The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for enrolment of Bank Verification Number (BVN) to December 31, 2017 for Customers of Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).
A letter to OFIs, signed by Mrs Tokunbo Martins, CBN’s Director of OFIs, obtained from the bank’s website on Friday, stated that the extension followed appeals by CBN’s Financial Inclusion Secretariat, National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), members of the Mortgage Bankers’ Association of Nigeria (MBAN) and other stakeholders in the industry.
According to the apex bank, the initial deadline expired on July 31, but several OFIs were in breach of the directive which clearly warned that “customers without BVN linked to their bank accounts will not be allowed to make withdrawal from those accounts, as from August 1.”
However, the appeals from stakeholders soliciting for a shift in the deadline were to support better compliance and avoid further financial exclusion, especially as some OFIs are located in the rural areas and have customers that may not have enrolled with commercial banks.
“OFIs are therefore required to: ensure that all customers are enrolled on the BVN platform utilising appropriate KYV requirement; continue with the submission of progress reports on BVN enrolment on a monthly basis; continue with the display of notices in the banking hall to further sensitise customers on BVN among others channels and with effect from January 1, 2018, all customers without BVN linked to their account should no longer be entitled to debit operations,” the letter read in part.
The apex bank has equally promised to continue to monitor compliance with the requirements of this circular, adding that defaulters will be sanctioned.
The measure becomes necessary as the absence of a unique identifier in the banking industry is a major challenge inhibiting the effectiveness of the Know Your Customer (KYC), principle.
To address this challenge (absence of a unique identifier) and complement the existing means of identification of customers, which include driver’s licence; international passport; national identity card and the permanent voter’s card, the CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, launched the BVN project in February 2014.