CBN to freeze bank accounts without BVN, NIN next year

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed that accounts without a bank verification number (BVN) or national identification number (NIN) will be restricted from March 1, 2024.

In a circular issued on Friday, December 1, the CBN said a “Post No Debit or Credit” will be placed on funded accounts without BVN or NIN on March 1, 2024.

The apex bank said it has also amended the regulatory framework for BVN operations and watch-list for the Nigerian banking industry to strengthen the know-your-customer (KYC) procedures in financial institutions.

“As part of its effort in promoting financial system stability, it becomes necessary to strengthen the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in financial institutions under the purview of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” it said.

“Accordingly, the CBN hereby issues an amendment to Section 1.5.3 of the Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) Operations and Watch-List for the Nigerian Banking Industry (The Guidelines).”

CBN said part of the amendment includes mandatory BVN and NIN for all tier-1 bank accounts and wallets for individuals.

Also, the apex bank said it remains mandatory for tiers two and three accounts and wallets for individual accounts to have BVN and NIN.

    According to the circular, the process for account opening would commence by “electronically retrieving BVN or NIN-related information from the NIBSS’ BVN or NIMC’s NIN databases and for same to become the primary information for onboarding of new customers”.

    The amendment also requires all existing customer accounts and wallets for individuals with validated BVN to be profiled in the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) industry customer account database (ICAD) immediately and within 24 hours of opening accounts and wallets.

    “Effective immediately, no new Tier 1 accounts and wallets should be opened without BVN or NIN,” CBN said.

    “For ALL existing Tier1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” until the new process is satisfied.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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