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CBN Classifies the Status of Accounts without BVN

Justin Anumiri



CBN has sent a circular to all the commercial banks in Nigeria clarifying the status of account with the biometrics verification number (BVN).

In a circular titled Classification on Account with BVN Related Issues, the apex bank has directed all commercial banks in the country to treat accounts with BVN as No Customer Initiated debit meaning that the account will be dormant until the BVN is attached to it.

The CBN in the circular signed by MR. Dipo Fatokun, the Director, Banking and Payments System Department also clarified other issues relating to the BVN. It observed in the circular that some banks’ customers were not able to have their BVN linked with their other accounts as a result of inconsistence in the data provided for the BVN and the data used for the creation of the accounts.

CBN allowed banks to correct such discrepancies insofar as the clients are able to provide relevant supporting document such as the right date of birth certificate. CBN also obliged banks to accept change of name of request owing to marriage insofar as such a request is supported with evidence of marriage such as marriage certificate or affidavit.

Misspelt names as stipulated in the circular should also be corrected by the banks. But customers requesting for correction of names are required to support their request with valid ID showing their correct name. Regarding change of name that is completely different, CBN has obliged banks to report this to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). The customer in question is also required to provide supporting documents.

According to the clarifications made by the apex bank in the circular, customers with multiple accounts linked to a BVN should have the same details in all their accounts.

The Apex banks also allowed customers that want to close their account to do so. Banks as directed by the CBN should issue a payment instrument on the account name that is not linked with a BVN. If the balance in the account exceeds the legally allowed amount, the apex bank wants the commercial banks to request for and obtain clearance from EFCC before closing the account and transferring the balance to another account electronically.

If a bank becomes suspicious of an account, the bank should let the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) know about it.

According to the instructions on the circular, the apex bank instructed the banks to maintain a 5 days working timeline for the resolution of BVN related complaints from the time the complaint is made.