Over 91 Million Bank Accounts at Risk of Deactivation as CBN’s BVN/NIN Deadline Passes

With the expiration of the March 1 deadline mandated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for linking bank accounts to either the Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identity Number (NIN), the threat of freezing over 91 million bank accounts looms.

The CBN’s directive, issued on December 1, 2023, mandated commercial banks to impose restrictions on tier-1 accounts lacking proper BVN or NIN linkage. Unfunded accounts were immediately placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit,’ with funded accounts set to face the same restrictions as of March 1, 2024.

In a final push over the weekend, banks intensified efforts, sending reminders to depositors to utilize digital platforms or visit branches for BVN/NIN linkage to avoid potential freezing of their accounts.

The directive had also outlined that the BVN or NIN associated with all accounts must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024. Although the CBN has not officially clarified consequences for non-compliance, banks have warned that failure to adhere to the BVN/NIN linkage could result in the inability to carry out transactions.

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The situation has triggered panic among depositors, prompting a surge in bank visits as customers strive to update their account information before facing potential account freezes.

As of January 26, the Nigeria InterBank Settlement System (NIBSS) reported that BVN-linked accounts stood at 60,492,104 million.