The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released the approved regulatory framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) and watchlist operations for the banking industry. The framework, which was posted on the apex bank’s website yesterday, provides standards for BVN operations.

It also defines the establishment and operations of a watch-list for the banking industry. According to the CBN, this is “to address the increasing incidences, of frauds, with a view to engendering public confidence in the banking industry.”The watch-list comprises a database of bank customers’ identified by their BVNs, who have been involved in confirmed fraudulent activity in the banking industry in Nigeria. Under the framework, par-ticipants in BVN operations include the CBN, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) and bank customers. It also listed entities that are allowed to have access to BVN information to include, DMBs, OFIs, Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), Payments Service Providers (PSPs), law enforcement agencies and Credit Bureaus.

In addition, the framework stated that change of customer BVN records, for instance, name change, will only be allowed if supporting documents are attached and if it (name change) is not done more than twice a year. Similarly, it stated that change of date of birth would only be allowed once with supporting documents, adding that minor corrections due to errors will also be allowed if supported with valid means of identification.

Significantly, the CBN stressed that appropriate penalties will apply to any bank that fails to enlist on the watchlist, individuals confirmed to be involved in fraudulent activity, adding that it will also penalise any other stakeholder who fails to perform its stipulated responsibilities.

In the same vein, it stated that a watch-listed individual would not be allowed to enter into new relationship with any bank. According to the CBN: “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.”

Besides, the CBN stated: “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.”