Banks to capture customers’ finger prints next year
Abuja – Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Lamido Sanusi, said the bank would begin capturing of biometric data of bank customers to ensure better services.
Sanusi disclosed this in Abuja at the signing of a contract with Dermalos Ltd, a German company that will handle the Banking Industry Biometric Solution Project.
He said the biometric database would boost customer’s confidence in the banking system and provide solutions to authentication, fraud, credit extension and financial inclusion, among other issues.
“The underlining issue facing many banks in Nigeria is lack of unique identity of Nigerian customers. “So, the first thing we need for any kind of transformation in the banking industry around money laundering, around fraud, around financial inclusion is to be able to properly identify customers.
“And the biometrics gives you a unique identification because you cannot change your finger.
“If a bank lends to you, it knows that it is you it has lent to, and it can reach you and have you pay; you are not going to take on a different identity.
“If you commit fraud in one bank or borrow from one bank, and do not pay, the next bank that wants to check your credit record will know that you have a history of bad loan.
“So, it improves the entire confidence around which the banking system is built on,’’ he said.
Sanusi also said that the biometric database would solve the problem of irregular signature, and also ensure more participation of uninformed people.
“We have a large population of illiterates. People go to ATM and cannot remember their pin numbers, but with biometric ATMs and POS, with your finger you can withdraw your money.
“And also, if you go to the bank and you don’t have your check book your finger is all the identification you require for you to take your money.
“ And it also solves the problem of irregular signature and so on. So, it is a transformational and revolutionary solution that will completely transform the Nigerian payment system,” he said.
The CBN boss said also that the initial stage of the biometric database would be completed within 90 days with at least one branch of every bank linked to the data base.
He said that after completing the database of commercial banks, the initiative would be extended to others like microfinance banks and mortgage banks.
Managing Director, Zenith Bank, Mr Godwin Emofiele, who is also the chairman of the biometric solution sub-committee, said the project would cost more than 50 million dollars at the initial stage.
He said that the banks would share the cost of the projects and no customer would be charged either directly or indirectly for the project. Deputy Director, Head Shared Services, Governor’s Department, CBN, Mr Chidi Omeono, said the project was a major milestone for the banking sector.
“Financial inclusion is what the CBN is pursuing, and what we are trying to do is to have a unique identification for our customers.
“What we are trying to achieve today is a situation where every bank customer is known for who he is in every bank of every branch as the same person.
“So it will help us to better identify our customers, and help us to align our payment system and achieve financial inclusion,’’ he said (NAN)