CBN May Shut Down 3 Million Bank Accounts in Access, Zenith, Others Over NIN/BVN, Details Emerge

CBN May Shut Down 3 Million Bank Accounts in Access, Zenith, Others Over NIN/BVN, Details Emerge

  • The deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria to bank account holders to revalidate their NINs or BNVs is near
  • The bank said in a circular to commercial, non-interest, and other financial institutions to electronically revalidate BVNs/NINs attached to accounts
  • The circular gave January 31, 2024 as the deadline for the banks to relink the bank accounts or be shut down

Pascal Oparada has over a decade of experience covering Tech, Energy, Stocks, Investments, and Economy.

About three million bank accounts may be blocked as the deadline for all bank accounts to have a Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identity Number (NIN) draws close.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on December 1, 2023, issued a circular to all commercial, merchant, non-interest, payment service banks, financial institutions, and mobile money operators, asking that the BVN or NIN attached to and associated with all accounts and wallets be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.

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CBN, Cardoso, BVN, NIN
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso Credit: CBN
Source: UGC

CBN to block bank accounts without NIN/BVN

BusinessDay reports that the CBN directive said that from March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets without BVN or NIN should be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit,’ and no further transactions would be carried out on those accounts.

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A report by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access says that 52% of unbanked adults have NINs, and five percent of banked adults are without BVN or NIN.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that the total number of bank accounts in Nigeria as of 2021 was about 19.4 million, out of which 133.5 million were active.

The NBS data showed that the banking industry recorded a 59.96 million BVN count as of December 18, 2023.

A month after Apex Bank issued the circular, some customers said they had yet to link or revalidate their BVN or NIN as per the CBN order.

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The CBN directive might set off another rush to the banks as customers make last-minute plans to update their bank accounts.

CBN's measure meant to sanitise the financial system

According to Lois Franklin, a banker and economist, the banks are frantically preparing for the impending rush.

She urged customers to enter the banking halls early to revalidate their valid identities.

“Essentially, what the CBN is trying to do is not just to control money laundering but have some authentic database reliable enough to hinge future financial planning on.
It is not another exercise to cause panic or make people suffer unnecessarily. So, we advise people to come to the banks early to avoid the rush, which might lead to errors in some accounts,” she said.

Nigerians react as CBN introduces changes to savings, current accounts reported that Nigerians on social media have expressed mixed feelings about the directives by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mandating bank account holders to link their accounts to Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) and National Identity Numbers (NINs) for all bank transactions beginning March next year.

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The apex bank, in a circular signed by its director of Payment System Management Department, Chibuzo Efomi, and the director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, outlined the implementation of the new policy.

The CBN directed banks that, effective immediately, new Tier 1 accounts or wallets can only be opened with BVN or NIN.


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