As part of the financial inclusion policy of the Financial Sector Strategy (FSS) agenda of ensuring Nigeria becomes one of the top 20 largest economies in the world by 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised bank customers in Lagos to register and obtain their Bank Verification Number (BVN).

The exercise, of which this is the first phase of a countrywide roll out, has commenced in select bank branches across Lagos. The server in banks’ head offices have been configured, deployed and tested, and their staff members have also been trained in preparation for the exercise.

The BVN scheme is collaboration between the CBN and the bankers’ committee with the aim of providing every bank customer with a unique identity across the Nigerian Banking industry for easy identification and verification.

The Head of the BVN Project Management team, Mr. Ade Shonubi described the enrolment process as simple and easy, explaining that the phased rollout of the exercise, starting with Lagos, is in order to ensure efficient implementation of the exercise. He disclosed that biometric data capture machines have been deployed to about 1000 bank branches in Lagos, to date over 16,000 BVNs have been issued.

“A bank customer will be required to walk into any of the selected bank branches; fill and submit the BVN enrolment form; present self for data capturing (such as Fingerprint, facial Image, etc.) Thereafter, an acknowledgment slip with the transaction ID will be issued to the individual.

“Within 24 hours the system confirms the enrollment and a unique BVN is generated. The customer will immediately receive an SMS notification with the BVN,” he said. The enrollment process is done only once as the BVN will be linked to all of a customer’s bank accounts.

Mr. Shonubi, who is also the Managing Director of the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) described the exercise as the “solution is to ensure accountability, protect bank customers’ account from unauthorised access, reduce exposure to fraud, check identity theft, enhance credit advancement to bank customers, and also encourage financial inclusion”.

He added that “At the point of enrolment, individuals shall be required to submit an acceptable means of identification, and update their information at the bank branch physically.

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