The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently issued a regulatory framework for agent banking operations, which includes several restrictions to mitigate financial sector risks.
The central bank prohibited all agents from using POS terminals designed for merchants to conduct cash-in and cash-out transactions. This was revealed in a circular announcing the Exposure Draft of Nigeria’s Regulatory Framework for Agent Banking.
According to the CBN, the agent banking initiative has resulted in the proliferation of financial services agents across Nigeria, resulting in a significant and growing portion of financial transactions being conducted through the agents.
“This has necessitated the review of agent banking regulations to streamline activities in agent banking while ensuring that appropriate risk mitigation measures are taken by stakeholders,” it said.
Section 8.3 of the guidelines which highlighted prohibited activities for agents stated: “An agent shall not accept deposit or allow withdrawal above an amount which shall be prescribed, from time to time by the bank.
“Use the wrong option for transactions e.g agents shall not use the purchase option PoS Terminals for cash-in and cash-out transactions.”
The ban is part of a more extensive list of 16 prohibited activities for bank agents, which includes accepting cheques and conducting foreign transactions.
Some of the other key restrictions in the guideline are:
- Agents must not operate or carry out any transaction when there is a communication failure with the Financial institution (FI).
- Must not carry out a transaction where a receipt or acknowledgement cannot be generated. Agent must charge customers’ fees outside the regulated fees regime.
The CBN has also warned agents to avoid transactions that do not generate a receipt or acknowledgement. In addition to the abovementioned restrictions, the circular prohibits agents from conducting transactions in foreign currency.