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Reasons Why we Close Over 2 Million Accounts – Nigerian Banks

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Reasons Why we Close Over 2 Million Accounts – Nigerian Banks

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Reasons Why we Close Over 2 Million Accounts - Nigerian Banks

During the first quarter of 2024, Nigerian commercial banks closed a total of 2.021 million bank accounts as part of efforts to address unscrupulous activities and cleanse their records of questionable accounts. This move also aligns with regulatory directives mandating the linkage of bank accounts to the National Identity Number (NIN).

A report from the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) revealed that the number of inactive bank accounts increased month-on-month by four million or 2.0 percent, reaching 19.7 million in March 2024 from 19.3 million in February. An account is classified as inactive when it shows zero transactions, including deposits, withdrawals, transfers, or point-of-sale transactions for a period of six months.

Despite the closure of inactive accounts, the report also highlighted a growth in the number of active bank accounts, which surged by 6.62 million or 3.0 percent to 219.64 million from 213.02 million in February.

The closure of accounts is seen as a response to a directive issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in December 2023, instructing commercial banks to restrict tier-1 accounts lacking proper Biometric Verification Numbers (BVN) and National Identity Numbers (NIN) that were not linked by Thursday, March 1st, 2024.

According to NIBSS data on BVN enrollment, approximately 61.6 million Nigerians have BVNs as of April 2024. This ongoing effort aims to enhance regulatory compliance, strengthen financial integrity, and ensure the security of banking transactions across the country.

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