CBN to freeze accounts without BVN, NIN 

Bank accounts without Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identity Number (NIN) will be frozen by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with effect from March next year.

This is part of sweeping amendments rolled out by the CBN to the regulatory framework for BVN operations and watch-list for the Nigerian banking industry.

These changes, impacting account holders across tiers, mark a significant shift in banking compliance and customer requirements.

The new directives announced by the CBN entail several changes. Individuals holding Tier-1 bank accounts and wallets are now mandated to possess BVN and/or National Identification Number (NIN).

Tier1 accounts are bank accounts that require minimal documentation, usually the mere presentation of a BVN and a means of identification before opening with a maximum withdrawal limit of N50,000 daily and a cumulative balance limit of N300,000.

The requirement for BVN and NIN remains applicable to individual accounts within Tiers 2 and 3.

The account opening process will now involve electronically retrieving BVN or NIN-related information from the NIBSS’ BVN or NIMC’s NIN databases. This data will serve as primary information for onboarding new customers.

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Existing individual customer accounts with validated BVNs will now be profiled in the NIBSS’ ICAD within 24 hours of account opening.

The implementation procedures are multifaceted. According to the CBN circular, opening new Tier-1 accounts and wallets without BVN or NIN is prohibited with immediate effect.

From March 1, 2024, funded accounts without BVN or NIN will face restrictions. Unfunded accounts will also be restricted until compliance. All BVN or NIN associated with accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.

The CBN has urged compliance officers to familiarise themselves with the Guidance Notes accompanying the circular as they apply to all institutions regulated by the CBN.

Furthermore, a comprehensive BVN and NIN audit is imminent, and sanctions will be imposed on identified breaches.

The revised protocols for onboarding new customers stipulates the prohibition of manual creation of customer profiles with subsequent BVN or NIN attachment and mandatory electronic authentication using BVN or NIN details for new customers.

Any inconsistencies, the CBN warned, will halt the onboarding process.

Banks are now required to profile customers’ accounts on NIBSS ICAD within 24 hours of generating an account number.

These amendments, the CBN said, are geared towards fortifying the integrity and security of the Nigerian banking system.

The apex bank noted that compliance with these directives is imperative for all regulated financial institutions to ensure seamless operations and avoid penalties.

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