Business News

OPay, PalmPay, Others to Resume New Account Opening Soon

Opay PalmPay

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Yemi Cardoso, has disclosed that in the next few months, mobile money operators offering digital banking services like OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint, would resume the enrolment of new customers.

Mr Cardoso stated this on Tuesday after the 295th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank in Abuja, when he announced an increase in the interest rate by 150 basis points from 24.75 per cent to 26.25 per cent.

The apex bank chief said the engagements have taken place with many stakeholders in the sector on the need to strengthen their operations, saying the decision was to halt money laundering and illicit flows after the sector recorded incredible growth in the last few years.

He said, “The 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 added.

In April, the apex bank stopped fintech companies from onboarding new customers, a move that has been seen as a clampdown on the financial sub-sector by the Mr Cardoso-led CBN.

He defended that reports that the CBN has decided to clamp down on fintech firms are “furthest from the truth”.

“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 regulator 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,” the CBN chief stated.

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.

“For that reason, we were concerned concerning 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,” Mr Cardoso added.