Frustration, Pain Trail Closure of BVN Registration …CBN Says No Cause For Panic
By Omos Oyibode
Frustration, pains and fatigue occasioned by endless queues were prominent features at the various Deposit Money Banks in Delta State as bank customers besieged the banks to beat the June 30th deadline on Bank Verification Number (BVN) as initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In all the banks visited by our correspondent, our reporters report that as early as 6:00 in the morning, all the banks witnessed an upsurge of customers who were there to perfect the last minute rush as they were afraid they could lose their savings with the banks should they fail to beat the deadline.
Although officials of the banks and their security personnel were on hand to control the influx of customers, their (Customers) desperation almost became uncontrollable as there were some scuffles at some of the banks.
Meanwhile, contrary to fears by customers that failure to register would result in automatic lost of the accounts and savings the bank customers who could not beat the June 30th deadline have been advised not to panic as they would not lose their savings and accounts with the banks.
One of the customer service representatives of one of the banks close to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba who would not want his name in print since he was not authorized to speak on it, explained that there was no need to panic.
According to him, the accounts are not going to be blocked permanently, but the customers would be denied access to their monies until they get registered.
“Before the deadline, they were allowed to withdraw money from the account irrespective of the registration or not, but now that the deadline has elapsed, they would not be allowed to withdraw over the counter or wit ATM, or even transfer funds to another account until they get registered. The account still belongs to the owner. The bank is not going to take their money. It is against banking practices” he said. He explained further that the exercise was also aimed at standardizing Nigerian banking practices, in line with what is obtainable globally.
Addressing some of the customers who came to the banking hall after they had stopped registration for the day, he asked them to come back on Wednesday for the verification, instead of withdrawing all their money as most of them were already bringing out their withdrawal slips to do so.
One of the customers, Miss Ann Ogor insisted that instead of taking the risk, she would withdraw all her money. “I am a student, but I also do small business. I cannot afford to have my money tied down in the name of bank verification. I was here yesterday; they said they were through for the day. Today again the same story. i don’t want any more stories” she said.
Most of the defaulting customers who spoke to our correspondent complained that the exercise had not been given enough publicity, while others stated that if it had been made available online, a lot more people would have been accommodated.
One customer, John Oseji, complained that the whole exercise was unnecessary, since the banks already have their data. He emphasized that the only reason he was doing it was to avoid the account being blocked since that is where his money and salary are being paid into and he could not afford to have them tied down. “I have never experienced fraud or hacking of any kind, so I don’t see the need for it” he said.
Another customer, Ebuka Aniegbu, another customer seen at one of the bank premises trying to get registered, complained that the whole process was disorganized as he had spent a better part of his Monday at the bank without getting registered. “The whole thing is just disorganized. I have been here since 8:45am and its already few minutes to 4pm and I have nothing to show for all the time wasted here. I am a student and a trader, and because of my business and my schooling, I have not been able to make time for the bank verification all this while.
I was unable to open my business today because of the BVN registration. It is necessary because if we don’t do it, our accounts will be blocked, but I don’t see the importance” he stated.
Speaking on the development, the Assistant Director, Banking and Payment Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Shola Agbola said “Those who have not done their BVN registration or attach their BVN to their accounts after today (Yesterday), will still have access to their money but that will not be as convenient as it used to be.
“If you want to make online transactions, you will not be able to0 complete the transaction because of the BVN requirements that the operation will demand, so, if you must do anything at that time, you must go to your bank physically and carry out your ‘Know Your Customer (KYC) to authenticate the ownership of the account, that is the implication” he explained.
Following the development, some stakeholders have held that the fallout of the BVN exercise will, in the long run, necessitate cash crunch in the economy.