First Bank Withholds Dead Customer’s Balance Over Strange Loan

A civil servant living in Iwo, Osun State, has shared how First Bank refused to release the money in her late husband’s account.

The civil servant, who does not want to be named, told FIJ that the state government under former governor Rauf Aregbesola owed workers, including her late husband, three years’ half salaries. In 2023, Ademola Adeleke, the current governor, began paying part of the backlog of unpaid salaries.

FIJ learned that when the widow tried to access the money at First Bank, where her husband’s account was domiciled, the bank told her that the money had been written off for a purported unpaid loan, and that she could not withdraw it.

This revelation was surprising because, according to the woman, her husband did not take any loans. Also, when she first went to the bank to confirm the payment in September 2023, the bank official who verified it didn’t mention any unpaid loan.

She noted that even after her husband’s passing in 2020, she still carried out some transactions on the account until the debit card issued to the deceased expired.

“After I learned that the government had started paying part of the unpaid salaries, I went to his bank in Iwo in September 2023. An official told me that about N108,000 had been paid into my husband’s account. However, I could not access it because it was not my account,” she told FIJ.

“Then I made inquiries from my colleagues, and I gathered that I would have to notify the state government, who would then reach out to the bank so the money could be released to me.”

The deceased man’s wife told FIJ that she secured a letter of administration, dated November 23, 2023, from the state government through the state’s ministry of justice.

“I took the letter to First Bank in Iwo. I also wrote a letter of reactivation of the account, but I still could not access the money. I went to the bank again sometime in February 2024, and an official claimed the account had been written off due to loan balances. But I know my husband had no unpaid loan.

“When I asked them to provide his account statement, the official said I wouldn’t be able to get it. But he said he would email the headquarters about the whole issue.”

In response to FIJ’s email sent in March, Thaddeus Ozioko, an official from First Bank, wrote: “In consideration of the sensitive nature of your request, we regret to inform you that we are unable to provide assistance through this channel. Kindly note that your request will need to be addressed in person at one of our branches.”

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