July 21, 2024

Deadline Passes: Most Banks Lag in NIN/Account Linkage Implementation

 

As the deadline for linking National Identity Numbers (NIN) to bank accounts passed last Thursday, several banks in Nigeria are yet to fully implement the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive.

 

While the CBN had instructed banks to restrict tier-1 accounts without proper Biometric Verification Number (BVN) and NIN linkage, many institutions have not initiated widespread account freezes. Investigations revealed varying degrees of compliance among banks, with some, like Zenith Bank, actively blocking accounts not linked to NIN. Others, such as Access Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank, are reportedly focused on accounts without BVN, allowing NIN non-compliant customers continued access.

 

A visit to banks around Old Ojo Road in Lagos showcased mixed compliance levels, with Zenith Bank leading in the implementation of the directive. Customers at Zenith Bank were observed filling NIN update forms to unblock their accounts.

 

Other banks, including Ecobank and GT Bank, were reportedly yet to start implementing the directive, leaving customers with uninterrupted access. Fidelity Bank staff suggested they might commence implementation by mid-March. While in Abuja, some banks have already started freezing accounts not linked to BVN and NIN, requiring customers to provide necessary information for defreezing.

 

As the implementation varies across banks, the World United Consumer Organisation (WUCO) has urged the CBN to consider alternative procedures for Nigerians in diaspora to link their NIN and BVN. WUCO emphasized the challenges faced by Nigerians abroad and called for a reconsideration of the deadline.

 

The global advocacy group, dedicated to ensuring equitable access to essential services, expressed concern that the directive, though well-intentioned, does not adequately address the unique circumstances of Nigerians living abroad.

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