As part of ongoing efforts to protect depositors fund and ensuring a fraud-free financial system, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed plans to extend Bank Verification Number (BVN) registration project to customers of Other Financial Institutions (OFIS) operating in the country.
The OFIs include financial institutions such as; Microfinance Banks (MfBs), Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs), among many others.
CBN Director, Banking and Payment Systems Department, ‘DipoFatokun, who made this disclosure at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) Bi-Monthly Forum hosted by the apex bank in Lagos, recently, said the OFIS operators are already angling to have their customers included in the BVN project.
Speaking on the theme, “Recent Developments in the Electronic Payments System and Implications for Consumers of Electronic Payment Services”, Fatokun said the operators of the institutions were already working toward having their customers included in the BVN project.
He said the CBN is considering having the OFIS customers enroll through deposit money banks, because of the high cost of procuring the machines.
According to him, “We are considering using commercial banks as registration points for the OFIS customers. We also expected that many of the OFIS customers, who already have their `BVNs, will supply the data to their banks, while others without BVN will register afresh.”
The apex bank director explained that the BVN project is being coordinated by CBN, commercial banks and Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) has helped to reduce the number of bank frauds in the banking industry.
He pointed out that before the emergence of the BVN, identifications previously used in the banking industry were not foolproof, with fraudsters easily go unidentified, adding that BVN has now made it easier for the CBN and banks to uniquely identify every customer or to be able to trace transactions when frauds are committed.
He further explained that no bank customer, including Nigerian bank customers in Diaspora, is authorised to have more than one BVN.
His words: “I want to assure you that the BVN has assisted us a lot in the banking system. It has assisted us to check frauds, and we are working on a framework, that will enable us if not to blacklist customers, because of some legal implications, but at least to watch-list a customer that is identified to have been fraudulent, or have done what he is not supposed to do across the banking sector.”
Fatokun noted that the number of BVN linked to customers’ accounts as at August 23, this year was 36.7 million while the total number of individual customers in the banks was reported as 59.9 million as at the same date.
“Any bank customer resident in Nigeria without a BVN would be deemed to have inadequate KYC while effort is on-going to ensure that customers of Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) such as Microfinance Banks (MFBs) and Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs) are brought into the system begin to get their BVNs,” he said.
Fatokun said the e-Payment remains an initiative of CBN under the Payments System Vision 2020 as part of the overall FSS 2020 Strategy adding that one of the CBN mandates is the promotion of a sound financial system (Section 2 (d) of the CBN Act 2007).