CBN to Lift Ban on New Customer Enrollments for Mobile Money Operators

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that mobile money operators, including prominent fintech firms like OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint, will resume enrolling new customers within the next few months.

This was disclosed by CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, during the 295th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja.

The meeting also saw the MPC increase the interest rate from 24.75 percent to 26.25 percent.

Governor Cardoso stated that the CBN has been in discussions with various fintech players to enhance their operational robustness.

He emphasized that the measures being implemented are aimed at curbing money laundering and other illicit financial flows. “We have introduced remedial measures to help the sector tighten up on onboarding and managing existing clientele. I am confident that these issues will be resolved in a few months, allowing the sector to resume normal operations under a much stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

In April, the CBN temporarily halted fintech companies from onboarding new customers.

This move was perceived by some as a crackdown on the financial sub-sector under Cardoso’s leadership.

However, the Governor clarified that this perception is incorrect.

“The reports that the CBN is clamping down on fintech firms are far from the truth,” Cardoso asserted. He highlighted that fintech companies have not been subjected to any extraordinary measures.

The CBN, he said, remains proud of the progress and contributions of fintech firms over the years and will continue to support and strengthen them. “Regulation is crucial in a sector that has grown so rapidly,” he added, pointing out the need to address illicit financial flows.

Governor Cardoso explained that recent examinations of illicit flows and money laundering, particularly within the less-regulated banking systems, underscored the need for enhanced oversight.

The rise of cryptocurrencies and associated risks further prompted the CBN to increase its regulatory scrutiny.

The CBN has been collaborating closely with security agencies to identify and tighten regulatory gaps within the fintech sector. “We were concerned about anti-money laundering issues and illicit flows within various sub-sectors of the financial industry. We felt it was necessary to pause and work with different players to strengthen regulations, not to push them out of business,” Cardoso explained.

He reiterated that the CBN has not revoked the licenses of any fintech companies during this period. “Our intention is to safeguard the financial system while supporting the continued growth and innovation of the fintech sector,” he concluded.

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