About Central Bank of Nigeria CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN is the central bank and apex monetary authority of Nigeria established by the CBN Act of 1958 and commenced operations on 1 July 1959.

The major regulatory objectives of the bank as stated in the CBN Act are to: 

Maintain the external reserves of the country, promote monetary stability and a sound financial environment, and act as a banker of last resort and financial adviser to the federal government. 

Central Bank’s Role 

The central bank’s role as lender of last resort and adviser to the federal government has sometimes pushed it into murky regulatory waters. 

After the end of imperial rule, the desire of the government to become proactive in the development of the economy became visible, especially after the end of the Nigerian civil war.

The bank followed the government’s desire and took a determined effort to supplement any show shortfalls, credit allocations to the real sector. 

The bank became involved in lending directly to consumers, contravening its original intention to work through commercial banks in activities involving consumer lending.

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Major Regulatory Objectives

The major regulatory objectives of the bank as stated in the CBN Act are to: maintain the external reserves of the country, promote monetary stability and a sound financial environment.

And act as a banker of last resort and financial adviser to the federal government. 

The central bank’s role as lender of last resort and adviser to the federal government has sometimes pushed it into murky regulatory waters. 

After the end of imperial rule, the desire of the government to become proactive in the development of the economy became visible, especially after the end of the Nigerian civil war.

The bank followed the government’s desire and took a determined effort to supplement any show shortfalls, credit allocations to the real sector. 

The bank became involved in lending directly to consumers, contravening its original intention to work through commercial banks in activities involving consumer lending.

Indigenization Policy

However, the policy was an offspring of the indigenization policy at the time. 

Nevertheless, the government through the central bank has been actively involved in building the nation’s money and equity centres, forming securities regulatory boards, and introducing treasury instruments into the capital market. 

The bank has thirty-six branches each in the 36 states of the federation and the headquarters in FCT.

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CBN Library

The Library is a standard library at the Headquarters and all other branches, it has information resources like journals, magazines, books of various fields of study can be used and the library is open for students, researchers and staff.

Authorising legislation

In 1948, an inquiry under the leadership of G.D Paton was established by the colonial administration to investigate banking practices in Nigeria.

Prior to the inquiry, the banking industry was largely uncontrolled.

The G.D. Paton report, an offshoot of the inquiry became the cornerstone of the first banking legislation in the country: the banking ordinance of 1952. 

The ordinance was designed to prevent non-viable banks from mushrooming and to ensure orderly commercial banking. 

The banking ordinance triggered rapid growth in the industry, and with growth also came disappointment. 

By 1958, a few banks had failed. To curtail further failures and to prepare for indigenous control, in 1958, a bill for the establishment of the Central Bank of Nigeria was presented to the House of Representatives of Nigeria. 

Central Bank of Nigeria Act No. 24

The Central Bank of Nigeria Act No. 24, 1958 was published as chapter 30 of the 1958 edition of the Laws of Nigeria and Lagos.

It was fully implemented on 1 July 1959, when the Central Bank of Nigeria came into full operation and remained the primary statute governing the CBN until its repeal by the Central Bank of Nigeria Act No.24, 1991.

In April 1960, the Bank issued its first treasury bills. 

In May 1961, the Bank launched the Lagos Bankers Clearing House, which provided licensed banks a framework in which to exchange and clear checks rapidly. 

By 1 July 1961, the Bank had completed issuing all denominations of new Nigerian notes and coins and redeemed all of the British West African pounds that were circulating in Nigeria.

Statement of CBN Core Mandate

The mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is derived from the 1958 Act of Parliament, as amended in 1991, 1993,1997,1998,1999 and 2007. 

The CBN Act of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria charges the Bank with the overall control and administration of the monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government.

The objects of the CBN are as follows:

  • Ensure monetary and price stability;
  • Issue legal tender currency in Nigeria;
  • Maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency;
  • Promote a sound financial system in Nigeria; and
  • Act as Banker and provide economic and financial advice to the Federal Government.

Consequently, the Bank is charged with the responsibility of administering the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), 2020.

With the sole aim of ensuring high standards of banking practice and financial stability through its surveillance activities, as well as the promotion of an efficient payment system.

In addition to its core functions, CBN has over the years performed some major developmental functions, focussed on all the key sectors of the Nigerian economy (financial, agricultural and industrial sectors). 

Overall, these mandates are carried out by the Bank through its various departments.

Consumer Protection

Bank Customers’ Bill of Rights and Duties

The Customer is the most important person in the economy and every business succeeds only when the customer is happy. This explains why the customer is regarded as King. 

As a King, the customer has many rights. But a King also has duties which he owes himself and the economy. 

In Nigeria, customers of banks have certain rights and duties guaranteed by law, regulation and conventions. 

This pamphlet articulates some of these rights and duties.

Your Rights as a Bank Customer

The Right to be informed: As a bank customer, you have a right to disclosure of information from your bank on goods and services the bank offers. 

The information provided must be complete, relevant and truthful. Your bank must explain to you understanding all contractual terms and charges prior to the consummation of any agreement or contract.

 This right enables customers to have relevant information in order to make rational choices. It amounts to a breach of your right if your bank fails to provide this information or deliberately misleads you in any way.

The Right to Choose:

You have a right to select from the range of products and services made available by your bank at competitive prices. 

This means that as a customer, you can, at all times, decide on the product or service to accept/purchase and the ones to decline. 

It is wrong for a bank to restrict your choices or compel you to accept/purchase products or services that are ill-suited for your needs. 

Where you are not satisfied with your bank’s service delivery on any product or service.

You have the right to end the contract or even the banking relationship provided all outstanding commitments are settled by the customer.

The Right to safety: 

This right requires a bank to guarantee all its customers a secure and conducive banking environment devoid of threats to their safety and health.

You have the right to be reasonably protected from accidents while on the premises of your bank. 

You also have the right to be protected from the negative effects of pollution of any kind whether arising from your bank’s operations or from other sources. 

It is necessary to stress that your bank is obligated to adhere strictly to applicable safety laws and directives to ensure that your safety and wellbeing are adequately guaranteed while you are on the premises of your bank.

The Right to privacy and confidentiality:

As a bank customer, you have the right to freedom from disclosure of your account details by the bank as well as intrusion into your account by third parties. 

In other words, your bank must not divulge your account information to a third party; the bank must also protect your information from unauthorised access by a third party.

There are, however, exceptions to this right as follows:

1. Where the bank is required by law to make disclosure; and

2. Where the customer consents to the disclosure.

The Right to redress:

A bank must provide its customers a redress mechanism to express their displeasure or grievance. 

The mechanism must be free, accessible, transparent, timely and convenient. You have a right to an efficient complaints management system through which you can lodge complaints against your bank. 

You also have the right to be kept abreast of the resolution process (acknowledgement, feedback, updates, explanation) and ultimately, basis of decision. 

Where you are not satisfied with the decision of your bank, you have the right of review either by your bank, the CBN or the court.

The Right to good service:

All customers have a right to value their money which involves the right to be treated with respect and dignity by banks and their representatives.

The hallmark of banking is customer satisfaction and as such your bank would have failed if it was unable to offer quality and value-adding banking services to you as a customer. 

Part of this right is that your bank must provide an appropriate response to your needs and complaints.

The Right to equality:

This right requires that a customer is treated equally as other customers regardless of differences in financial standing/deposit balance, physical ability, age, gender, ethnicity, or creed.

It is wrong for a bank to offer preferential treatment to some customers at the expense of other similar kinds of customers.

However, banks may decide to differentiate customers on account of the nature of products customers purchase or subscribe to. 

In this case, some customers may benefit from certain privileges which are features of specific products or services.

The Right to free monthly statement of account:

The provision of the Revised Guide to Bank Charges is that banks are required to provide their customers free statements of account on a monthly basis.

This means that you have a right to get your monthly statement of account from your bank at no cost. It should be noted, however, that the Guide provides that any special request attracts a fee of N50 per page.

Your Duties as a Bank Customer

Duty of knowledge and understanding: This represents the cornerstone of your duties as a bank customer and involves the search for relevant knowledge that should lead you to make informed decisions and enhance your benefits. 

Without adequate knowledge, customers are bound to make ill-informed decisions which may precipitate an avalanche of complaints from customers against their banks. 

It is generally agreed that sophistication in the banking industry has tasked the understanding of even people that are financially literate; it is, therefore, your responsibility to “shine your eyes” when dealing with your bank.

Duty of financial obligation:

This requires customers to repay credit facilities and pay mutually agreed interest on loans and other financial services rendered by their banks as and when due.

This is one of your major responsibilities to the extent that banks are established to provide loans and other financial services to you and other customers. 

Thus, you are obligated to ensure that payments or repayments to your bank are not delayed in order not to suffer penalties in the form of default charges.

Duty to protect instruments and information:

It is your duty as a bank customer to keep your cheque book, ATM and all information relating to your account like PIN, passwords and codes safe.

It is important to stress that a bank cannot bear responsibility for any loss incurred by customers as a result of their negligence in protecting vital instruments or information.

Duty to provide factual information and not to mislead the bank:

As a bank customer, you owe your bank and the society a duty to provide factual information about yourself and where necessary, about relevant transactions therefrom.

You should bear in mind that just as your bank is required to provide you with truthful information about goods and services it offers, you are also required to provide the bank with truthful information about yourself. 

You should also exercise reasonable care not to mislead your bank failing which you may be liable.

Duty to report suspected fraud or error:

Where you suspect a fraud or compromise, whether in your accounts or in respect of relevant information/transaction.

You are duty-bound to promptly report your discovery to your bank and relevant authorities accordingly. 

It is also your duty to report to your bank any wrong posting into your account so that such errors can be corrected immediately.

Duty of personal safety and safety of assets:

This duty is shared between you and your bank. Whereas banks are required to discharge their obligation by complying with relevant safety laws and directives, customers.

On the other hand, owe themselves a duty of personal safety while on the premises of their banks. 

For instance, it is the duty of customers to protect their assets like cars against theft while on the premises of their banks.

Although the foregoing rights and duties of bank customers are not exhaustive, they nevertheless, represent the core rights and duties. 

It is necessary to stress that these rights and duties are often unconditional even though there are instances where customers can only lay claim to their rights if they discharge their duties.

Bank Verification Number (BVN)

The absence of a unique identifier in the Nigerian banking industry has been a major challenge inhibiting the effectiveness of the Know Your Customer (KYC) principle.

With negative consequences on the growth of credit cards and other credit-related products.

To complement the existing means of identification of customers, which include: the driver’s license; the International Passport; the National Identity Card; and the Permanent Voter’s Card; the CBN.

In collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee on February 14, 2014, launched a centralized biometric identification system for the banking industry, tagged Bank verification Number (BVN).

The Bank Verification Number (BVN) project is an initiative aimed at protecting bank customers and further strengthening the Nigerian banking system. 

The Bank introduced BVN to all banks’ customers to address the absence of unique identifier across the Nigerian Banking Industry. 

The BVN is a number that enables a bank customer to have a single identity in the banking system. 

The full implementation was expected to enhance the effectiveness of KYC requirement, the safety and reliability of the payments system


The benefits of the project among others include:

  1. BVN gives a unique identity that can be verified across the Nigerian Banking Industry (not peculiar to one bank)
  2. Customers bank accounts are protected from unauthorized access.
  3. BVN will enhance the banking industry chances of being able to fish out blacklisted customers.
  4. It will address issues of identity theft, thus reduce exposure to fraud.
  5. In the near future, to authenticate transactions without the use of cards, using only biometric features.


The Bank issued circulars guiding the implementation of the project for all the DMBs, which stipulated the following:

  1. DMBs were required to enrol at least, 40 per cent of their customers on or before December 31, 2014;
  2. Customers with new loans must have the BVN as a condition precedent to drawdown, with effect from November3, 2014;
  3. Credit customers must have BVNs by December 31, 2014;
  4. Transactions valued at N100,000,000.00 (One hundred million Naira) and above should only be allowed for customers with BVN by March 2015;
  5. Banks’ customers without BVN by October 31, 2015 would be deemed not to have met Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

CBN in Collaboration with Banks

The CBN in collaboration with banks carried out various sensitization exercises which had been assisting in driving the stakeholders support for the project. 

The enrollment is still ongoing at about 5,000 locations. As at 7th June, 2015, the collaborative efforts in the implementation of the BVN initiative had resulted in the achievement of over 12.43 million registered customers in the central database.

The Bank is making an effort to ensure that all the bank customers wherever located, are appropriately captured. 

Currently, some of these customers are based in various countries across the globe and a framework will be put in place for capturing them.

Enrolment for BVN

At the point of enrolment for BVN, a bank customer is required to walk into any of the bank’s branches with a valid means of identification.

Fill and submit the BVN Enrolment Form, and present yourself for data capturing (such as fingerprint, facial Image, etc.) 

Thereafter, an acknowledgment slip with the transaction ID will be issued to the customer. 

Within 24 hours the system confirms the enrollment and a unique BVN is generated. The customer will immediately receive an SMS notification with the BVN.

Customers are expected to submit their BVN to their bankers for linkage to all their accounts.

A deadline of end-October 2015 has been set for customers to comply with the BVN requirement, failing which their accounts will be deemed to have incomplete KYC.

Bank Customers Beware

It has come to the notice of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) that certain unscrupulous individuals have been sending unsolicited mails and text messages to unsuspecting bank customers.

Alerting them about deactivation or suspension of their bank accounts due to uncompleted Bank Verification Number (BVN) registration process.

An example of such messages reads thus; “Dear customer, due to the new BVN policy by the CBN your account has been deactivated and to reactivate, call……”

The Central Bank of Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to warn individuals and the general public that those messages are intended to lure bank account holders to reveal their personal details with which the fraudsters could use to defraud them.

The public is therefore warned that neither the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and deposit money banks nor their employees or agents would ever call bank customers or send e-mail/text messages requesting for passwords, card details or personal identification number (PIN).

Bank customers are therefore advised to personally visit their banks for any issue requiring disclosure of personal bank details.


Use of BVN for FOREX Transactions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently mandated all banks and licensed Bureaux de Change (BDCs) operating in Nigeria to provide Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) as part of the requirement for the sale of foreign exchange to their customers. 

It has however come to our notice that some customers are reluctant in disclosing their BVN to authorised dealers and buyers because of

claims that there are attendant risks to the disclosure.

It is therefore imperative for the Bank to make the following clarifications:

The adoption of BVN as a condition for the purchase of FOREX is expected to reduce the incidence of multiple purchases, round tripping and illicit transfer of funds.

Facilitate Enforcement 

Facilitate enforcement of authorised limits of forex sales to end users, sanitise the retail segment of the market and engender policies that will facilitate better allocation of the forex, based on genuine demands.

The BVN is neither a payment instrument nor an account number and

therefore could not be used to access any account by unauthorised users. 

The banks, BDC operators and even regulators use the BVN to validate the identity of a customer using some biometric information such as fingerprints and photographs obtained at the point of enrolment.

The BVN provides the unique identity of each customer for the purpose of achieving effective “Know Your Customer” (KYC) principle and fraud


For the avoidance of doubt, the provision of BVN by customers at the point of Forex purchase or for any legitimate banking transaction with any of the above named institutions does not attract any security risk. 

Rather it protects the customer against identity theft. 

Customers can easily get their BVN from the mobile phone number submitted during the enrolment by dialling *565*0#.

Please be guided properly.

CBN Contact Details

The Central Bank of Nigeria is open for business Monday through Friday except on national holidays. Our working hours are from 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.
CBN Emails:
Complaints Against Financial Institutions:cpd@cbn.gov.ng
Forex Helpdeskforexcomplaint@cbn.gov.ng
Ethics & Anti-Corruption:ethicsoffice@cbn.gov.nganticorruptionunit@cbn.gov.ng
Website/Technical Issues:webmaster@cbn.gov.ng
Issues on CBN Branches:tellbod@cbn.gov.ng
CBN Phones:
Phone:+234 700 225 5226
Authorized Dealer Enquires:+234 9 462 37804, or+234 9 462 37802
Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS):+234 9 46237602
Ethics & Anti-Corruption Helpline:+234 9 462 39246+234 9 462 36000
Forex Helpdesk:+234 9 462 37827,+234 9 462 37831

Credits: The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN

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