By Akin Akinremi
Banks in the country last week witnessed long queues of customers rushing to register for Bank Verification Number (BVN) following the Central Bank and NIBSS deadline of June 30, 2015.
The fear of losing money and blockage of access to accounts of bank customers led to the rush and long queues found in the banking hall throughout last week.
Since early June 2015, some banks had placed restrictions on bank customers yet to register for BVN from using their accounts. They were turned back and told to go and register before transacting any business in their bank.
WESTERN POST’s investigation revealed that some banks had placed embargo on transfers and access to bank accounts of their customers who are yet to register for BVN while some had restricted the use of ATMs and over-the-counter withdrawals on accounts without BVN.
Most of the banks have been sending emails and text messages to their customers telling them the importance of the BVN registration and the implication of not being captured in the new process before June 30.
Some of the messages sent to customers read; “Effective from June 30, 2015, please note that you will not be able to transact business with your bank without your BVN”. The banks listed such businesses as ATMs, POS, Online, Internal transfer and International transactions.
Some banks stated that, “In line with the CBN directives to ensure that all bank accounts are BVN compliant with effect from June 1, 2015, we are constrained to inform you that third party transfers including instant payments, RTGS and Foreign Currency Transfer can no longer be conducted on your accounts with our bank (via any of our channels) until your BVN is concluded”.
Our Correspondent who visited some banks last week saw customers rushing to banks to register for the BVN.
The banking halls of all the banks visited were filled to capacity with customers filling forms to register for the BVN.
Some of them who spoke to WESTERN POST said they didn’t take the registration serious at the initial stage until when banks started sending messages to them that they would not be allowed to access their accounts if they failed to comply with the CBN/NIBSS directive.
A bank customer in one of the new generation banks said she left her house at Agege, Lagos to her bank as early as possible to meet up with the registration before going for her other appointments, but to her surprise, she met a huge crowd at the bank waiting to register for BVN.
She said she had to go and come back the following day because most of the systems used by the banks were not working well.
“It was taking one customer up to 30 minutes to register and there were up to 50 of them in the banking hall waiting to do same,” she said.
Some customers said the banks were not helping matters, as they deployed only one staff to the BVN registration centre, instead of three or four.
Also, they complained that most of the banks’ network services were bad. “It takes a longer time to attend to people; the capturing machine is not always seeing the fingers of the customers. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to capture one person. These are the problems we face at the banks when we get there to register”.
In the meantime, some customers have begun calling on the CBN/NIBSS to extend the deadline for the BVN exercise, which falls due on June 30.
Investigations by WESTERN POST revealed that customers are calling for the extension of the exercise because banks are having problems contending with the number of customers who are willing to obtain the BVN.
They expressed frustration with the exercise as the branches of the banks they went to could not attend to all of them, despite spending hours at some of the banks as the deadline got closer.
But NIBSS Managing Director, Mr. Ade Adenubi, in an interview with WESTERN POST, said there was no going back on the deadline for registration.
He claimed that more than three quarter of the bank customers had already been captured by the banks.
But the question now is- “What will become of those yet to register for the BVN as the deadline falls due on June 30?”