Access Bank has said it will refund stamp duty deductions made from the account of its customers after being called out on social media.
Stamp duty deductions apply to all credit received into current and savings accounts in respect to electronic transfer and teller deposits of NGN 10,000 and above. The money is remitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The collection of the fee took effect in February but the bank delayed “inadvertently” its implementation until this week.
Access Bank said in an email it sent to customers on 23 June that it “will be required to process the accumulated charges” incurred between February 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020.
But many customers said they did not see the bank’s message and huge social media backlash ensued when Access Bank began making the deductions incurred since February.
Some customers said the deductions, even if legal, were outrageous and beyond what was necessary, with #AccessBankScam trending at number one spot in Nigeria as at the time of writing this report.
So, taking to their social media pages, they released a press statement to address the ruckus.
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The statement reads:
“Dear Esteemed Customer,
“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 in compliance with the mandate of the Finance Act, 2019 (Stamp Duty Act, Cap 8).
“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 charge 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 to all affected customers.
“Please send us a mail through [email protected] 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”