The Chief Executive Officer of Arvofinance, Mr Ayotunde Bally, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to to simplify Bank Verification Number (BVN) registration and make it more accessible for people in rural areas.
Bally gave the advice in an interview with our reporter on Tuesday in Lagos.
He spoke on the background of the recent plans by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to freeze bank accounts without BVN or National Identity Number (NIN) by April 2024.
The apex bank’s initiative is to enhance financial inclusion and strengthen Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in the financial system.
Arvofinance is a fintech company that provides online loans to consumers without collateral and guarantors.
The CEO urged regulatory bodies to partner with post offices or private organisations that have a wide reach for a more inclusive and accessible approach to BVN registration.
He also proposed exploring digital solutions to streamline the registration process to make it more convenient.
“Closing all accounts without BVN is a big deal, causing two major headaches. Individuals without a registered BVN will face difficulty accessing their bank accounts, potentially causing financial inconvenience and disruptions in their daily lives.
“While pushing BVN registration isn’t a bad move to tackle fraud and to ensure the integrity of the financial system, the whole registration process of BVN registration is a hassle.
“So, why not make it easier by teaming up with post-offices or private organisations with wide reach in the rural areas and going digital?,’’ he said.
Bally also said that it was unfair to ask people to travel to cities for BVN registration, considering the current economic climate and high transportation costs.
“With the current economic climate and high transport costs, forcing people into cities for registration seems unfair.
“Before dropping the deadline, the government should put measures in place to sort these issues, and not disrupt the efforts for financial inclusion,’’ Bally said.
He expressed frustration with government priorities, adding that it prioritises its own interests over the well-being of its citizens.
He said, “sadly, our government tends to prioritise itself over the people it’s supposed to serve – classic move.’’
Meanwhile, Mr Chika Nwosu, Managing Director, Palmpay, a mobile financial services platform, supported the apex banks plan to freeze all bank accounts without a BVN OR NIN.
“Palmpay welcomes the CBN’s directive on all existing and new tiers 1,2, and 3 wallets having Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identification Number (NIN).
“We are committed to ensuring compliance and fostering a secure financial ecosystem.
“As a forward-thinking fintech platform, we believe that this measure will enhance the overall security of users’ wallets and the protection of users’ data while providing seamless financial services.
“Through various in-app activities, we have always encouraged our tier 1 users to link their accounts with their BVN or NIN. We are fully aligned to drive the new directive,’’ he said.
The CBN new plan means that any bank account holder that does not have a BVN or NIN by April 2024, will not be able to access his or her bank account to make withdrawals, deposits, or transfers.
The CBN has implemented this policy to improve financial inclusion and reduce the risk of financial fraud.
BVN and NIN are both unique identifiers that can be used to verify a person’s identity.
By requiring all bank account holders to have a BVN or NIN, the CBN hopes to make it more difficult for criminals to open fraudulent accounts and use them for illegal activities.