CBN Gives Deadline to Close Millions of Bank Accounts in GTB, Access, Zenith, First Bank, and Others- See Reasons below.
As part of its efforts to promote safer, more reliable, and efficient banking and payment systems, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has implemented a new directive. Nigerian banks have been given a 30-day ultimatum to close bank accounts that are not linked to a Bank Verification Number (BVN).
The regulatory framework, issued by the CBN, emphasizes the importance of BVN in enhancing the security and integrity of the banking system. BVN serves as a unique identifier for customers and helps in verifying their identities, reducing fraud, and improving the overall efficiency of banking operations.
According to data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), as of April 8, a total of 57.39 million customers’ accounts have been successfully linked to their BVNs. However, there are still over 190 million bank accounts that need to be associated with BVNs.
The CBN’s ultimatum signifies the urgency to complete the BVN linkage process for all bank accounts. This move aims to ensure a more robust and secure banking system while enhancing customer protection and trust.
Under the policy implementation plan, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has outlined the process for closing accounts that are not linked to Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs).
According to reports from The Nation, the CBN has instructed banks to link customers’ BVNs to their related accounts and wallets, with the exception of Tier 1 accounts. This linkage involves using the BVN generated during the customer’s enrollment to connect the accounts or wallets for which they are signatories, following a validation process.
The framework specifies that “no new account or wallet shall be allowed to operate without BVN (except inflows).” However, any account or wallet that does not have a BVN will be closed within 30 days.
Furthermore, the CBN has stated that the delinking of BVNs from accounts or wallets will require the approval of the Chief Audit Executive of the customer’s bank. Delinking refers to the removal of the BVN of a signatory (excluding Directors/Beneficial owners) from an account or wallet.
The CBN clarifies that this delinking process is applicable to corporate or joint accounts and applies to activities not associated with breaches. Returns on delinked accounts or wallets (except Tier 1) are to be submitted monthly to the Director of the Payments System Management Department. In cases where there is no linked account, a nil report should be submitted.
Additionally, the CBN emphasizes that fraud management is an important aspect of using BVN to deter, prevent, detect, and mitigate the risks of fraud within the banking industry.
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