The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has vowed to close several accounts in order to enforce the banking industry’s determination to protect customers’ bank accounts.
According to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc, all accounts being operated without Bank Verification Number (BVN) would be closed down.
This is as CBN noted that the total number of issued BVNs rose to 57.96 million as of July 3, 2023
NIBSS observed in the latest report the increasing incidents of compromise on conventional security systems (password and PIN). It warned that the development had increased the demand for greater security for access to sensitive or personal information in the banking system.
It stated that in recent times, biometric technologies have been used to analyze human characteristics as an enhanced form of authentication for real-time security processes.
It stated that BVN gave a unique identity that could be verified across the Nigerian banking industry and ensured that customers’ bank accounts were protected from unauthorized access.
“It will address issues of identity theft, thus reducing exposure to fraud. The BVN will enhance the banking industry’s chances of being able to fish out blacklisted customers. Adding that the BVN is an acceptable means of identification across all Nigerian Banks”.
According to the apex bank, BVN is part of its overall strategy of ensuring the effectiveness of the Know Your Customer principles and the promotion of a safe, reliable, and efficient payment system.
Recently, the CBN, through its Director, Risk Management Department, and Chief Risk Officer, Blaise Ijebor, noted that the CBN was working to remove accounts not linked to BVNs from the financial system.
According to him, this was to clean up the sector and reduce the growing incidence of fraud.
Recently, the CBN said that it had placed 6,047 BVNs of bank customers under a watch list for fraudulent transactions. It stated that the number of BVN-linked accounts was 130.57 million out of 148.46 million active accounts.
It disclosed this in the CBN Financial Stability June 2022 report published in December 2022. “The number of accounts linked with BVNs was 130,569,656 out of 148,462,947 active customer accounts, while the number of watch-listed BVNs associated with fraud and deceased persons stood at 6,047 and 11,871, respectively”.