BVN: Wrong data submission mars account linking process



As attention on the Bank Verification Number (BVN) project shifts from the registration to linking of accounts for those who have more than one, as well as in other banks, the process may have been marred by wrong data submission.

The process of linking the BVN to other accounts belonging to individual account holder in bank required that the person fills a form, which include account name, date of birth, the already obtained BVN, account number and authorized signature.

The industry’s total active accounts, which has become more of guess work, is put at over 50 million, with 21 million unique individuals being claimed to own them, while 14.4 million has so far been officially linked to the 21 million unique individuals, out of the over 29 million multiple accounts.

Meanwhile, the proverbial “one man’s meat is another’s poison” may have found it’ fulfillment in the exercise, as the alleged hitches besetting the accounts linking process have reduced banks’ cash outflows.

The penalty for non compliance to BVN, which is non-access to accounts, implies that the account holder will receive deposits into the accounts, but will not make withdrawals until compliance is affirmed, has however, turned a new deal for banks, as it’s cash outflows have recorded minimal levels.

CBN, after the deadline given for voluntary compliance, had ordered banks to block access to accounts without valid BVN, but only allowed inflow of cash and deposit into it, adding that the exercise would continue until all accounts have been linked to their respective owners.

A top official of a major bank told The Guardian that withdrawals have remained minimal since the enforcement of the BVN-for-transactions’ rule in banks.

“While we are not rejoicing over our customers’ inability to withdraw their monies, we cannot help but enjoy the situation and whatever benefit it offers to us now until it ends, because we are also sure that it will end one day,” the banker said.

The banker estimated that there are more than eight million accounts to be linked in the industry presently, estimating that out of the figure, about one million accounts would have been involved in average withdrawal of N10,000 since that enforcement, which means that about N10 billion liquidity have been added to the industry.

Similarly, the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), said that while it is acknowledging that the recent efforts of CBN, is bringing stability of the exchange rate and sanity in the foreign exchange market, its argument has been based on low awareness before enforcement.

The Acting President of the association, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, at the weekend, said that the 10-day notice given to operators ahead of enforcement was sudden, as well as leaving the public unprepared to submit their BVN details for transactions.

He said it is untrue that they have not been making sales because of the introduction of BVN, but that customers, out of fear over consequent frauds in their account, declined to disclose it, preferring to patronise roadside sellers instead.

He however, asked CBN to review the policy and embark on massive awareness to create the needed assurance to the public that the disclosure of BVN will not lead to fraud in their accounts.

“CBN on October 21, 2015, announced the extension of the BVN to BDC operations as a criteria for purchase of foreign exchange from banks effective November 1.

“We wrote to CBN, noting that the period between the announcement and implementation dates was to short, and there was need for massive publicity to ensure that the implementation is with little or no disruption to the stability of the markets. The apex bank however ignored our observations,” he said.

However, investigations by The Guardian showed that piles of forms filled by customers to link their accounts have eventually become null and void due to errors, with inscriptions like “wrong BVN”, “wrong account number”, “wrong name” and “wrong date of birth”, among others, marked on them by banks’ officials.

The Guardian learnt that the account holders, who left the banking hall after filling the forms, as some banks advised them to do, did so with the hope that the account will be linked or has been linked already.

They may also include the huge number of complainants, who claim they have linked their accounts for long, but could not access them, as the voided forms were left bound on the table, while it remained uncertain whether they have been contacted over the matter.

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