Cash Shortage Spurs BVN/NIN Rush

Cash Shortage Spurs BVN/NIN Rush

New Directive Causes Banking Halls to Overflow

On Monday, a huge crowd of people rushed to their banks to link their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and National Identity Numbers (NIN) to their bank accounts. This was because the banking regulator had given a new directive on Friday, stating that customers who hadn’t linked their BVN and NIN would not have access to their accounts.

What the Directive Says

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said that existing customers must make sure that all their accounts created through agents are fully profiled in the NIBSS ICAD and tagged with valid BVN and/or NIN. It also stated that any account without funds would be restricted from making any transactions until the new process is completed. Starting from March 1, 2024, all funded accounts would also be restricted, and no further transactions would be allowed.

What “Post No Debit” Means

“Post no debit” is a term used by banks to describe a restriction placed on certain accounts. It prevents customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or debits from their accounts.

Customers Flock to Banks

At the Ojodu/Berger branches of Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, and First Bank, there were long queues of customers waiting to link their NIN to their bank accounts. The queues at GTBank remained long even when our correspondent left the bank.

An official from First Bank in Akure, Ondo State, mentioned that there were more people in the bank than usual. He said, “There are more people in the bank today, especially those who want to connect their Bank Verification Number.”

A senior official from a Tier-1 bank in Lagos explained that many banks would struggle to handle the expected rush because they had lost key employees and reduced staff to keep expenses low.

A branch manager from a new-generation bank also mentioned that if there were too many customers without BVN and NIN, the bank might have to extend working hours and consider working on weekends to clear the backlog.

Cash Crunch Persists

Despite the CBN’s directive to banks to continue accepting old and redesigned naira banknotes, there is still a scarcity of cash. Banks are rationing the naira notes to customers, and ATMs are programmed to dispense limited cash.

Nigeria Banking: Mega Banks

Customers who visited the ATMs at FCMB, Gate, and Ejigbo, were disappointed to find that the machines were not dispensing cash. When asked, bank officials said that the machines were not loaded with cash.

At GTBank, Gate Ejigbo, non-bank customers could withdraw a maximum of N5,000, while bank customers could withdraw up to N20,000. ECO Bank at Gate, Ejigbo paid non-bank customers up to N10,000, while bank customers could withdraw as high as N20,000.

The cash scarcity is believed to be caused by the fear that the CBN may ban some old denominations by the end of the year. However, the CBN has clarified that all versions of the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes, both old and redesigned, will continue to be legal tender.

Some bank spokespersons mentioned that there was no new directive from the CBN to limit cash transactions to customers. They suggested that the scarcity could be due to cash hoarding that hasn’t been returned to the economy.

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