13th July, 2011
Following the planned introduction of N25,000 minimum account balance by the United Bank for Africa, some consumers have undertaken a viral campaign against the policy through facebook, blackberry, twitter and several other online social fora.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had reported recently that UBA had concluded plans to introduce a new policy that will peg the minimum account balance that most of its customers can leave in their account at N25,000.
Some consumers who spoke to Consumersâ€™ Advocate on the policy threatened that if the bank does not rescind it, they will have no option but close their accounts in the bank. They told our reporter that it was wrong for UBA to consider such a policy as most Nigerians cannot meet that requirements of the policy.
In what appeared to be a reaction to the wide condemnation that greeted the proposed introduction of the policy, authorities of the bank quickly shifted the implementation date from 1 July to September 2011.
Those who believe that the policy should not be introduced have, however, begun an online campaign against the UBA.
One of the messages currently being circulated through blackberry messengers and facebook reads â€œ Naija is a country where the minimum wage of N18,000 is still being debated by those criminals that govern us. To add insult to injury, UBA has the audacity to make their minimum deposit N25,000. Let us teach them the strength of the facebook, twitter and blackberry messenger. If you have an account with UBA, just transfer your money to a more responsible bank. let the management of UBA bank their own money and eat their words. Please spread this message to others and let the campaign begin.â€
Although no customers have so far complied with the message, the message has gone viral as most recipients of the message have continue to circulate it to others with the hope that the bank may reconsider its stand.
Meanwhile, the management of the bank has announced an alternative measure for customers who may not be able to meet the new demand of always having not less than N25,000 in their accounts.
UBAâ€™s Executive Director in charge of Corporate and International Banking, Mr Ifeatu Onejeme, hinted last week that the bank has introduced innovation called U-Mo to take care of the challenges that customers may face in meeting the bankâ€™s new minimum account balance.
According to the executive director, U-Mo is a mobile money that requires no-account, minimum balance, maintenance fee and transaction.
Explaining how the new account works, Onejeme said â€œ U-Mo is an instant account opened on your mobile with just your details and mobile number. U-Mo then allows you to do banking transactions with your mobile account anytime anywhere. To enrol, a customer needs to complete and submit the enrolment form at any agent location or UBA branch and log on to www.u-mo.net and register as a customer. the customer will recieve an sms with which he or she can download the U-Mo application through the link providedâ€.
He, however, stressed that salary/ension accounts whether savings or current, overdraft/facility linked current accounts, loan accounts, savings/current accounts linked to deposits/investments, para-military/military/ex-servicemen accounts, are exempted from the new minimum balance requirement.