Nigerian banks open 6.5m accounts in Q1 2018 – In what seems to be a positive result of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) financial inclusion effort, Nigerian banks have added additional 6.5 million accounts in the first three months of the year.
This came as the number of active bank accounts in the country hits 70 million in March, against 63.5 million recorded in December 2017. Data obtained from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) also revealed that the total number of bank accounts (active and dormant) rose to 108.3 million. The increase in the figure of active bank accounts signifies a huge leap considering that in the whole of 2017, the banks, rather than adding, lost a total of 1.5 million active accounts.
Number of active bank accounts, which was put at 65 million in December 2016, plummeted to 63.5 at the end of 2017. Number of active bank customers (individual) also jumped from 59 million in December 2017 to 65 million in March, as six million individual customers opened accounts within the three months. The CBN is seeking to achieve 80 per cent financial inclusion by 2018 and has introduced several initiatives, which include a nationwide cashless policy to achieve this target.
The recent growth may mean that the country is now in the right direction to realise the goal. Meanwhile, only 45.1 million, out of the total 70 million active accounts, have been linked with BVN, as at the end of March, leaving a total of 24.9 million unlinked according to the NIBSS data. This was in spite of the fact that the banks have made some strides in the BVN enrolments. The March BVN figure shows that additional 3.8 million accounts were linked between January and March this year.
In order to address the absence of a unique identifier in the Nigerian banking industry and to facilitate the creation of inclusive financial services environment, the CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, had launched the BVN Project on February 14, 2014, with biometric solution, as a unique identifier for all bank customers.