Some Nigerian banks are beginning to open dollar accounts for their customers immediately they receive deposit request from International Money Transfer Operators.
It was gathered that Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank, Access Bank and Fidelity Bank among others automatically open dollar accounts for their customers in order to enable them receive remittances in dollars.
WorldRemit- an International Money Transfer Operators (IMTO) licensed by the CBN, made this known in a note to its clients.
WorldRemit explained that banks had been ordered to create dollar accounts for recipients of remittances through international transfer.
It said, “Following the new directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria, transfers with WorldRemit are now only available in US Dollars. Therefore, it is not possible to send a transfer in naira; this will come back as a failed transfer.
“Before you send, check that the recipient has a US Dollar account with a supported bank. If you transfer funds to a recipient who doesn’t have a USD account, their bank may automatically create a USD account for them.”
The operator said it was working with only few banks that automatically creates US Dollar accounts for their customers.
The apex bank had last month raised an alarm that its policy mandating IMTOs to pay diaspora remittances beneficiaries in dollars was being flouted.
As a result, it directed that all mobile money operators to disable wallets from receipt of funds from IMTOs, following suspected abuse of policy guidelines by the IMTOs.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the bank analysed data on IMTOs inflows into the country over the past year, and found out that some IMTOs, rather than compete on improving transaction volumes and create more efficient ways for Nigerians in the Diaspora to remit funds, resorted to engaging in arbitrage arrangements on the naira-dollar exchange rate.
In its response to the new policy, WorldRemit, said it welcomed the CBN announcement that all Nigerian banks will be mandated to facilitate money transfers by automatically opening US Dollar bank accounts for those who do not currently have US Dollar bank accounts.
“This development ensures that all international money transfers will be successfully processed even if senders enter naira account details for transactions.
“Further to this announcement, the CBN also stated that a $2,000 withdrawal limit will apply to these accounts,” it said.
The Country Manager, Nigeria and Ghana, at WorldRemit, Gbenga Okejimi, said, “We are very pleased by the CBN’s decision to mandate Nigerian banks to help citizens who do not have a USD account by automatically providing this facility on their behalf. This development will make all the difference to those who receive support from family and friends abroad.”