Abuja - The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday directed all deposit money banks and financial institutions to include the Independent National Electoral Commission voter’s card as an acceptable means of identification for the purpose of transacting business in the banks.
The CBN, in a circular to all banks and financial institutions, stated that the development was necessary in order to reduce the number of unbanked people.
The circular reads, “Further to our circular on AML/CFT Regulation 2009 on acceptable means of identification for the purpose of account opening and transaction of banking business in Nigeria, it has become necessary as a result of the need to enhance financial inclusion, to extend the acceptable identification options.
“Accordingly, all banks and other financial institutions are hereby advised to accept voter’s registration card duly issued by INEC, bearing the holder’s particulars such as name, photograph, date of birth and address as a valid additional means of identification of natural persons for the purpose of conducting banking business in Nigeria.”
The CBN also said that the absence of uniformity in account opening procedure and documentation for prospective customers had continued to hinder the effectiveness of Know Your Customer requirements in banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria.
In a separate circular, the bank said, “The adverse implication of this on the fight against money laundering and the combating of financing of terrorism cannot be overemphasised. The CBN, in conjunction with the Committee of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria has therefore developed draft uniform account opening forms for adoption by banks and other financial institutions.”
The CBN had recently said that the Know Your Customer processes in banks and the recently concluded account verification exercise would cease to be the basis for KYC financial transactions from next year.
KYC in banks enables the financial institutions to know and understand their customers and their financial dealings.
A circular issued by the apex bank stated that a new National Identity Number, expected to be issued from September 2012 by the National Identity Management Commission in conjunction with its Front End Partners, would be the new basis for KYC for financial transactions.
The circular said, “As part of the CBN’s efforts to bolster the banking industry and the entire financial system, the bank in the recent past commenced steps to overhaul the KYC processes in banks, including the recently concluded customer account verification exercise. In furtherance of this exercise, the Bankers Committee at a recent meeting resolved to adopt the new National Identity Number, which is expected to be issued from September 2012.
“Consequently, the CBN hereby directs that starting January 8, 2013, the NIN will become the basis for KYC verification and compliance by all Deposit Money Banks and, by extension, other deposit taking financial institutions including the microfinance banks and Primary Mortgage Banks in Nigeria.”