Chairman of BCAN, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, told Vanguard yesterday that the association was meeting this week to, among other things, marshal out course of action to protect customers’ right to full and unrestricted access to their account, irrespective of their BVN status.
Several banks had sent out messages to their customers last week warning that access to their accounts would be barred unless they were BVN compliant by October 31.
Spokesman for Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Ibrahim Muazu, toldVanguard yesterday that denial of access to non-BVN compliant accounts had gone into force and the apex bank would not extend the deadline for compliance as it did last June, when the first deadline expired.
He explained that CBN was satisfied with the level of compliance achieved as at last week Monday, which showed about 20.8 million bank accounts registered as against about 52 million active bank accounts with the various banks.20.8m accounts registered
On the 32 million unregistered accounts, he explained that the apex bank believed that since most bank customers maintain multiple accounts, the linking of all the accounts would give an average of about 40 million captured in the BVN net, adding that “we are home and dry.”
He also noted that a move round the banks, during the last day of the week, showed there were no queues of customers on BVN lines in the banking halls, indicating, according to him, that most bank customers had complied.
However, Ogubunka, who was the immediate past chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, said BCAN was not opposed to BVN, but it would not allow the rights of its members to be abridged by any policy to the extent of denying any bank customer access to his or her account.
He also explained that many bank customers may have been unable to comply due to one reason or the other, adding that such should not automatically lock the customer out of his or her bank account.
BCAN faults CBN on 32m accounts claim
Ogubunka, though admitting that many people have more than one account, added that the figure of 32 million, over 60 percent, non-compliant account was too large to be attributed to multiple account holding.
“We have called an emergency meeting of BCAN executives to review the situation, among many other industry issues, affecting bank customers this week,” he stated.
CBN, in its last week’s statement, had downplayed the calculations that 32 million accounts had not been registered, but admitted that some customers were yet to link all their accounts to their BVN.
He said: “The point that needs to be stressed here is that it is not enough to just enrol for BVN. The process is duly concluded only when all accounts owned by a bank customer are linked to his or her BVN.
“From the foregoing, it becomes clear that the insinuation of about 32 million accounts holders yet to enrol was simply a misrepresentation that fails to take into consideration the multiple accounts holding habit of most Nigerians.”
The apex bank also declared that if anyone had not enrolled for BVN, it cannot be attributed to lack of facilities, but out of his/her individual volition and that by all indications, it can be safely said that the BVN exercise by the Bankers’ Committee in collaboration with CBN had proved rather successful.
The statement also disclosed that Nigerian banks’ customers in the Diaspora had taken advantage of more facilities provided for enrolment in more locations abroad.
CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, introduced the BVN on February 14, 2014. This initiative of the Bankers’ Committee is aimed at ensuring unique identity for all bank customers and other users of financial services in the country by the use of the customers’ biometrics as means of identification.