HomeBUSINESSOPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, Moniepoint to Resume Customer Enrollment - CBN 

OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, Moniepoint to Resume Customer Enrollment – CBN 

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Afor Kenneth

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that mobile money operators, including fintech firms such as OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint, will resume enrolling new customers “in another couple of months” after a temporary suspension.

CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso made this statement during the 295th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

The MPC also decided to raise the interest rate from 24.75% to 26.25%.

The CBN has engaged with these mobile money operators to emphasize the need for them to strengthen their operations. This move aims to enhance financial inclusion and provide an enabling environment for mobile money services in Nigeria

In April, the apex bank halted fintech companies from onboarding new customers, a move perceived as a crackdown on the financial sub-sector under the leadership of CBN’s Cardoso.

When questioned about the reasons behind the apex bank’s decision, the CBN chief denied reports that the CBN intended to clamp down on fintech firms, stating that such reports were “far from the truth”.

Cardoso stated that to prevent money laundering and illicit flows, the apex bank implemented “remedial measures that will help that sector to tighten up on onboarding and even existing clientele base”.

“I am confident that as time goes on, and hopefully in another couple of months, all these will be something of the past and then you will see that sector going back into what they’ve been known to do before, but certainly with a very stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

The CBN implemented a temporary suspension on fintech companies from onboarding new customers in April. However, CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso clarified that reports suggesting a crackdown on fintech firms by the CBN are unfounded.

The decision to halt new customer enrollments wasn’t specifically aimed at fintechs but was part of broader measures to combat money laundering and illicit flows in the financial sector.

The CBN’s objective is to bolster regulations and surveillance in this domain while continuing to support and fortify fintech entities. Consequently, mobile money operators, including fintech firms like OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint, are expected to resume enrolling new customers, likely within the next few months.

He said “the fintechs have not been singled out for any exceptional kind of treatment”, adding that the CBN remained proud of the exploits of fintech firms in the last number of year and the apex bank would continue to support and strengthen them.

“However, regulation is very critical in a sector that seems to have grown so incredibly rapidly,” Cardoso said, citing illicit flows within the sub-sector.

“More recently, we had course to take a deep dive look at the whole issue of illicit flows and money laundering particularly within the non-heavy regulated banking system and we all know some of the issues that came out with cryptos and some of the messages we put out after that, which of course, gave us some course to know that there is the need for heightened surveillance.”

He mentioned that the apex bank has collaborated closely with security agencies to pinpoint areas where regulations and surveillance in the sub-sector need to be strengthened.

Cardoso said, “For that reason, we were concerned with respect to how we saw the issue of anti-money laundering and illicit flows as they made their way within the various sub-sectors of the financial industry and we felt there was a need for us to take a breather and work with different players to strengthen regulations, not by any means to throw them out of business.

“Let me re-emphasise that as at this point in time, we have not revoked the licenses of any of the fintech organisations.”

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