By Collins Nweze, The Nation -
The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has commenced payment to the first set of depositors whose funds were trapped in microfinance banks (MFBs) it shut down last September.
The verification and payment to the depositors started on January 17 to depositors of Adif Microfinance Bank, Birnin Kudu Microfinance Bank, Ezumuzo Microfinance Bank, Impact Microfinance Bank, Milestone Microfinance Bank and Trinity Microfinance Bank. However, verification and payment for customers of Integrated Microfinance Bank (IMFB) started on January 24 and is still ongoing.
Head, Communications and Public Affairs Unit of NDIC, Sule Birch, confirmed to The Nation that verification and payment of insured deposits have started.
The beneficiaries are already verifying their claims and getting the payment of their insured deposits at Intercontinental Bank branches approved by the NDIC for the exercise.
All depositors with less than N200, 000 will get full settlement while those with deposits exceeding N200, 000 can only get N200, 000 maximum payments. An official of the NDIC Help Desk told The Nation that depositors with more than N200, 000 could still get their remaining funds after liquidation when the banks’ assets are sold.
Broken chairs, tables, computers and documents scattered in different corners of the room are indications of a failed institution. These constitute some of the assets that NDIC will be disposing off in the future to settle those whose deposits exceed the maximum insured deposit of N200,000.
The NDIC says that to hasten the claim process, depositors are required to present their savings passbooks, withdrawal slip, cheque books, term deposit certificates, statement of accounts and other documents as proof of account ownership.
For those wishing to collect on behalf of individuals and corporate bodies, proper written authorisation and identification are required, but must be endorsed by signatories to the account.
On January 24, when verification started at IMFB, customers mainly from the Ladipo Market besieged the bank’s office struggling to gain entrance. Okey Nwankwo, who claimed to have deposited N350,000 in the bank, said he has been coming since Monday but was only able to gain entrance on Friday.
He regretted that only N200, 000 will be paid to him when the exercise is completed. “I will be losing N150, 000 when they finally clear me for payment. I am sad about it because I earned this money,” he said.
It was also frustrating for other customers that besieged the IMFB head office in Allen Avenue trying to verify their deposits and get paid. Kayode Ogunsanya, one of the depositors said he was dissatisfied with the stress and difficulties depositors are going through to reclaim their funds.
“Why can’t NDIC carry out these verifications through our accounts with the bank. We were not going through this process when we were making deposits,” he said.
When the correspondent visited IMFB Ladipo branch, NDIC officials were busy crosschecking information in depositors’ passbooks with the bank’s deposit register. Another NDIC official was also signing cheques for collection by cleared depositors.
Before the current exercise, NDIC had informed the public of its readiness to settle depositors in seven out of the 103 MFBs closed by the CBN last September. “NDIC in its capacity as the liquidator of the closed MFBs is pleased to announce that it has completed arrangements to commence payment to the depositors of the seven out of the 103 MFBs that were closed by the CBN on September 24, 2010,” it said in a statement.
NDIC said it had earlier, from December 6, 2010 paid depositors in 80 closed MFBs their insured deposits in their respective banks. The exercise lasted for between five to 10 days. Altogether, the first and second rounds of payments will ensure that depositors of 87 out of the 103 closed MFBs would have had the opportunity by the NDIC to file and collect their insured amounts.
Meanwhile, depositors of the remaining 19 MFBs will be paid their insured deposits as soon as the deposit records of the closed banks are made available to the NDIC. ” We urge the directors of the 19 MFBs to immediately contact us, and provide all records of their banks to enable the corporation discharge its duties to the depositors and other creditors of the failed bank failing which necessary legal action will be taken against them,” NDIC said in a statement.