Spiraling banking services, e-Naira debuts as Nigeria counts 61


Through Omodele Adigun

Of just five banks in 1960, when Nigeria gained independence, the demand for banking services over the past 61 years has grown by leaps and bounds, producing over 1,015 different banks, as has the central bank’s digital currency (CBDC) debuts on October 4, 2021.

These new banks fall into various categories, including 22 commercial banks; 35 mortgage banks; six development banks and 940 microfinance banks. The others are three interest-free banks; five investment banks; three payment service banks (PSBs) and the umbrella bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

In the past, the five pioneering banks for banking services in the country were the African Banking Corporation, a foreign bank, which later metamorphosed into the British Bank of West Africa (1892 to 1894), now the First Bank of Nigeria ; Barclays Bank (now Union Bank) which was formed by the Anglo-Egyptian Bank and the National Bank of South Africa, founded in 1925; British and French Bank for Trade and Industry (now UBA) in 1949; Nigerian Farmers and Commercial Bank in 1947 and African Continental Bank, owned by Nnamdi Azikwe.

Since then, the country has experienced many transformations and innovations in its banking sector. These include bank consolidation, introduction of 10-digit NUBAN number, cashless policy, bank verification number (BVN), electronic payment system, payment services bank ( PSB) to name a few.

The latest game changer, slated to launch on October 4, is e-Naira, the central bank’s digital currency (CBDC).

Commenting on this recently, CBN Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele said that eNaira will lead to increased cross-border trade, accelerate financial inclusion and lead to cheaper and faster remittances. He said digital currency would lead to easier targeted social interventions, as well as improved efficiency of monetary policy, efficiency of payment systems and tax collection. According to him, after its unveiling, Nigerians should be able to download the eNaira app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store, on board themselves and fund their eNaira wallet using their bank account or cash at a registered agent. .

“If you are a customer of a bank and you have for example N 10 million in your bank account, for your convenience of spending and purchase, you can tell the bank to charge N 2 million of your 10 million N in your wallet.

“So your physical cash bank balance drops to N 8 million, while your e-wallet increases to N 2 million. With this, you can make purchases in and across the country.

“There are so many variations of the eNaira. But this is where we would start because we are not going to pretend that it is safe to open your system. We looked at the different products, determined the risk, determined the best way to mitigate the risk before we opened it more and more, ”Emefiele added.


Last July, the CBN ordered banks to sell foreign exchange (forex) directly to customers.

He announced the immediate discontinuity of foreign exchange sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators, stating: countries to meet legitimate foreign exchange requests for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, travel expenses tuition, medical payments, SME transactions, among others.

“In this regard, DMBs are also required to adequately publicize the locations of designated branches and to make the necessary arrangements to sell currencies to customers in cash and / or electronically in accordance with applicable regulations.

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