Focus On CBN’s Bank Verification Number Exercise

Business incorporatedThe Bank Verification Number exercise was commissioned by the Bankers Committee as part of its financial inclusion strategies.

The exercise includes getting bank customers biometrics, with the use of fingerprints, and facial image, after which each customer will be given a bank verification number.

According to the committee, the essence of the project is for banks to know their customers better, while tracking their credit records and other details which will aid the operation of banks in general.

On this edition of Business Incorporated, CEO at the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, Adebisi Shonubi, and the Head of the BVN project, Seyi Adenmosu, explain that the Bank Verification Number exercise is being rolled out in Lagos and Abuja, after which the initiative will be rolled out to other parts of the country by the end of the year.

They also explain the technical details of the exercise.

CBN Partners IFC On Sustainable Banking

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is teaming up with the International Finance Corporation to boost the compliance rate of Nigerian lenders on sustainable banking.

The special adviser to the CBN governor, Dr. Aisha Mohammed who disclosed this in Abuja, said the Bankers’ Committee in collaboration with the apex bank has already adopted the sustainable banking principle given in July, last year.

She adds that for banks to have the reputation and branding to be able to access fund from international financial institutions, there’s need to implement sustainable banking.

Sustainable banking is based on the principle of environmental and social issues, which requires banks to pay attention to poverty rate, population explosion, gender and unemployment, among others.

Banks To Stop N100 ATM Charges Next Monday

The Bankers’ Committee on Sunday said the decision earlier reached to suspend all charges accruing from the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of other banks would be implemented from Monday, December 17.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Chairman of the Bankers’ Committee, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi disclosed this while addressing journalists at the end of the fourth annual Bankers’ Committee retreat held in Calabar, Cross River State.

The CBN governor said the delay in implementing the policy was to allow banks configure their information technology infrastructure for the effective implementation of the policy.

“We have agreed on a final date of Monday, 17 December, 2012 for the kick-off when every bank will remove the charges. We allowed some time for banks that have not configured their IT to do so and stop charging and hopefully by 17th of December, you are not going to have any customer pay additional charges,” he said.

Mr Sanusi further said that the CBN was working on a programme that would ensure that from June 1, next year, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) commences the process of divesting from the three nationalised banks – Keystone Bank Limited, Enterprise Bank Limited and Mainstreet Bank Limited – which are wholly owned by the corporation.

“We want to start the process by June 1 next year of getting AMCON to divest from the three banks so that by 2014, the process would have been completed,” he said.

Commenting on the privatisation of power assets, the CBN governor said the committee would advise the Federal Government to ensure that the proceeds to be derived from the sale of power assets are invested in infrastructural projects, adding that this would enhance investor confidence in the system.

He said: “With a vision for a better future for Nigerians, the Bankers’ Committee is committed to play a lead role as catalyst for economic development, improving access to finance for the unbanked and under-banked population and growth of the real sector.

“The Bankers’ Committee has focused on the power, agriculture and Transport Infrastructure sectors for driving growth and identified opportunities for financial system intervention in the transformation of these critical sectors of the economy.

“Through collaboration with the government, the banking community and real sector stakeholders, the Bankers’ Committee programmes and initiatives have contributed to a tangible improvement in the enabling environment and private sector funding for the power and agriculture sectors.”

Mr Sanusi added that banking sector lending to the agriculture sector had increased significantly from 1.5 per cent of total industry portfolio to 3.5 per cent in 2012.

He also said that the banking industry has set a target of 7 per cent for agriculture sector lending by 2013 and 10 per cent by 2017.

Bankers Committee endorses N5000 note

The bankers committee on Tuesday endorsed the plan by the central bank to introduce N5000 note and the coining of lower denominations.

Addressing journalists after the committees meeting in Abuja, the Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa, Philip Oduoza said that the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will not in any way affect the nation’s economy as currently speculated.

“If it will take you 100 pieces to fit into an ATM for a N100, it will take far lesser than that if you are feeding the N5000 notes into the machine. If you are moving cash as banks normally do between various locations, you’ll find out that you’ll do less number of runs,” Mr Oduoza said.

The bank boss said that all the cost saved from handling more cash will be passed on to the end users, who are the customers of the banks.

Mr Oduoza assured Nigerians that lending rate will drop as charges for the printing of higher denominations reduces.

“One of the things that leads to high interest rate is the cost of operations, so as that goes down, you’ll find out that the benefit will also goes to the customers of the bank,” he said.

On her part, the Managing Director of the Standard Chartered Bank, Bola Adesola said that the N5, 000 note will not be imposed on any customer who wants to be paid in lower denominations.

“It is important for the banking public to also know that the Central Bank or any bank is not going to impose the N5000 note on its customers. It will be based on demand,” she said.

She said the customers will have the choice as to what denomination they would like to receive their cash.

Bankers committee to release a new guideline for bank charges

Members of the Bankers Committee have announced plans to release a new guideline for bank charges in the country.

Addressing journalists after the Bankers Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the Deputy Director in charge of Banking Supervision at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Markus Zakariya said that the initiative will help address issues of arbitrary charges currently experienced by some customers.

He also noted that the charges will enable the customers to know what charges will be deducted for services offered by respective banks.

Other members of the committee spoke on the need to ensure that the rights of consumers are protected and also bore their minds on the universal banking model as initiated by the apex bank.