Nigeria: Banks to deactivate unregistered accounts

BVN*As BVN deadline expires Friday

31 October 2015, Lagos – Bank customers that are unable to obtain their bank verification numbers (BVNs) before the close of business this Friday would not be able to operate such accounts as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ruled out another extension of the deadline, which expires this Friday.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee had introduced the BVN on February 14, 2014. The initiative was aimed at ensuring unique identity for all bank customers and other users of financial services in the country by the use of the customers’ biometrics as means of identification.

At the expiration of the initial estimated 18 months after the launch, a good number of bank customers were reluctant in registering, which led to commotion and stampede in banking halls across the country towards the end of the previous deadline. That confusion necessitated the call for the extension of the registration dateline by four months to October 31.

Data from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), showed that 20,833,635 bank customers had enrolled as at October 25, 2015.

“Given the tradition of multiple accounts holding by an average Nigerian, which could be conservatively estimated at about two or three per an account holder, therefore, it could be safely assumed that over 40 million accounts might have been enrolled to BVN,” the central bank explained on Thursday

Furthermore, some Nigerian banks’ customers in the diaspora have taken advantage of more facilities provided for enrollment in more locations abroad.

“It is evident that there has been less pressure in banking halls across the country which goes to buttress the fact that a greater percentage of account holders have been enrolled with the exception of those yet to link their accounts to their BVN,” the CBN added.

The Deputy Director, Consumer Protection Department at the CBN, Mrs. Khadija Kasim, also urged those yet to be captured to do so before the deadline expires.

“The initial deadline was June 30th before we extended it to end of October. By now we expect all Nigerians to go before the expiration date and get their bank verification number. Please Nigerians, come out and ensure that you are registered for the exercise,” she appealed.
*Obinna Chima – Thisday

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