BY CAROLINE AMOSUN
The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued a 30-day ultimatum to all banks and other financial institutions to close accounts without Bank Verification Number
This includes Access, GTB, Zenith and others.
According to the CBN, the move is aimed at promoting more safe, reliable and efficient banking and payment systems, while also addressing the increasing incidence of fraud and enhancing public confidence in the Nigerian banking industry.
Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System indicates that 57.39 million customers’ accounts have been linked to their BVNs as of April 8, 2023.
This underscores the importance of the Know-Your-Customer and Customer-Due-Diligence principles in ensuring effective banking operations.
To implement this policy, the CBN directed banks to link customers’ BVN to related accounts/wallets (except Tier 1).
Banks are required to use the customer’s BVN generated after enrollment to link accounts/wallets to which the customer is a signatory, after validation.
The policy also requires that no new account/wallet shall be allowed to operate without BVN, except for inflows.
Any account/wallet without BVN shall be closed within 30 days.
The regulatory framework for BVN operations and watch-list for the Nigerian banking industry is expected to provide a guide for BVN operations and watch-list activities carried out by financial institutions in Nigeria.
It also states that the delinking of customers’ BVN from accounts/wallets involves removing the BVN of a signatory (except for Directors/Beneficial owners) that is linked to an account/wallet.
This move by the CBN is expected to improve the security and integrity of the Nigerian banking industry, and protect customers’ funds from fraud and other criminal activities.
It also aligns with the global trend towards more robust KYC and customer due diligence frameworks in the financial sector.