By Babajide Komolafe & Samuel Oyadongha
LAGOS — The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said the deadline for banks’ customers to update their account information would not be extended.
“The deadline would not be extended,” Mohammed Abdullahi, Deputy Diretor, CBN, told Vanguard on phone yesterday. “Since Friday we have placed advertisement in six national newspapers informing the banking public that the deadline would not be extended,” he said.
The initial deadline for customers to update their account information was December 31. The CBN, however, extended the deadline till yesterday following complaints that the initial one month period was inadequate.
The apex bank in the said advertorial, however said: “No further extension of the guideline would be granted. Therefore, customers of banks and other financial institutions who would have failed to update their account information by January 31 will not be permitted to operate such accounts until they would have updated their account information.
“The account update is part of global practice to enhance customer due diligence, CDD, to deter money laundering and terrorism financing activities.”
Customers besiege banks
Meanwhile, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, customers besieged banks’ branches in a bid to beat the January 31 deadline.
Vanguard investigation revealed that most bank customers who had earlier collected the update forms before the initial December 30 closing date did not bother to avail the banks with the needed information in the wake of the new CBN deadline for the submission of such data.
This, Vanguard gathered, was partly responsible for the mad rush in most of the banks in the capital city as customers struggle to beat the deadline.
It was also an opportunity for business centres to make quick money as none of the banks was ready to avail the customers their photocopying machine to duplicate their ducuments such as national ID cards, drivers licence or international passports needed for the exercise.
Virtually all the major streets hosting banks in state capital recorded large volume of human and vehicular movement with the policemen on duty having difficulty in controlling the chaotic situation on the roads.
Some of the banks had to restrict the collection and submission of the personal data forms to their security post as a result of the influx of customers that besieged their premises.
The problem of customers was further compounded when some of the banks rejected forms given before the initial December 31 closing out but which were returned yesterday.
These customers who came late with their forms were issued another set of forms by the management of the banks who described the new forms as the upgraded version of the rejected forms.
A banker who spoke anonymously blamed the rush in most of the banks and the attendant traffic jam in the streets hosting banks in the capital city on laxity on the part of some customers.
“They (customers) had all the time to complete this simple process but waited until the closing date,” she said adding that the rowdiness in most of the banks and the flurry of movement on the streets could have been avoided if only the customers had used the one month extension to formalize the process.
The personal data update “Know Your Customers”, which most customers took for the granted the source said was designed by the apex bank, in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the United Nations Office in Drugs and Crimes, UNODC, to combat money laundering and terrorism-financing activities as stipulated by CNN’s anti money laundering/combating of financial terrorism regulation and 2004 money laundering act.