Ahead of June 1, 2012 when the nation’s banking system commences full implementation of the NUBAN policy, banks across the country are making frantic efforts to ensure that all their customers update their cheque books in order not to be excluded from clearing.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had last month announced that May 31, 2012 was the final deadline for banks to comply with its directive on the Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN).
Accordingly, effective Friday June 1, cheques not having the NUBAN would be barred from the clearing system.
Recall that the CBN had earlier set a deadline of June 30, 2011 for compliance with the directive, however, finding that banks needed more time, an 11-month extension was granted, which expires at the end of this month.
However, LEADERSHIP checks revealed that while all the banks have fully complied with the issuance of the new 10-digit numbers, many customers have stuck to the old cheque book, apparently in order to exhaust it before requesting for new ones, more so, since a new one would be at the expense of the customer.
Since the weekend, banks have been bombarding their customers with text messages and e-mails urging them to order for the NUBAN compliant cheque books to ensure the non-disruption of their banking activities from the June 1 deadline that was set aside by the regulator.
First Bank in an SMS to Customers said: “Dear customer, note that from May 31, 2012, CBN will not allow cheques without NUBAN numbers for clearing. For a new cheque book visit any of our bank branches nationwide.”
Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) was more detailed in its e-mail to customers which read “We are pleased to inform you that the CBN has commenced the second phase of the NUBAN Project which entails migration to NUBAN compliant cheques and other clearing instruments by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
“In its bid to ensure compliance, the CBN has informed all DMBs that payment instruments, including cheques and drafts that are non-NUBAN compliant (do not display the new 10-digit account number), will not be allowed to pass through the Automated Clearing System from 1st of June, 2012. This applies to all individual and corporate clearing instruments.
“GTBank has completed the process for complying with this new directive. We would therefore like to request that you apply for a new GTBank NUBAN compliant Cheque Book today, to ensure non-disruption of your banking activities from 1st of June, 2012.”
The CBN had warned that from June 1, any institution that does not comply with the NUBAN would be sanctioned. It had also warned that any payment instrument not NUBAN-compliant with the scheme would not be allowed to pass through the Automated Clearing System from the aforementioned date.
The NUBAN scheme is a 10-digit account number for bank customers. The banking sector regulator had said the scheme was amongst others, meant to align Nigerian bank account numbers with international best practices and help in resolving the observed problems with electronic payments in the country.