Wednesday, 4 November 2015

BVN: Customers in last minute rush for BVN registration as queues grow longer

Long queues of bank customers seeking to register and validate their Bank Verification Numbers persisted in banking halls across the country on Wednesday, with bank officials struggling to control the crowds. Bank branches in Isolo, Oshodi, Ikeja, Yaba and Bariga areas of Lagos showed that more customers had yet to obtain and validate their BVNs. Similar situations were reported in other parts of the country. The Deposit Money Banks had on October 31 blocked the accounts of customers who had yet to obtain and validate their BVNs. at least five million bank accounts had been blocked by the DMBs due to the failure of their owners to obtain the BVN. The Nigerian Interbank Settlement System Plc, owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the DMBs, which is the appointed technical organization in charge of the BVN project, had said on Tuesday that the banks had not linked 6.6 million BVNs to bank accounts. The figure excludes bank customers who have not registered and have not been issued the BVN.

Although Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and other banks have said they will commence weekend banking to allow for more customers to register, it is uncertain if the crowd of customers who are yet to complete the BVN registration process will reduce in banking halls over the next two weeks. The CBN has said that it has directed the DMBs not to allow customers without the BVN to make cash withdrawals or transfer money from their bank accounts. Some customers told our correspondent on Wednesday that the situation in the banking halls was unbearable. They said bank officials needed to come up with other means of registration and validation of the BVN in order to reduce the crowd in the banking halls. Some banks have said customers could validate their BVNs on their websites or on Automated Teller Machines, while the NIBSS has also said customers can do on its website. However, millions of bank accounts remain blocked by the DMBs. The NIBSS said 21 million customers had obtained the BVNs out of a total of 45 million active bank accounts, but noted that only few customers had yet to register considering the fact that most Nigerians and companies own two or more bank accounts on the average.

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

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