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Financial Inclusion: CBN to promote zero balance account opening

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Real sector owing Nigerian banks N19.54trn as borrowing grows 21%

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has restated commitment to further deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria by promoting opening of new bank accounts with zero balance.

This was contained in its report titled, ‘Monetary, Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Policy Guidelines for Fiscal Years 2020/2021.’

According to the report, the apex bank gave this directive to deposit money banks (DMBs) to ensure greater financial inclusion in the country.

The banks are expected to simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements

CBN further urged the banks to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.

“As part of its effort towards promoting greater financial inclusion in the country, the bank shall continue to encourage banks to intensify deposit mobilisation during the 2020/2021 fiscal years,” the report read.

“Accordingly, banks shall allow zero balances for opening new bank accounts and simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer requirements

“Banks are also encouraged to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.”

The report added that the shared agency network expansion facility (SANEF), established to enhance the provision of financial services access points in under-served and unserved locations will continue in the 2020/2021 fiscal years.

Banks, mobile money operators, and super-agents shall continue to render returns in the prescribed formats and frequency to the CBN.

The apex bank said the national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS) was devised to enable adults in Nigeria have access to a broad range of formal financial services that are affordable, meet their needs, and provided at an affordable cost

The strategy was revised in 2018 with focus on five targets: females; youth within the age bracket of 18-25 years; rural dwellers; North-West and North-East regions; and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

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