The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed commercial banks to develop apps and alert systems to update customers of their forex transactions: “Undue delays rationing and/or diversion of FX is strongly discouraged whilst DMBS [banks] are required to establish electronic applications and alert systems to update customers on status of their FX requests”. The apex bank just largely banned bureau de change operators in the nation [it will not sell foreign currencies to them] and mandated banks to ensure that they meet legitimate foreign exchange requests from customers.
The new directive is contained in a circular issued on Wednesday by the apex bank:
“Further to the Monetary Policy Committees (MPC briefing of July 27 2021 of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs are hereby reminded to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX requests for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA Business Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition fees, Medical payments, SMEs transactions, amongst others. In this regard DMBs are also required to adequately publicise the locations of the designated branches and make necessary arrangements to sell FX to customers in cash and or electronically in compliance with extant regulations…As communicated during the briefing, toll-free lines have been set up at the CBN for bank customers to escalate unresolved complaints related to their FX requests,” the statement read.
So as it stands now, banks must “ensure that no customer is turned back or refused forex provided that documentation and all other requirements are satisfied equally”.
This directive opens a collision for some forex-focused fintech companies. Largely, banks are now mandated to join the fray and must build solutions to comply with what the CBN wants. My question is this: are we going to see a minor acquisition bump where some banks just decide to buy one of these fintechs instead of going to build one from scratch?
Not likely since the most important thing here is not technology, but the bank license which is the only thing CBN cares about. Yet, if you have apps in this domain, it may not hurt to shop around bank headquarters; they could pay good money.
What about it? Every bank in Nigeria now must have a forex app (web or mobile) to be in compliance. My prediction is that when e-Naira launches, a CBN API will interface with them to make every run seamlessly. The apex bank is going somewhere….just loading.
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