First posted by theunion.
A survey conducted by The UNION last week to ascertain the level of awareness and compliance by banks’ customers in the on-going Bank Verification Number (BVN) has shown that United Bank for Africa (UBA) was the most active of the deposit money banks (DMBs). The bank also registered more customers than the other 16 DMBs involved in the exercise that ends tomorrow (June 30). It lasted for over 15 months.
While virtually all the banks used text messages (which will be charged to the customer) and notices in the banking hall to create awareness and remind customers to do the BVN, it was observed that UBA used the opportunity of customers/visitors presence in their branches to have them register for the exercise. In many of the branches, some officers were designated to approach customers and visitors with BVN forms from the opening to closing hours each working day. Many of those who used UBA for the exercise explained that the bank “insisted” on their completing their BVN registration before they could be attended and this was the case in virtually all the branches.
A respondent in the survey described it as “UBA conscription for BVN”. The survey was conducted Monday to Friday last week covering all the six geo-political zones, using random sampling that involved face-to-face oral questions, e-mail, text messages and phone calls. The Survey Team comprises editorial staff on the Business Desk and up-country correspondents. ‘Volunteer Contacts’ at the request of team members, were also contacted to obtain responses in areas without formal representation. A total of 1,835 respondents were interviewed.
Respondents include male and female banks’ customers who cut across urban and semi-urban dwellers and belong to various professions, occupations and status. The survey questions were: 1. Are you aware of the Bank Verification Number (BVN)? 2. Have you done your Bank Verification Number (BVN)? 3. In which bank did you do the Bank Verification Number (BVN)? Out of the 1,835 interviewed, 1,702, representing 93 per cent, said they were aware of the BVN, while the remaining 133, or 7 per cent said they were not aware of the exercise.
A total of 1,405, representing 77 per cent of the 1,835 interviewed said they have registered for the BVN while 430 or 23 per cent said they have not. The registered banks’ customers also amount to 83 per cent of those who said they were aware of the BVN; while those who have not registered constitute 25.25 per cent. One thousand one hundred and one (1,101) respondents are male; while 734 are female.
Eight hundred and thirty-four (834) of the 1,101 male interviewed confirmed doing their BVN; while 562 of the 734 female interviewed said they complied. This represents 75.74 and 76.56 percent respectively. Reasons for not participating include, “I am not interested”, “The Central Bank did not create enough awareness”, “I don’t have the time”, “The queue in the banking hall is usually too lone”, “I don’t have enough money in the bank’”, “What about the customer information we supplied the other time?”, “I am not satisfied with the services of the banks”, “The bank will eat my money”.
Of the 1,405 banks’ customers who said they have done their BVN, 297 or 21.13 per cent registered with UBA; while 243 and 202 registered with First Bank and GT Bank representing 17.29 and 14.51 per cent respectively. Diamond bank registered 181 banks’ customers or 12.88 of the total 1,405 who complied with the exercise.
The least registration was recorded at Enterprise (now acquired by Heritage) Bank, while no registration was recorded with Unity Bank and Wema Bank among the surveyed population. The BVN was introduced by the CBN on February 14, 2014 to tackle the challenge inhibiting the effectiveness of the Know Your Customer (KYC) principle. The apex bank noted that the absence of a unique identifier in the Nigerian banking industry was a major challenge inhibiting the effectiveness of the KYC principle, with negative consequences on the growth of credit cards and other credit-related products.
The BVN was introduced to complement the existing means of identification of customers, which include: the driver’s license; the International Passport; the National Identity Card; and the Permanent Voter’s Card. The CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee on February 14, 2014, launched the BVN as a centralized biometric identification system for the banking industry. According to CBN, “The Bank Verification Number (BVN) project is an initiative aimed at protecting bank customers and further strengthening the Nigerian banking system.
The Bank introduced BVN to all banks’ customers to address the absence of unique identifier across the Nigerian Banking Industry. The BVN is a number that enables a bank customer to have a single identity in the banking system. The full implementation was expected to enhance the effectiveness of KYC requirement, the safety and reliability of the payments system.”
The CBN listed the following as benefits of the project: Gives a unique identity that can be verified across the Nigerian Banking Indus- Continued from page 37 try (not peculiar to one bank); Customers bank accounts are protected from unauthorized access; enhance the banking industry chances of being able to fish out blacklisted customers; address issues of identity theft, thus reduce exposure to fraud and authenticate transactions without the use of cards, using only biometric features. A deadline of end-June 2015 has been set for customers to comply with the BVN requirement, failing which their accounts will be deemed to have incomplete KYC.