By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The management of Access Bank Plc has finally bowed to pressure, announcing that it would refund the money removed from customers’ accounts for stamp duty charges for three months.
The tier-one lender had informed its millions of customers that it would deduct from their accounts stamp duty fees for February, March and April 2020.
The reason for this, according to the financial institution, was because it did not charge its customers for the months as required by law.
At the weekend, the social media, especially Twitter, was virtually on fire as customers of the bank complained bitterly how their accounts were drained by Access Bank in the name of the stamp duty.
Banks in the country are expected to charge their customers N50 for online transfer of funds. The fee is collected and remitted to the federal government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Following the calling out of Access Bank on social media and threats of customers closing their accounts with the bank as well as plans to stage protests across its branches nationwide from Monday, the management has said the deductions would be reversed.
The financial institution said it would pay the stamp duty from its purse for the three months in contention.
“Earlier this week, we informed all our customers that we had inadvertently not charged stamp duty on some accounts from February to April 2020 as mandated by the federal government.
“Stamp duty charge collection is on compliance with the mandate of the Finance Act, 2019 (Stamp Duty Act, Cap 58). We are required by law to apply this charge as applicable and remit all funds collected 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 for February to April 2020, will be refunded.
“While we still have to remit these funds via the CBN to the federal government, we realise that we got it wrong by debiting our customers late, and we are refunding the affected stamp duty charge today (Sunday) to all affected customers.
“Please send us a mail through email@example.com if you have any further enquiries regarding the stamp duty charge.
“We hope this gesture goes some way to make this better and we would like to thank all our customers who reached out to us to share their views,” Access Bank said in the statement.
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