Access Bank has made a U-turn in its decision to debit some accounts with stamp duty charges accumulated from February to April 2020.
The bank had, in error, failed to debit its costumer with the charge for three months in line with the mandate of the ‘Finance Act. 2019 (Stamp Duty Act. Cap 58).
Faced with an impending heavy financial loss, the bank decided to deduct the accumulated duty last we.
This was, however greeted with public outcry, prompting the bank to release a statement promising reverse the debits and decided, instead, to pay the said amount on behalf of the customers.
The bank’s statement reads:
“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 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 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.
“We hope this gesture goes some way to make thls better and we would like to thank all our customers who reached out to us to share their views.”
“It is not an illegal charge. The only thing on our part is that we did not do it like other banks, because ordinarily when you do a transaction we just charge you immediately but in our own case we push it till the end of the month.”