NIGERIA: Bank Verification Number to Commence in Lagos

Deposit money banks (DMBs) would commence the enrollment of customers on the Bank Verification Number (BVN) that was launched over two months ago in Lagos from May this year.
The BVN, a Banker’s Committee project is meant to address the safety of customers’ funds, avoid losses through compromise of personal identification numbers and other criminal activities in the industry.
The acting Head of Corporate Communication, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, who disclosed this, explained that BVN would revolutionise the banking system.
In addition, he said the scheme would initially commence in 1,000 bank branches in Lagos.
According to the central bank spokesperson, as at March 31st, the scheme which was launched on February 14, had been deployed to all the head offices of banks and “We said by April we would have started enrolling and that is ongoing. 42 of the 48 bank braches that we said we would roll out to in the pilot phase have been covered and we hope that within the next few days we would complete that.
“We also intend to enroll members of the public on the programme by the end of May. Just like we did with the cashless programme, you know people are not educated, and because it has to do with money, people may be reluctant to register.
“But what we intend to do is to start the public roll out in Lagos with 1,000 bank branches. Lagos has about 1,401 branches,” he explained.
Furthermore, Okoroafor pointed out that just like the cashless policy, the Bankers’ Committee would look at the challenges that would emanate from the exercise when it commences in Lagos, before extending it to other states in the country.
He said the scheme was introduced, considering the low literacy level in the country, which had hitherto discouraged a lot of people from being included in the financial system.
“We realised that so many people because they are not educated and can’t read and write are not able to come into the banking system.
“The bankers’ committee came up with the BVN solution to prevent identity, to check fraud and to enable those who can’t read and write to be included in the banking system,” Okoroafor said.
On his part, the Project Coordinator of the BVN, Mr. Oluwaseyi Adenmosun noted that one of the reasons why the Bankers’ Committee came up with the policy was to properly identify customers in the industry.
“Today, we do not know if the Seyi Ademosun that banks with First Bank is the same person as Oluseyi or Oluwaseyi Ademosun that banks with FCMB. So Seyi can have account in 10 banks, but the way he has been profiled in those banks would all be different.
“So as far as each bank is concerned, they are dealing with different persons. So there is nothing to show that the Seyi is the same person.
“So the bankers committee felt it was necessary given the state of fraud in the industry. So the BVN is something that would hold everything together. So, this project was identified to provide uniqueness.  It also helps us with accountability,” he explained.

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