Over N838.82 billion of depositors funds in Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) and 12 others were debited by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN withdrew the funds from 15 banks as its Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), which is the minimum depositors’ funds banks are mandated to hold by the central bank. Nigeria’s CRR is 32.5 per cent of the total customers’ deposits.
Other banks also debited, according to a Nairametrics report, are Keystone, Heritage, FBN Mortgage, Fidelity, Union, Titan, Suntrust Bank, Access, United Bank for Africa (UBA), FCMB, Polaris, Nova, as well as Unity Bank.
It was gathered that Zenith Bank received the highest debit of N270 billion, Access Bank came next with N205 billion, UBA was deducted of N133.7 billion, FCMB was debited N90 billion.
First Bank was deducted N33 billion, CBN took N28.7 billion from Union Bank, Keystone Bank was debited N13.8 billion, Titan Bank N11.6 billion, Polaris Bank N10 billion, Nova N5.5 billion, Unity Bank N1 billion, Heritage Bank N470 million.
Also, FBN Microfinance Bank parted with N460 million, and Suntrust Bank was debited N92 million. The deduction by CBN is a way the financial regulator mops capital from circulation in the Nigerian economy.
This will help the central bank to curb the soaring inflation which has raised the cost of living within Nigeria.
CBN to Close Millions of Bank Accounts in Access, UBA, Zenith, First Bank, and Others
- CBN plans to close bank accounts without BVN to clean up the sector and reduce fraud
- BVN is a unique identifier capturing biometric data used to verify customer identities and prevent fraud
- There are 24 commercial banks operating in Nigeria including Access, UBA, Zenith, and other financial institutions that require BVN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to close millions of bank accounts across various financial institutions that are not linked to a Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Blaise Ijebor, the CBN director of the Risk Management Department and Chief Risk Officer, who disclosed the plan at the Prembly Compliance Breakfast Dialogue on Thursday April 6, said the objective is to clean up the sector and reduce the growing incidence of fraud.
He added that the financial regulator was looking at commencing the exercise soon but did not give an indication of when the CBN would begin the clean up.
Why is CBN closing bank accounts without BVN
As of April 2, 2023, Banktransfer.com.ng’s analysis of the NIBSS website indicated that there were only 57.01 million registered BVN numbers out of the total 191.4 million bank accounts in the country, with 133.5 million active.
CBN’s Ijebor further detailed the importance of closing bank accounts without BVN and highlighted three areas where cybercriminals are exploiting vulnerabilities.
The first is the Tier-1 account, which allows customers to open an account with minimal documentation and is mostly targeted at the unbanked and rural population.
He said: “This account is dominated by digital banks or fintech firms, and often lacks BVN linkage, which makes it an easy entry point for hackers.”
“Secondly, some banks, especially digital ones, may not meet regulatory requirements, creating a second loophole for fraudulent activity.
“Lastly, hackers can exploit any vulnerability to gain access to bank accounts.” Ijebor mentioned that apex bank was working on improving agency banking and enabling agents to register BVN, which will help move Tier-1 accounts to Tier-2.