BVN: CBN Extends Deadline To Oct 31

BY ANDREW IKEHI/RUTH OKWUMBU
Following several appeals by Nigerians, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for the registration for Bank Verification Number (BVN) to Oct. 31.
The Pointer has gathered that the decision also followed the uncontrolled crowd at the various branches of banks that have made business transactions almost impossible.
CBN Director, Banking and Payment System Department, Mr Dipo Fatokun, while disclosing this in a circular issued yesterday in Abuja said, “It has come to our notice that the BVN registration has elicited tremendous interest from the Nigerian bank customers who crowded the banking halls in order to beat the deadline.
“In view of the foregoing, it has become imperative for the banks to extend the timeline for all customers to have the BVN.
“The deadline for the enrollment is hereby extended from June 30 to Oct. 31,’’ Fatokun stated.
However, the extension is expected to facilitate a smooth completion of the registration exercise and as well give Nigerian bank customers in the Diaspora, ample time to register.
However, frustration and pains occasioned by endless queues were prominent features at the various Banks in Delta State as bank customers besieged the banks to beat the June 30th deadline on Bank Verification Number (BVN) as initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In virtually all the banks visited, our correspondents report that as early as 6:00am, they had witnessed an upsurge of customers who were there to complete the process as they were afraid they could lose their savings with the banks should they fail to beat the deadline.
Although officials of the banks and their security personnel were on hand to control the influx of customers, the customers’ desperation almost became uncontrollable as there were some scuffles in some of the banks.
Meanwhile, contrary to fears by customers that failure to register would result in automatic loss of their accounts and savings, the bank customers who could not beat the June 30th deadline have been advised not to panic as they would not lose their savings and accounts with the banks.
One of the customer service representatives of one of the banks close to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba who would not want his name in print since he was not authorised to speak on it, explained that there was no need to panic.
According to him, the accounts are not going to be blocked permanently, but the customers would be denied access to their monies until they get registered.
“Before the deadline, they were allowed to withdraw money from the account irrespective of the registration or not, but now that the deadline has elapsed, they would not be allowed to withdraw over the counter or wit ATM, or even transfer funds to another account until they get registered. The account still belongs to the owner. The bank is not going to take their money. It is against banking practices”, he said. He explained further that the exercise was also aimed at standardising Nigerian banking practices in line with what is obtainable globally.
Addressing some of the customers who came to the banking hall after they had stopped registration for the day, he asked them to come back today for the verification, instead of withdrawing all their money as most of them were already bringing out their withdrawal slips to do so.
One of the customers, Miss Ann Ogor insisted that instead of taking the risk, she would withdraw all her money. “I am a student, but I also do small business. I cannot afford to have my money tied down in the name of bank verification. I was here yesterday; they said they were through for the day. Today again the same story. I don’t want any more stories”, she said.
Most of the defaulting customers who spoke to The POINTER complained that the exercise had not been given enough publicity, while others stated that if it had been made available online; a lot more people would have been accommodated.
One customer, John Oseji complained that the whole exercise was unnecessary, since the banks already have their data. He emphasised that the only reason he was doing it was to avoid the account being blocked since that is where his money and salary are being paid into and he could not afford to have them tied down. “I have never experienced fraud or hacking of any kind, so I don’t see the need for it”, he said.
Another customer, Ebuka Aniegbu, another customer seen at one of the bank premises trying to get registered, complained that the whole process was disorganised as he had spent a better part of his Monday at the bank without getting registered. “The whole thing is just disorganized. I have been here since 8:45am and it is already few minutes to 4pm and I have nothing to show for all the time wasted here. I am a student and a trader, and because of my business and my schooling, I have not been able to make time for the bank verification all this while.
I was unable to open my business today because of the BVN registration. It is necessary because if we don’t do it, our accounts will be blocked, but I don’t see the importance” he stated.
Speaking on the development, the Assistant Director, Banking and Payment Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Shola Agbola said “those who have not done their BVN registration or attached their BVN to their accounts after today, will still have access to their money but that will not be as convenient as it used to be.
“If you want to make online transactions, you will not be able to complete the transaction because of the BVN requirements that the operation will demand, so, if you must do anything at that time, you must go to your bank physically and carry out your ‘Know Your Customer (KYC) to authenticate the ownership of the account, that is the implication”, he explained.
Following the development, some stakeholders have held that the fallout of the BVN exercise will in the long run, necessitate cash crunch in the economy.
Meanwhile, bank customers, mostly traders within Onitsha and its environs, thronged branches of commercial banks to meet the deadline of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) registration.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited most banks in Onitsha metropolis yesterday, observed a large number of customers queuing for registration.

The report say that the number of customers undergoing the process was more in old generation banks compared to their new generation counterparts.
Some of the customers on the queue complained that the process was to slow due to internet connectivity problems; they, therefore, appealed to the CBN to extend the registration period.
A businessman, Mr. Nnamdi Okoro, told newsmen in one of the old generation banks, that most of the customers had arrived the bank as early as 8 a.m., but only a few had completed the exercise at about noon.
“All other processes of the exercise had been smooth except the actual biometric and fingerprint capturing as well as confirmation from the system”, Okoro said.
The Secretary, Plastics and Allied Products Market, Onitsha, Chief Donatus Ezike, appealed to the CBN to see the need to extend the exercise in order to accommodate millions of people not captured before the deadline.
“I must commend the bank staff for their wisdom to communicate their difficulties to us, the customers; but it is clear with this difficulties that the CBN should see the need to extend the date’’, Ezike, who banks with an old generation bank, said.
A staff of one of the new generation banks, Mr Tony Chukwurah, said that customers had been given more than enough time to do the exercise as most banks had put out advertisements to reach their customers.