Despite Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) effort to promote financial inclusion, Nigerian banks lost over 2 million customers between 2016 and 2017.
According to statistics from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), the number of active bank accounts also reduced by 1.5 million, dropping from 65 million to 63.5 million.
The statistics obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria from the NIBSS website on Sunday, showed that the total number of bank customers dropped from 61 million in 2016 to 59 million in 2017.
According to NIBSS, the banking sector, however, made great strides in linking customers’ account using the Bank Verification Number (BVN).
The report showed that linked BVN accounts grew from 26 million in 2016, to 41.3 million in 2017.
According to a banking industry source, the reduction in banking customers is not unconnected to the Federal Government’s declaration to fight against corruption.
“When Buhari assumed office, many people abandoned their accounts, especially civil servants because of fear of investigation.
“While some out rightly closed down their accounts, others opted for gradual withdrawal so as not to raise alarm,’’ the source said.
The source, who works at one of the top five banks in the country, blamed the BVN for the low patronage of banking products, especially in the rural areas, where awareness was already very low.