Amidst effort to curb the high rate of financial irregularities in banking sector, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may soon rollout the pilot scheme of Bank Verification Number (BVN), using 1,000 branches of 1,401 branch networks.
The Head, External Communications of the Corporate Communications Department of CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, who confirmed this to Finance Correspondents, weekend, said the scheme has been deployed to all head offices of banks since March 31, following which enrolment of staff started in April.
According to him, 42 of 48 initially slated branches have been rolled out, while the seamless enrolment of the 1,000 branches targeted will usher in nationwide capturing of the customers for uniform number by the end of May, 2014.
Okorafor noted that the BVN was meant to address the safety of customers’ funds, tackle frauds and enable a person to maintain a single identity within the financial system.
He said the project was part of the overall blueprint in achieving FSS 2020; maintain the GDP rebase figure, help fight corruption in the system and foster cashless policy.
The CBN spokesperson explained: “What is important is the number; bank verification numbers enable a single person to have a single identity within the financial system. We are out with the BVN to achieve a number of things; to ensure that customers’ identities are not stolen, people who cannot read or write could use their biometrics (fingerprint), to make transactions and enable banks to identify customers. The essence of the verification number is to ensure that your identity is not stolen.”
He noted that after engaging banks, other sectors of the financial system would be enrolled into the scheme for proper and holistic identification.
Oluseyi Adenmosun, who is Biometric Project Manager of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), whose company provides the connectivity service, said the project was adopted to provide uniqueness that identifies bank customers clear with the banking industry via BVN.
He said the initiative represents a major landmark in the Bankers Committee’s efforts at promoting financial inclusion drive and prevents money laundering in the system.
Explaining how it works, he said, “beside uniqueness, it helps for accountability- what is to achieve is to say bank account holders that bank with a particular bank will have their records in that bank while NIBSS that is the central point of reference will hold for the total industry.
“Banks will hold the details of their own account holders, whereas NIBSS will hold the amalgamation of data for all the banks resident in the country. It is possible for you to bank with one bank, try to open account in another bank, they will ask you if you have enrolled. If you say no, they will enroll you but if you are saying lie, because it is your biometric data, the biometric information comes to the centre. When it gets to NIBSS it will search through biometric data available at NIBSS. Because you have been registered before it will detect it.
We are at the centre to give the industry the information, which flow through their risk policy. At the centre of all this is the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) principle of the CBN. The machine will capture your face and your 10 fingerprints.”
He stated that the whole idea was to provide anti-fraud system, which would be transferred to the back end of NIBSS for verification to help checkmate banks and owners of the accounts