The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN), yesterday extended the deadline for customers to enrol for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) by four months till October 31, 2015.
Director, Banking and Payments System Department, CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, announced the extension in a circular to the public.
The circular stated: “You would recall that as part of its effort in the implementation of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) project, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued circulars stipulating milestones for the successful completion of the project. One of such milestones was that by June 30, all Deposit Money Banks (DMB) customers should have the BVN. Any bank customer without the BVN attached to the account would be deemed to have inadequate requirement with respect to the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines.
“It has come to our notice that the BVN registration has elicited tremendous interest from the Nigerian banks’ customers who crowded the bank halls, in order to beat deadline. Furthermore, there is need to give Nigerian banks’ customers in diaspora, ample time to enrol on the programme. The guideline for their enrolment is being finalised and will be released soon.
“In view of the foregoing, it has become imperative for the bank to extend the timeline for all bank customers to have the BVN. The deadline for enrolment is hereby extended from June 30, 2015 to October 31, 2015. This extension is expected to facilitate a smooth completion of the registration exercise.”
The BVN was introduced by the CBN and was launched February 14 last year. It is the registration of customers in the financial system using biometric technology. The objective of the BVN initiative is to protect bank customers, reduce fraud and further strengthen the Nigerian banking system.
In order to beat the June 30 initial deadline banks customers had trooped to their branches to enrol for the BVN.
In Lagos, when Vanguard visited some banks in Lagos, it was discovered that there were huge turnout of bank customers for the exercise.
At Coconut branch of Guaranty Trust Bank, for instance, many customers turned out for the exercise as indicated by the long queue at the branch.
One of the bank’s customers who had spent at least two hours on the queue, Friday Awhotu, said with the number of people yet to register, it was unlikely that all customers would be enrolled before the 30 June deadline, unless there is an extension.
At Ibafon branch of Access Bank which Vanguard also visited, there was however low turn out of customers for the exercise.
Meanwhile, at the Union Bank branch in the same area, there was another crowd of customers on a long queue waiting to be enrolled.
One of the customers on the queue, Mr. Idoko Napoleon, told Vanguard: “I hope this exercise does not end tomorrow, because most people might not be able to enrol. More so, what shall become the fate of those who have travelled out of the country?”
In Abuja, a chaotic situation was recorded in premises of most banks in Abuja, yesterday, as hundreds of customers besieged their banks in a bid to beat the deadline for the BVN enrolment.
Also, customers that have more than one bank account were also seen with pieces of white papers where the banks where they had registered wrote their unique BVN numbers to take to other banks to key in.
In most banking halls including Zenith, UBA, Diamond, GTB, FirstBank, Union Bank, Ecobank in the Area 3, 7 and 8, Garki, Wuse and Kubwa, bank workers had difficulty controlling the crowd created by the BVN enrolment, as most customers expressed fears that they might not be able to access their monies after the expiration of the deadline, yesterday.