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CBN to drive zero balance account opening

As part of efforts to boost financial inclusion, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said it will promote opening of new accounts with zero balance.

It said this in its report on ‘Monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines for fiscal years 2020/2021’.

Part of the report on opening of new accounts read, “As part of its effort towards promoting greater financial inclusion in the country, the bank shall continue to encourage banks to intensify deposit mobilisation during the 2020/2021 fiscal years.

“Accordingly, banks shall allow zero balances for opening new bank accounts and simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer requirements.

“Banks are also encouraged to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.”

The CBN said the Shared Agency Network Expansion Facility, established to enhance the provision of financial services access points in under-served and unserved locations and drive financial inclusion through agent banking, would continue in the 2020/2021 fiscal years.

Banks, mobile money operators and super-agents would continue to render returns in the prescribed formats and frequency to the CBN, it stated.

It said the National Financial Inclusion Strategy was launched to leverage existing bank branches, agent banking, mobile money agents and digital financial services to deliver financial services to Nigerians.

The strategy was revised in 2018 with focus on five targets, namely: female gender; youth within the age bracket of 18 to 25 years; rural dwellers; North-West and North-East regions; and MSMEs.

It said the bank would intensify the implementation of the revised strategy in 2020/2021 fiscal years to reduce the share of the financially excluded to five per cent of the adult population by 2024.

The CBN also said the banks and other financial institutions would continue to apply the Know-Your-Customer principle and Customer Due Diligence as specified in the CBN (AML/CFT in banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria) Regulations, 2013.

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