By Nse Anthony-Uko
ABUJA, (Sundiata Finance) – Commercial banks in the country have begun sensitizing their customers as the new policy which will bar fraudsters from accessing banking services in the country for up to 10 years. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had last month issued a circular to that effect which was to take immediate effect.
To this effect, banks have begun sending messages to their customers notifying them that they will in line with the policy place restrictions on accounts of persons found on the fraud watch list. One of the banks in an email to customers said “the BVN of individuals involved in fraudulent activities will be reported to the relevant authorities for update on the watch list.
“The bank will apply the required restriction to the accounts of individuals found on the watch list.” The watch list is a database of bank customers who have been proven to be involved in fraudulent activities and identified by their BVN.
According to the Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) Operations and Watch-List for the Nigerian Banking Industry, released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) even fraudsters who have not committed monetary infractions would be blacklisted and will not be allowed to do any transactions through electronic channels, such as Automated Teller Machines, Point of Sale terminals, Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, including issuance of third-party cheques.
The framework stipulated that a “watch-listed individual shall not be allowed to enter into new relationship with any bank and a bank may choose not to continue business relationship with account holder on the watch-list.
“Where a bank chooses to continue an existing business relationship with holders of account on the watch-list, the account holder shall be prohibited from all e-channels, such as ATM, POS, Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, including issuance of third-party cheques. A watch-listed customer shall not provide reference to another customer, neither shall he/she be allowed access to credit facility or guarantee credit facilities.
“A watch-listed individual shall remain in the watch-list for a period as specified in the penalty table. In the event of a reoccurrence, the tenure shall begin to count from year one. Penalties that applied to watch-listed customers shall apply to all accounts that he or she is a signatory to” the framework stated
The framework categorised forgery, compromise, complicity, fraudulent duplicate enrolment and any fraudulent infraction without monetary value as category 0 and would be restricted from baking services for five years.
Meanwhile, confirmed successful fraud with monetary value and customers who have been watch-listed more than twice categorised 1 and 2 respectively will be restricted for up to 10 years. Category 2 individuals will however have their transactions limited to the branch where it is domiciled.
However, individuals who committed fraud and is at large, categorised as 99 will asides the other restrictions have a Post-No-Debit flag on all the accounts linked to the individuals’ BVN. The CBN had in 2014 launched the BVN which is to help combat identity theft and fraud in the banking sector.