By Babajide Komolafe
MILLIONS of bank customers were yesterday denied access to their bank accounts due to failure of banks to link their accounts to their Biometric Verification Number (BVN).
Vanguard investigations revealed that bank customers that had obtained the BVN from one bank, and had submitted it to other banks where they also have accounts, discovered that their accounts in the other banks had been blocked.
According to Mr. Stanley Chima, “I had done my BVN through Access Bank, and submitted it to UBA last week. This morning I discovered the UBA account has been blocked, because it was yet to be linked to my BVN.”
He was one of the many customers that besieged banks’ branches across the country with similar problems.
A bank staff who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity however blamed bank customers for the problem. She said that many customers did not submit their BVN for linkage to other accounts until last week, and the result was piles of BVN linkage request that could not be concluded as at the October 31st deadline.
She said though it takes just five minutes to process each request and link the BVN to the customer’s account, the problem is that the staff processing the request are also the ones that had to attend to those who came for BVN enrolment last week.
She said in addition to this, some customers sent their BVN to friendly bank staff who promised to help link it to their account, but forgot to do so until the deadline expired.
Vanguard investigations however revealed that customers in Diaspora also had problems linking their BVN to their bank accounts.
Linking of bvn to accounts
For example, Mr. Umeh Ricky Kelechi, a customer in Diaspora complained that all attempts to link his BVN to his First Bank account had been unsuccessful.
“For two weeks now I have been trying to link my BVN, which I have done via the linkage form, SMS and even sent countless of email and have not received any confirmation. I linked my BVN via online to my accounts in other banks, which didn’t take me 24hours but Firstbank has not answered me in two weeks,” he said.
It would be recalled that the CBN had last week advised bank customers to link their BVN to accounts with other banks. In a statement issued on Thursday, the apex bank said, “The point needs to be stressed here that it is not enough to just enroll for BVN. The process is duly concluded only when all accounts owned by a bank customer are linked to his or her BVN. What is left therefore is for the remaining account holders to get their accounts linked to BVN.”