4) and Stanbic IBTC (2).
It was also discovered that Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) has the highest number of ATMs, 62 locate a the 16 branches of the banks operating within the community.
Isolo LCDA has 17 banks’ branches with total number of 37 ATMs while Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area (LGA) (Oshodi Community) has the least number of branches, just 10 in number. They are located along Bolade Oshodi, Mafoluku and Oyetayo Street, beside LG Secretariat with 37 ATMs.
ATM was introduced in 1987 by the defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria (SGBN) with a campaign, First Cash. They were installed for the bank by the National Cash Register, NCR.
The introduction of the innovation into the Nigerian banking system was to ease banking transaction and make the transaction round the clock.
Meanwhile, some bank customers who spoke with ECHONEWS expressed their grievances about the non-availability of the ATMs in some areas coupled with malfunctioning of some existing ones.
For instance, they complained that most of the times, they have to queue for long time before they could use ATM as one out of about four machines would be functioning.
According to them, there are some banks whose ATMs would suddenly stop functioning while customers were in the queue waiting for their turns.
A Fist Bank ATM user in Oshodi, Ibrahim Labayka said: “First Bank has not got it right. When you get to any of its branches, if there are five ATMs, hardly would two be functioning and that is why the bank’s ATM centres are always overcrowded.
“The bank has many customers but its technology is not upgraded to cater for its teeming customers. How would you have about five ATMs and just only one would be functioning? In this century, we have gone beyond this level in our banking system.”
Another customer of Polaris Bank told ECHONEWS that the ATMs at the bank’s branch at Ori-Oke Bus stop, Ejigbo sometimes failed to function.
“At times you will get to that bank thinking you will get money withdrawn from the ATM but none of the machines will be functioning. I had to trek to NNPC bus stop to be able to withdraw one day when I got stranded at Ori-Oke because I didn’t have any money on me.”
Mr. Bolaji, a Gas Plant Secretary who cashed money at the Zenith Bank Plc along Bolade, Oshodi said though there was seamless transaction on the bank’s ATMs, sometimes there might be network failure on the machines or the ATMs might not be able to dispense cash.
GTB and Access Banks were rated high by their customers in term of ATM transaction as they declared that the ATMs of the banks were always on standby.
Overall, the customers said most of the banks’ ATMs no longer retract ATM cards unlike before when the card would be seized by the machines and one needed to struggle before getting the cards back.
However, an official of First bank who preferred anonymity told ECHONEWS that aside from cash withdrawal and checking account balance, customers can also make deposit on some machines especially First Bank ATMs, adding that they could also open account on some machines.
A research on the effects of the ATM machines on the performance of banks by a university don, C.A. Jegede of the Department of Accounting & Finance Lagos State University, Ojo confrmed the positive impact of the dispensing device.
“The paper reveals that Automated Teller Machine is important and very effective, and its discussion is not whether it is desirable or not, but to determine how the emerging technologies can be better annexed and channeled to promote banking sector growth, more productivity, more trade, improve banking records keeping, greater modernization and better living standard among Nigerians.
The activities of banking industry has been able to rise up, thus, the advent of Automated Teller Machine has enable bank management and investors aware of some of the techniques being used by their foreign counterpart in achieving competitive advantage.”