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Banks Fret as Clampdown on Accounts without BVN Draws Near



Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) operating in the country have started reaching out to their customers, asking them to come and complete the biometric registration process, as the deadline of the Federal High Court’s interim order obtained by the Federal Government to freeze all accounts – corporate and individual – without Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) approaches, according to Daily Times.


The development came as the Federal Government said that funds in 46 million bank accounts that have yet to be linked to BVN will likely be temporarily forfeited, just as no fewer than 15 million Nigerians living in the Diaspora with about N3 trillion have kicked against the action.


But banks have started sending text messages and electronic mails to customers without BVN as majority of customers affected by the development were mostly those with names mismatch, findings by our correspondent has revealed.


Also, customers, who have different names order across banks, were mostly affected, while the number of customers who had no BVN was very small compared to those who had complied with the directive.


But contrary to indications that was credited to a Chief Executive Officer of a commercial bank that he and his colleagues will be unable to obey the directive of the Federal Government to forfeit customers funds in accounts without the BVNs have been reaching out to their depositors reminding them of the need to enroll for the BVN exercise.


For instance, some banks SMS to their customers without BVN reads: “Dear Customers, Your Acct is *********.Kindly visits any of our branches to enroll for BVN or link your existing BVN via ATMs, website or the through the bank USSD code.”


But before now, indications have emerged that a CEO of one of the banks reportedly stated that the directive by the CBN is not feasible.


The CEO, who spoke under anonymity, said there are huge holes in the legitimacy of the order given by federal authorities.


According to the CEO, “What of a situation where somebody has died and the matter is in administration, what do you want the bank to do? To give government the money and face litigation? “What of Nigerians who are abroad and are still struggling to get their BVNs? What if we send the monies to government and we are sued by the customer(s)? “And the 14-day time frame is very short. Why the rush? Why not give a time frame, maybe till 2018 for people to get their BVNs?


Meanwhile, a source from another commercial bank, who was authorized to speak for the bank said: “Prior to this directive, we have been freezing the bank accounts of customers to enable them comply. The customers who are yet to do that are mostly those who have names mismatch problems. This will be resolved soon.”


Another tier 1 bank noted that its bank would comply with the CBN directive to freeze accounts and publish names if there was no contrary order within the stipulated period.


“We are already taking steps to communicate with customers who had yet to do so”, the source explained.


The Federal High court had ordered the banks to disclose the details of all such accounts, their owners and their proceeds in their affidavit of compliance deposed to by their chief compliance officers.


It also made an interim order directing the banks to freeze all the said accounts by stopping “ all outward payments, operations or transactions ”pending the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the balances in the accounts to the Federal Government.


The banks were also directed to disclose “any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any products. ”


Such investments to be disclosed by the banks as directed by the court include “fixed/ term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the accounts”.


The court also directed the CBN and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems “to validate the information contained in the affidavit of compliance/disclosure filed by the respective 19 banks” within seven days from the date of service of the orders on them.


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Keystone Bank, NIPOST Partner to Launch Agency Banking



Keystone Bank Limited has launched “KeyServ”(An Agency Banking proposition) to serve customers outside its conventional brick & mortar mode of banking.


The initiative, which is in partnership with Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and i-OneC (A FinTech Firm), is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Financial System Strategy (FSS2020) goals to increase financial inclusion uptake in Nigeria.


Mr. Obeahon Ohiwerei, group managing director/ chief executive officer, Keystone Bank Limited, said: “Enabling Financial Inclusion is our core area of focus and we have partnered with other industry players to deploy Digital Financial Solutions/ Platforms for improved access to finance; leveraging data to improve the product offerings, personalised & predictive customer service, and uncovering new customer segments”.


“The recent reports on adult Nigerians (according to EFInA) that are financially excluded is 40.1million (41.6% of 96.4million adults). To this end, we are partnering with NIPOST and i-OneC to offer financial inclusion services to un(der)banked Nigerians especially in the rural and less urban areas.

“Under this partnership, KeyServ (Keystone Agency Banking Services) offers services such as Account Opening, Bills Payment, Cash-In, Cash-Out, ATM Services, Fund Transfers, Balance Enquiries, ATM cash withdrawals, Mini Statements and a whole lot more.


“One landmark feature of KeyServ (Keystone Agency Banking Services) is that it offers affordable access to financial services than the traditional banking methods.”


Also, speaking at the launch, Yemi Odusanya, ED Corporate Banking & South, Keystone Bank, added : “With this scheme, customers, especially in the rural areas will enjoy unfettered access to banking services. As at today, we have about 106 approved agents across the country and already, the services are available at Sabongida-Ora (Evbiobe)-Edo State, Sabon Gari (Kano), Mirinjibi (Kaduna), Barnawa (Kaduna), Yaba (Lagos) and Ikoyi (Lagos)”

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Standard Chartered Launch African online Bank



Standard Chartered launched its first African online-only bank in Cote d’Ivoire yesterday, joining a wave of lenders seeking to use new technologies to reach customers in some of the world’s most under-served markets.

Long considered a backwater, Africa has emerged as the world’s No. 2 banking market in terms of both growth and profitability.

Yet there are just five branches per 100,000 adults, by far the lowest rate in the world.

To compete for customers, banks are increasingly taking advantage of Africa’s deepening mobile phone coverage.

Clients of Standard Chartered’s Ivorian bank will be able to open an account in less than 15 minutes and then use an app on their mobile devices to carry out all their banking activities.

“We have been steadily investing in expanding our footprint in Africa over the years, and this will continue to be a priority moving forward,” said Sunil Kaushal, Standard Chartered’s Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East.

“Digitising Africa remains at the heart of our business strategy for the region,” he said, adding that the British bank planned to roll out the model pioneered in Cote d’Ivoire in other African markets in the coming months.

Standard Chartered joins competitors including Lloyds , Kenyan lender CBA’s M-Shwari and Togo-based Ecobank that are focusing their growth strategies around digital banking.

The number of Africans with bank accounts grew from 170 million in 2012 to nearly 300 million last year, according to a study published by management consulting firm McKinsey and Company last month.

That figure is expected to rise to 450 million in the next five years.

McKinsey’s survey found that nearly 40 per cent of all African banking customers preferred digital channels for transactions and more than half of the middle and affluent client segments did.

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AfDB to Partner Nigeria in Power Sector Recovery Program



The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it will support Nigeria’s Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) in three areas.

It listed the areas as operational and technical intervention, governance issues and policy based support.

The bank disclosed this in Abuja on Friday in a statement signed by Mrs Fatimah Alkali, Senior Communications Officer in Nigeria Country Office.

AfDB said it had undertaken a mission to hold further discussions on Nigeria’s PSRP with several stakeholders.

The bank said that the mission was led by Mr Amadou Hott, the Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth.

It said meetings had been held with relevant ministries, departments and agencies to harmonise plans and areas of intervention.

The ministries and agencies include the Ministries of Finance, Power, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, World Bank and solar power developers.

The Bank said the programme was designed to promote energy access to rural communities through the expansion of the transmission grid, development of innovative financing products and provision of technical assistance to improve revenue generation by the distribution companies.

It said the goal of the mission was to identify opportunities for collaboration in the programme.

“The bank’s energy strategy identifies energy as crucial not only for the attainment of health and education outcomes, but for industrialisation, reducing the cost of doing business and for unlocking economic potential and creating jobs.

“In line with its high 5 development priorities, the Bank is committed to supporting Nigeria in the effective and efficient implementation of the country’s Power Sector Recovery Program,” the bank said.

The statement quoted the Bank’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, as saying that “Africa is simply tired of being in the dark.

“It is time to take decisive action and turn around this narrative: to light up and power Africa and accelerate the pace of economic transformation, unlock the potential of businesses and drive much needed industrialisation to create jobs” he said.

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