Bank customers, who are yet to obtain their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and are hoping that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would extend the October 31 fresh deadline set for the conclusion of the exercise, had better listen to this: the apex bank does not intend to shift the deadline again.
So with less than two months to the expiration of the deadline, the advice from the regulator for bank customers that are yet to enroll on the BVN platform, is that they should endeavour to obtain their BVNs otherwise they would discover that they may not be able to deposit into or make withdrawals from their accounts.
The CBN Deputy Director, Banking and Payments System Department, Mr. Musa Jimoh, stated these at an interactive session with journalists in Lagos recently.
He explained that the BVN initiative brings such critical benefits to the financial sector that the CBN was eager to finally see it commence and thus would no longer extend the registration period for the exercise.
He emphasised that there would be no hiding place for people who use multiple identities to perpetrate fraud in the industry after October 31, 2015 when all bank customers are expected to have their BVN.
Mr Jimoh said, “With BVN, there would be no hiding place for those people who want to commit fraud. When the cut-off (deadline) comes, any person who has no BVN would discover that they would not be able to deposit into or make withdrawals from their accounts. It would also no longer be possible then for delinquent debtors to continue piling up bad debts in several banks using different identities. This is because after October 31 every bank customer is expected to have a BVN and with it any customer that refuses to repay his debts to a particular bank would not be able to use a different name to open a new account without another bank.”
Besides, he said that with the BVN project, the industry would find it a lot easier determining the actual number of bank customers in the country.
He said, “There are various estimates of the total number of bank customers in the country. But some people have two or three accounts. However, with the BVN, we will be able to know how many bank customers we have in the industry.”
He said that the number of bank customers that had so far enrolled on the BVN platform had risen to 19 million.
It would be recalled that the CBN had extended the initial June 30, 2015 deadline for the BVN registration by four months to October 31, 2015 after most customers failed to beat the initial deadline to register for the exercise. Indeed, 72 hours to the expiration of that deadline, bank branches across the country were overwhelmed by the large number of customers who had waited until the last minute to get registered.
The CBN had explained that the deadline had to be extended to give bank customers more time to participate in the enrollment exercise. Interestingly, the CBN also stated that the extension would allow it to issue new guidelines for BVN registration of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
The BVN, which is an initiative of the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee, was launched on February 14, 2014. It is a unique identifier for each bank customer across the financial industry, making it possible to build and track customer financial history and activity. This will allow banks access more reliable information that could inform decisions on customer loan and credit applications and other complex transactions.