CBN bans banks, fintechs from operating foreign exchange services

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

Central Bank of Nigeria has prohibited Banks and financial technology firms from operating foreign money transfer services.

The updated standards for IMTO operations, which were formally issued on January 31, 2024, include this change.

The CBN stated, “All banks are prohibited from operating International Money Transfer services but can act as agents.”

Individuals who are shareholders, bank executives, or in the management of banks are likewise prohibited by the apex bank.

Only deposit money banks were forbidden under the previous criteria, which were published in 2014. Fintechs are now prohibited, according to the CBN.

In the updated rules, the apex bank also raised the application price for an IMTO license from N500,000 in 2014 to N10 million. This is roughly 1,900% in about ten years.

“A non-refundable application fee of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira only) or such other amount that the Bank may specify from time to time; payable to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft” the new regulation stated.

Additionally, it was mentioned that IMTO approval renewals must be completed by the first quarter of each year. In the event that an IMTO does not provide a copy of the CBN’s renewal of its IMTO approval for a given year to its agent bank by the first quarter of that year, the bank will stop doing business with the IMTO.

Additionally, the CBN set a minimum operational capital requirement of $1 million for international firms and an equal sum for domestic IMTOs for International Money Transfer Operators.

In the past, it was N50 million or its equivalent for international corporations and N2 billion for Nigerian enterprises.

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