CBN Announces OPay, Moniepoint, and Other Payment Platforms Set to Resume New Customer Registrations

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the imminent resumption of new customer enrollment for mobile money operators, including prominent fintech firms such as OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint. CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso disclosed this during the 295th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday. At the meeting, the MPC opted to increase the interest rate from 24.75 per cent to 26.25 per cent.

Cardoso emphasized that the CBN has been in dialogue with numerous industry players to bolster their operational frameworks. He underscored the importance of implementing measures to curb money laundering and illicit financial flows, stressing the necessity for the sector to enhance both onboarding processes and the management of existing clientele.

“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.

In April, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) halted fintech companies from onboarding new customers, a decision perceived as a regulatory measure within the financial sub-sector under the leadership of CBN Governor Cardoso.

Addressing inquiries about the rationale behind this decision, the CBN chief dismissed assertions that the move signified a crackdown on fintech firms, asserting that such interpretations are “far from accurate.”

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 years 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 the 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 said the apex bank has had a major handshake with security agencies to identify the places to tighten regulations and surveillance in the sub-sector.

Cardoso said, “For that reason, we were concerned about 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 at this point, we have not revoked the licenses of any of the fintech organisations.”

Previously, there was a sense of unease among certain bank customers when the Central Bank of Nigeria implemented a ban on mobile money operators, including fintech firms, from enrolling new customers. Nonetheless, the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria showed support for the CBN’s directive.

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