Low turnout at banks as BVN deadline nears
There was low turnout for registration of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) as the exercise closes this Saturday, October 31, 2015, Daily Trust findings revealed.
Our reporters observed few customers making last- minutes effort to get registered in major cities like Kano, Kaduna and Lagos.
While some customers are registering for the first time, others who had previously registered were seen by our correspondents trying to link their various accounts with their BVN numbers.
Our correspondent observed at some of the banks visited around Garki II, Abuja, Wuse II, Abuja and Central Area, Abuja that the number of those visiting the banks to obtain their BVN were quite few compared to when the initial deadline of June 2015 approached.
This shows that a lot more Nigerians have had their accounts connected with their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN).
In Gwarinpa, Abuja the turnout for the registration was very low in some of the banks visited by our reporter.
A businessman who identified himself as Mr. Emeka Eze told our correspondent he had previously obtained his BVN in First Bank but now he is submitting his BVN across all his accounts in other banks.
Chinedu Joseph, a civil servant also commented: “I have my BVN but since any account without a BVN number attached would have limited banking service at the expiration of the deadline, I have been going to the other banks where I also have accounts to give them my BVN number,” he said.
Some other customers told our correspondent they are also going through similar exercise this week.
However, a few customers were seen obtaining the BVN for the first time. When our correspondent asked why it took them this long to come for the BVN, the excuses ranged from busy schedules to complacency.
One customer who have her name as Amina Shuaibu,who was cited at Zenith Bank ,Wuse trying to do her BVN said her tight schedule didn’t permit her to do her BVN earlier.
Afolabi Johnson, an FCMB customer said his situation was basically procrastination and complacency.
“I think it was complacency and I keep postponing until the deadline came gain. Now, I don’t have a choice but to come and do it. ‘‘
As last September, 2015, statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that only 20 million out of the 52 million active bank accounts have registered for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) exercise. This suggests that some huge 32 million accounts are without BVN numbers, 20 million represented single accounts and some of the 20 million customers may have multiple accounts.
Thus, if that scenario is factored in, industry watchers say the compliance rate maybe in excess 80 per cent thus far.
Meanwhile, all the banks have intensified reminders on BVN to their customers through various communications platforms like emails, sms and the social media platforms
The Central Bank of Nigeria also acknowledged the low turnout for the BVN registration and called on the public to take advantage of the remaining period.
Ibrahim Muazu, CBN spokesperson told our reporter that there was low turnout but assures that the bank will do its best to improve in the publicity for customers to get their BVN before the end of the deadline.
Records from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) put the latest figure of the BVN registered customers as 20.5 million.
Also, about 12,000 bank customers in diaspora have so far taken advantage of the BVN registration centres created outside the country by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the bankers' committee.
It was estimated that there are about 45 million bank customers in the country, however some bank customers are having more than one account while some accounts are dormant.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Ade Shonubi has disclosed that deposit money banks invested N8billion into the Bank Verification Number (BVN) project as a private sector led initiatve and therefore would only share with Nigeria Identity Management Commission (NIMC) the data it needs in issuing the National Identification Number (NIN).
Shonubi disclosed this yesterday at the unveiling of the BVN channels for easy verification of all bureaux de change operators (BDCs) customers for all forex transactions from November 1, 2015.
This is coming on the heels of the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to all BDCs operators to demand for customers’ BVN as part of continued efforts to stabilise the forex market, stem the rampant cases of forex leakages and illicit money transfer from Nigeria.
Shonubi said: “with the data integration “once you have a bank account you will automatically have a NIN. So you don’t need to go to them (NIMC) to get a NIN but you will need to get to them for the card because they still need to take your current picture and a few other things to put on the card. But we will be able to issue a NIN to everybody who has a bank account because of the integration.”