With about seven weeks to June 1 set aside for banks to fully migrate to the Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that any institution that does not comply with the policy would be sanctioned.
The CBN also warned that any payment instrument not NUBAN-compliant with the scheme would not be allowed to pass through the Automated Clearing System from the aforementioned date.
The banking sector watchdog stated these in a circular titled: "Reminder in Respect of NUBAN Compliance," signed by its Director, Banking and Payment System Department, T.O.Fatokun, a copy of which was posted on its website Tuesday.
The circular with reference number: "BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/01/005," addressed to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), was dated April 17, 2012.
The NUBAN scheme, which recommended 10-digit account number for bank customers, the apex bank had said was meant to align Nigerian bank account numbers with international best practices; to facilitate direct electronic funds transfer between banks; reduce errors on transfer between banks with non-uniform account numbers and reduce risk of customers quoting wrong account numbers on any of their transactions.
Continuing, the circular said: "Please refer to our circular No. 02/033 dated 13th June 2011, which extended the transition period for compliance with the NUBAN code standard by one year. During the transition period, the old account numbers were to run concurrently with the NUBAN codes.
"This is to remind you that the transition period for compliance with NUBAN standard shall elapse on May 31, 2012. In view of the above, all DMBs are hereby directed to fully comply with NUBAN standard by that date
"Please note that with effect from 1st June, 2012, any payment instrument that is not NUBAN-compliant will not be allowed to pass through the Automated Clearing System. For the avoidance of doubt, any bank that flouts this directive shall face appropriate penalty as outlined in the guidelines. Compliance shall be strictly monitored."
The CBN had through the then "proposals on the implementation of NUBAN scheme," last year, unveiled the implementation modality for the scheme.
It had said: "NUBAN has great potentials to resolve the observed problems with electronic payments in Nigeria, as many of them are related to specification of wrong beneficiary account numbers. The mode of transition from the present situation to the NUBAN scheme has to be handled carefully to ensure the success of the scheme.
"This implies that banks have to build in the required intelligence in their respective in-clearing systems to distinguish NUBAN codes from old account numbers while processing inward cheque items and electronic payment instruments, during this transition period."