The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a new policy allowing bank customers to open new accounts without deposits.
According to a statement by the CBN, bank customers are now free to open new accounts without deposits.
The directive is contained in the Monetary, Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Guidelines for Fiscal Years 2016/2017 guidelines posted by the CBN on its website.
Before now, commercial banks usually ask for cash deposits from customers who wish to open new accounts in order to cover operating cost.
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This was used as a way of discouraging them from abandoning the account opening process before completing the relevant documentations.
CBN Says No More Initial Deposits
The amount charged for the initial deposit is usually non-refundable, except when the customer desires to close the account.
Initial deposits charged by banks are usually between N1,000 and N5,000 for savings accounts and N10,000 and above for corporate accounts.
The CBN said the new policy directive is in line with its commitment to encourage banks to improve their deposit mobilisation efforts while promoting the financial inclusion initiative.
The statement read,
“The CBN shall continue to encourage banks to improve their deposit mobilization efforts.
“In line with the financial inclusion initiative, banks shall be required to allow zero balances for opening new bank accounts so as to make banking services accessible to the unbanked public.
“Accordingly, banks are encouraged to develop new products that would improve access to credit and simplify their account opening processes, without compromising the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements.
“Financial institutions should not conduct any business with persons/entities who fail to properly identify themselves.”
The CBN also reminded financial industry operators to continue to apply the principle of KYC as specified in the CBN Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Regulations stipulated in the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Regulations (BOFIA) Act, 2013.