Nigerian banks including Access Bank, First Bank, and GTBank have started blocking accounts of customers involved in crypto transactions.
Many sources are reporting that the action comes barely five days after the Central Bank directed banks and other financial institutions to deactivate accounts used for the selling and buying of cryptocurrencies in the country.
On Thursday, TechCabal reported that Access Bank, First Bank, and GTBank have started shutting down accounts of customers who trade cryptocurrencies and other related transactions.
TechCabal quoted James Chijindu as saying that he only noticed Access and GTBank blocked his account when he could not transact with his credit cards, adding that his First Bank account was also not responsive.
According to the publication, there was no prior notice given to Mr. Chijindu by either of the banks but GTB told him that his account was blocked based on ‘a federal government directive’ to commercial banks to stop facilitating cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria.
Access bank said it reviewed the customer’s account activities and “observed that transactions therein have been linked to cryptocurrency trading.”
In an email to Chijindu, TechCabal quoted Access bank to have stated that “Due to the unregulated nature of cryptocurrency trading and the further directive from the CBN, we are unable to serve as your organisation’s financial partner going forward. We have therefore proceeded on the closure of your account and a draft will be issued to you for the equivalent sum in your account.”
@Dumbgenius_ng, a Twitter user, also tweeted complaining of a similar shutdown by UBA.
“So I heard @gtbank have started closing accounts of people that have bought crypto with their GTB accounts before. A friend just confirmed the same with @UBAGroup ….. Anyways, until I am sure of whatever that is going on,” he wrote.
UBA, Access Bank, First Bank, and GTBank could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.