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CBN Freezes Unfunded Accounts, To Freeze Bank Accounts Not Linked With BVN, NIN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered the immediate freezing of any unfunded account/wallet and issued a deadline for banks to put “Post No Debit or Credit” restriction on bank accounts that are not linked with Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identification Number (NIN) from April 2024.

The deadline to freeze unfunded bank accounts and accounts not linked with BVN or NIN was contained in a Friday circular by the apex bank which instructed banks to place a “Post no Debit” restriction – which prevents customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or any other debits “for all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN”.

Freezing unfounded accounts and wallets, the apex bank in the circular ordered that “Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.”

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Setting deadline for freezing unlink accounts, the CBN ordered that “Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ and no further transactions permitted.”

The circular was issued by the CBN Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha.

The CBN also ordered that all BVN or NIN attached to accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.

According to the apex bank, a BVN or NIN verification will be “conducted shortly”, adding that the move is part of its efforts to promote financial system stability and strengthening of the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in financial institutions.

The bank will also carry out a “comprehensive BVN and NIN audit shortly”, saying that where breaches are identified, appropriate sanctions shall be applied.

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“The process for account opening shall commence by electronically retrieving BVN or NIN-related information from the NIBSS’ BVN or NIMC’s NIN databases and for same to become the primary information for onboarding of new customers, and all existing customer accounts/wallets for individuals with validated BVN shall be profiled in the NIBSS’ ICAD immediately and within 24hrs of opening accounts/wallets,” the CBN added.

In cases where a potential customer does not have a BVN or NIN, the CBN advised the regulated financial institution to “commence the process of enrolling the individual onto the BVN database and be guided by the extant protocols issued by NIBSS”.

NIBSS is the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc.