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If You Run a Current Account in Any Commercial Bank in Nigeria, There is a New Directive from CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the father of all banks in Nigeria. The apex bank oversees the activities of all commercial banks, microfinance banks, mortgage banks, and the like operating in the country.

Not only that, the CBN also determines the extent of operation of any bank in the country. The CBN determines the Capital Base in which banks operate. The more your capital base, the wider you operate as a bank.

For instance, banks like First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), Access Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), and a few others paid the highest capital base set by the CBN and so, they have different branches in each state of the country.

In addition, as the overseer, the CBN is also responsible for the implementation and enforcement of financial policies on all subordinate banks in Nigeria.

In discharging her duty of policy implementation, the CBN had earlier directed all banks should no longer allow the use of old cheque books for financial transactions and hence, the compulsory use of the newly created standard cheque book by customers.

Sometime last year, the CBN approved a new cheque standard. In the new cheque, a new digit will be placed on the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) code line. Also, the expiry dates of the new cheque books will be well written on the MICR code line.

In the directive, the CBN stated that the new cheque standard will outrightly be implemented as from January 1, 2021.

But as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBN now deems it fit to extend the phase-out of the old cheque books till March 31st.

This decision of the Nigerian apex bank was made known in a circular sent to all Deposit Money Banks, accredited cheque printers/personalisers and Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NISS).

In the circular titled ‘RE: Circular on the revised Nigeria cheque standard and Nigeria Cheque Printer Accreditation Scheme’, the body mentioned that the circular is a clarifier for the stakeholders who had misinterpreted her intended purpose.

In the circular, the body laid emphasis on March 31, 2021 as the new for phase-out date for the old cheque books. And that from April 1, the old cheque will no longer be tenable.

The part of the circular which concerns the phase-out date read, “The parallel run, in which old and new cheques are allowed to co-exist, will end on March 31. Only new cheques will be allowed in the clearing from April 1, 2021.

“Full enforcement of the second edition of the Nigeria Cheque Standard and the Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme version 2.0 will commence 1st April 2021 and the NCS/NICPAS 2.0. Sanction grid will he fully operational on 1st April, 2021.”

In another part of the circular, the CBN gears the various banks in the country to sensitise their customers about the latest development. Also, the body highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic as the sole reason why the initial deadline date was shifted.

“All Deposit Money Banks are directed to actively enlightened their customers and ensure necessary provisions are put in place for a smooth migration to the new standard.

“The extension of the full implementation date from 1st January 2021 to April 1, 2021 is due to outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on the Nigeria Cheque Standard and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme version 2.0 project.”

So, if you operate a current account with any commercial bank in Nigeria, kindly visit your bank to request for the new cheque book. You really do not need to wait for the bank to message you before making your own move.

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