BVN database hits 58.7m as registrations declines

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

By Bisola David


58.7 million Nigerians owned bank accounts with a Bank Verification Number as of September 12, 2023.

The Times reported that the most recent BVN registration data made available by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System revealed this.

Despite recent efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria to cancel all unlinked bank accounts, the statistics revealed that registration for the BVN has slowed since the start of this year.

The size of the BVN database by the end of 2022 was 56.5 million. This demonstrates that over the final eight months of this year, plus the 12 days in September, banks had only tallied around 1.4 million new BVN registrations.

This is far lower than the average of 400,000 registrations per month recorded last year.

The number of active bank accounts in the country as of December 2021 was 133.5 million, according to the NIBSS.

Although data for 2022 has not yet been made public, it is anticipated that the number will be larger than it was the year before, demonstrating that there is still a sizable disparity between the number of registered BVNs and bank accounts.

The BVN, according to NIBSS, ensures that clients’ bank accounts are protected from unauthorized access while providing account holders with a distinctive identification that can be validated throughout the Nigerian banking sector.

The suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele had disclosed plans to cancel millions of bank accounts across multiple Deposit Money Banks that are not tied to BVN.

Emefiele stated that the goal was to clean up the industry and lessen the rising incidence of fraud in the financial sector in a statement released by the Director of the Risk Management Department and Chief Risk Officer, Blaise Ijabor.

Ijebor highlighted that the apex bank has been collaborating with the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System to address this issue as part of their efforts to address the growing incidence of fraud in the sector.

He claimed that this initiative’s goals are to curb the rising frequency of fraud and clean up the financial industry.

He continued by saying that the CBN had noticed that many bank accounts were not connected to the BVN, which made it challenging to monitor fraudulent activity.

Customers were expected to update their records and link their bank accounts to the BVN in response to the CBN’s intention to terminate millions of bank accounts that are not linked to the BVN.

The number of registrations for the number has been falling, thus the impact of the announcement has not yet been felt.

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