ABUjA– Despite the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) to promote financial inclusion, Nigerian banks lost more than two million customers between 2016 and 2017, according to the latest statistics from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), which show that the number of active bank accounts also fell by 1.5 million, from 65 million to 63.5 million.
The data seen by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Sunday, showed that the total number of bank customers dropped from 61 million in 2016 to 59 million in 2017. According to the NIBSS, the banking sector, however, made great strides in linking customers’ accounts using the Bank Verification Number (BVN).
The NIBSS report showed that linked BVN accounts grew from 26 million in 2016, to 41.3 million in 2017. According to a banking industry source, the drop in the number of banking customers is not unconnected to the Federal Government’s declaration to fight corruption.
When (President Muhammadu) Buhari assumed office, many people abandoned their accounts, especially civil servants because of fear of investigation. While some closed down outright their accounts, others opted for gradual withdrawal so as not to raise alarm,” the source said.
The source, who works at one of the top five banks in the country, blamed the BVN for the low patronage of banking products, especially in the rural areas, where awareness was already very low.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK