2 months ago, I graduated from Lagos State University with a Honours in Accounting; an achievement that was only possible through the overwhelming support of my mother. It still feels like a dream having my Bachelor’s degree and looking back I recall that pivotal moment when everything changed.
I lost my dad in SS 3 and my mum had to struggle to put me through school. She was an uneducated woman who sold pepper at Idumota and whose painstaking efforts had sustained us through those trying times after my dad’s death. The death came as a shock and left us barely surviving. The loss was especially hard for my mum and I feared it might have broken her mentally. Contrary, she became this superwoman whose resolve was to see me succeed at all cost. She worked long hours; in the sun, in the rain and her dedication to make and save money for my university education.
That year, while my SSCE results were very good, my JAMB result was seized and it seemed the university dream was beyond me. I was very depressed but my mum was there to encourage me with words I have never forgotten “You see, sometimes life go push you, push you so te you go wan give up but remember na your choice to either give up or rise up stronger”. I forgave all those bad people at JAMB, took up a job as a waiter and started preparing for the next JAMB exam sitting while also saving for my university tuition.
One year later, JAMB was good, I was accepted to study Accounting at the University of Lagos and needed to pay my acceptance and other fees. I quickly rushed to the bank filled a withdrawal slip and presented it to the teller. Lo and behold, the teller returned the slip and replied that my balance was insufficient for the requested amount. I was stunned. I knew I had saved enough money in my account to cover this withdrawal but the teller insisted I did not have up to N40k and printed a breakdown of my account history to buttress this point. Only then did I realize there were so many bank charges that had been depleting my savings. I was really infuriated as I tried to reconcile my realities: a struggling youth trying to get admission being saddled with ridiculous bank charges. I consoled myself and withdrew the N37,000 left in my account, augmented it with additional funds from my super mum and proceeded to Zenith Bank to make the required payments.
While there I noticed differences from my own bank; the security was very courteous, the banking hall was very well-lit and ventilated with customers being attended to promptly. The teller was very pleasant and I soon found myself telling him how my bank has been chaffing me. He told me the Bank had an account for undergraduates called Aspire and I won’t have that problem if I was using such to manage my funds.
Two weeks later armed with my Admission letter, School ID card and a passport photograph I opened the most beneficial account any undergraduate could have. Throughout my stay in school, I received interests in my savings and it was as though the account was pushing me to spend less and less. This made me a better manager of my funds. I am now a graduate with no indebtedness and looking back, I realize the Aspire account wasn’t just a regular savings account, it was built with me and other millions of students out there in mind.
Thank you Aspire for helping me achieve my dreams.
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Senate Orders CBN To Suspend ATM Card Maintenance Charges, ATM’s To Dispense N40,000
The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to look into the suspension of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) maintenance and withdrawal charges by banks.
This was after a motion on “illicit and excessive charges by Nigerian banks in customers’ accounts” was raised by Senator Gbenga Ashafa during the plenary session on Wednesday.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion, saying: “The ATM charge is not the only charge we get from the bank, there are VAT charges and so on; this is unacceptable. We have the Customer Protection Agency in Nigeria, but they are not living up to expectations.”
The issue generated much debate on the floor of the Senate and after much deliberations, a few resolutions were made.
The Senate directed the committees on banking insurance and other financial institutions and finance to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate.
It also mandated the committees on banking, insurance and other financial institutions and finance to invite the CBN Governor to appear before the body in order to explain why the official charges as approved by the CBN are skewed in favour of the banking institutions as against the ordinary customers of the banks.
The lawmakers urged CBN to suspend the ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers accounts, just as they called on the CBN to instruct the commercial banks to configure their machines to extend to N40,000 per withdrawal, pending the outcome of the investigation by the committees.
The Consumer Protection Council was called upon to be up and doing in taking up the plight of ordinary Nigerians by looking into the various complaints of excess and unnecessary charges by Nigerian banks.
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