CBN Toughens Stand On BVN Violations 

Yemisi Izuora

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released a Revised Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) operations and Watch-List for the Nigerian Banking Industry, thereby rigidifying its stand on BVN violations.

According to the CBN, the framework enhances the effectiveness of customer due diligence and “know your customer” processes as part of the overall strategy for promoting a safe and efficient banking and payment system.

According to the circular signed by Musa Jimoh, CBN’s director, payments system department, the Watch-list is a database of customers identified by their BVNs, who have been involved in confirmed cases of breaches.

Under the new framework, breaches on the part of the customer could see the individual getting barred from entering a new relationship with any participant (banks).

Where a financial institution chooses to continue an existing business relationship with holders of an account/wallets on the watch-list, the account holder “shall be prohibited from all electronic channels such as but not limited to ATM, POS, Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, USSD including the issuance of third-party cheques”.

However, inflows may be allowed, provided these are from legitimate sources.

The framework further stipulates that a customer with watch-listed BVN shall not reference accounts, access, or guarantee credit facilities.

As defined by the framework, breaches on the customer’s part include; use of forged documents; forgery; compromise; complicity; as well as connivance.

Also included in the list of breaches are; duplicate enrolment, use of fictitious information, receipts of proceeds of deception, deception, receipts of fraudulent proceeds and any infractions on AML/CFT laws, and dishonest acts.

Others listed are; non-cooperation with efforts (as stipulated in the Regulation on Instant Interbank Electronic Funds Transfer) to reverse wrong credit; erroneous, multiple or duplicated payments or credits; as well as any infringement of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015.

Those who misuse identity and financial information, indulge in identity theft and breach of confidentiality will be punished in line with the new regulations.

The CBN will also sanction customers for falsification; concealment of relevant information; conspiracy; extortion; false representation; as well as any other fraudulent infraction.

Banks and other financial institutions involved in BVN operations were equally mandated by the CBN; to ensure all operating accounts/wallets were linked with the signatories’ BVNs within 24 hours of NIBSS making BVN available.

The instruction also noted that operators must “enroll all mobile money wallets (except Tier 1) subscribers on the BVN database; and link their wallets (except Tier 1) with their BVNs within 180 days of the issuance of this framework”.

“Ensure that BVN details of all signatories, directors, and beneficial owners; are linked to their respective non-individual accounts/wallets (except Tier 1). This is also mandatory for Non-resident Non-Nigerian Directors (NRNND) of corporate accounts,” the Bank said.

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