CEM REPORT, FINANCE | Mobile Banking agents in the country have been expressly restricted from opening accounts or granting loans to their customers.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reviewed some of the operational guidelines of mobile banking agents in the country in its Exposure Draft of the Regulatory Framework for Agent Banking in Nigeria published on its website.
The CBN said the review became necessary with the proliferation of agent banking across the country.
“This has necessitated the review of agent banking regulations to streamline activities in agent banking while ensuring that appropriate risk mitigation measures are taken by stakeholders”.
The CBN banned mobile banking agents from;
“Open accounts, grant loans or carry out any appraisal function for purposes of opening an account or granting of a loan or any other facility except as may be permitted by any other written law to which the agent is subject.
“Undertake cheque deposit and encashment of cheques. Accept deposit or allow withdrawal above an amount which shall be prescribed, from time to time, by the bank.”
The circular signed by Musa I. Jimoh, Director of, the Payments System Management Department, noted that agents should avoid using the wrong option for transactions such as the use of the purchase option on PoS Terminals for cash-in and cash-out transactions.
“An agent shall not accept deposit or allow withdrawal above an amount which shall be prescribed, from time to time by the bank.
“Use the wrong option for transactions e.g agents shall not use the purchase option PoS Terminals for cash-in and cash-out transactions,”
Also, the financial regulator restricted the PoS agents from performing foreign currency transactions, opening accounts or disbursing loans to their customers.
[READ ALSO] E-Transaction Fall Amidst Cash Scarcity
Furthermore, the circular noted that “the agent bank employee also should not be a staff of any financial institution and also provide cash advances.”
Mobile banking is CBN’s financial inclusion strategy of bringing banking services close to the unbanked population of the country.
The duplication of mobile money and point of sales (POS) agents across the country has relieved the pressure on banking staff in the banking hall.
However since the cash crunch hit, POS and mobile money agents have been out of business. Those in operation charge up to 10% per N1,000 transaction.