Moniepoint, Opay other FinTechs to resume onboarding new customers


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

This update was provided by CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso during the 295th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the apex bank in Abuja, when the MPC jacked up the interest rate from 24.75 per cent to 26. 25 per cent.

Governor Cardoso explained that the CBN has been engaging with these operators to enhance their operational frameworks.

The goal is to mitigate risks related to money laundering and illicit financial flows.

As part of these efforts, the CBN has introduced remedial measures aimed at tightening the onboarding processes and managing the existing customer base more effectively.

“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 said.

In April, the apex bank prohibited fintech companies from onboarding new customers, in what has been interpreted as a crackdown on the financial sub-sector by the Cardoso-led CBN.

When asked why the apex bank made the decision, the CBN chief stated that reports that the CBN had decided to crack down on fintech firms were “furthest from the truth.”

He said, “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 apex bank 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 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.”

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.

Cardoso said, “For that reason, we were concerned with respect to 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 at this point in time, we have not revoked the licenses of any of the fintech organisations.”