Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: CBN Sets New Account Balance Limits

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set new deposit limits for all categories of account holders and introduced three-tier Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements for banks.

In a circular issued by the CBN to all banks and other financial institutions (OFIs), signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulations Department, Chris Chukwu, maximum single deposit amount of N20,000 and N50,000 was set for Low and Medium Value Accounts respectively.

Also the apex bank pegged maximum cumulative balance for Low Value Accounts at N200,000 at any point in time and a maximum cumulative balance of N400,000 on the Medium Value Account. However for the High Value Account, no limit is placed on cumulative balance.

The policy also categorised bank customers into Low Value Accounts (Level One); Medium Value Accounts (Level two) and High Value Accounts (Level three).

The circular explained that the policy became exigent after the CBN recognised that access to basic banking facilities and other financial services was necessary in achieving the policy on financial inclusion.

Chukwu in the circular advised banks to adopt the new KYC requirement, adding that the proposed deposit limits was meant to reduce the risk of money laundering and financing of terrorism, noting that the Low Value Accounts are subject to close monitoring by the financial institutions and less scrutiny by bank examiners.

The CBN director said the accounts could be opened at branches of banks by a prospective customer or through banking agents and no amount is required for its opening. However, such accounts prohibit international funds transfer.

According to him, the Medium Value Accounts can be opened face to face at any branch of a bank by agents for enterprises or by the account holder, but the accounts are strictly savings with no amount required for its opening. Also, where cross-checking of client's identity cards information is not completed at the point of account opening, withdrawal would be denied.

Chukwu added that for the High-Value Accounts, banks are required to obtain, verify and maintain copies of all the required documents for account opening. Accounts are to be opened at the bank branches by physical presence of the prospective customer and the accounts could be both savings and current.

However, for mobile banking products, the account attracts a maximum transaction limit of N100, 000 and daily limit of N1 million. However, such products are subject to the CBN Regulatory Framework for Mobile Payments Services in Nigeria.

He said that banks are required to have a robust, effective and efficient anti-money laundering/combating financial terrorism (AML/CFT) solutions with screening tools in place that will monitor the various thresholds. "All accounts, no matter how low the transaction or the risks, must be subjected to continuous suspicious transactions monitoring by financial institutions which will determine when incremental KYC requirements need to be provided by the customers," he said, adding that the CBN would ensure the establishment of appropriate processes and procedures for the purpose of monitoring compliance with the regulatory framework.

He added that non-compliant financial institutions would be sanctioned in line with the provisions of extant laws and regulations. He said 64.1 per cent representing 56.3 million adult Nigerians do not have access to financial services, hence the policy is also meant to bridge the gap.

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