Why Bank Customers Should Keep Their Bank Teller

Why Bank Customers Should Keep Their Bank Teller

Why Bank Customers Should Keep Their Bank Teller? By Simeon Akala

Bank customers are often in haste to dispose off their bank receipt or teller after making payment or deposit in their respective Banks. For some, it is nothing more than a worthless paper after the completion of such transaction, in that they are probably sure of receiving bank alert thereafter. The interesting point is that, all days are not always thesame. Have you ask, what if the bank did not send any alert? What if they deny that I never at anytime made such payment or deposit. So what next is left for you as a Customer?
It is important you know that once you make payment to a bank, such bank is indebted to you, because of the fudiciary relationship that exist between both parties as creditor and debtor. In DIAMOND BANK LTD. V. UGOCHUKWU(2007) LPELR-8093(CA) it was held that:
“The relation in law between a banker and his customer is that of debtor and creditor, and so when a bank credits the current account of its customer with a certain sum, the bank becomes a debtor to the customer in that sum and conversely when a bank debits the current account of its customers with a certain sum, the customer becomes a debtor to the bank in that sum since the relationship between a banker and his customer is that of debtor and creditor, whichever party is the creditor is entitled to sue, if demand for payment was not complied with.”
This was further reinstated in FOLEY V. HILL(1848) 2 HL CAS. 28.Where the House of Lords held that the relationship was that of debtor and creditor. Lord Cottenham said:
“Money when paid into a bank ceases all together to be the money of the principal; it is then the money of the banker who is bound to return an equivalent by paying a similar sum to that deposited with him when he is asked for it. The money paid into the banker‟s is money known by the principal to be placed there for the purpose of under the control of the banker; it is then the banker‟s money, he is known to deal with it as his own, he makes what profit of it he can…the banker is not an agent or factor but he is a debtor.”
Lord Brougham further added in this case, that:
“The trade of a banker is to receive money, and use it as if it were his own, he becoming debtor to the person who has lent or deposited with him the money to use as his own.”
In addition, it is the duty of Banks as they are expected to exercise a high standard of care when dealing with their customer’s money. This was enunciated in the case of UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC V. MR. N.M. OKPARA CHIMAEZE (2014) LPELR-22699(SC), wherein the court held that; “…the appellant [bank] is a fiduciary to the respondent. It owes the respondent a duty to exercise a high standard of care in managing the respondent’s money.”
Admittedly, the stamp of banks on their teller is an acknowledgement of the money you paid to your account with them. In AEROFLOT SOVIET AIRLINES V. UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA LTD (1986) 3 NWLR (Pt. 27) 188,  Kayode Eso JSC( As he then was) inter alia said that:
“In the normal banking practice, stamping and initialling such entry in the teller constitute an acknowledgment by the Bank of the receipt of the sum from the customer.”
In conclusion, the reason for keeping bank teller is so sacrosanct because of it legal implication while you (creditor) decide to sue your bank (debtor) for not receiving alert for money deposited, not reflected in your account or when the bank refuse to make refund for the payment or deposit so made by you. It therefore means your bank teller is important for the purpose of evidence in court, the more reason you have to keep it safe.
In the case of HADYER TRADING MANUFACTURING LIMITED & ANOR V. TROPICAL COMMERCIAL BANK (2013) LPELR-20294(CA) the court per Abiru JCA observed that:
“A teller duly stamped with the Bank’s stamp and initialled constitutes prima facie proof of payment and a customer after producing such receipt need not go further to show what the Bank did with the payment so made.”
In view of the above, the case of AKWULE & ORS V. REGINAM (1963) All NLR 193, the Court held inter alia:
“The relationship between a banker and a customer is that of debtor and creditor in respect of the money deposited with the banker by the customer. This position becomes clearer when a customer asks for his money. If the amount is not paid, the customer can sue the bank…”
WRITTEN
BY SIMEON AKALA
500Level, Law Student,
Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma,
Edo State.
Contact: 08110468699

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