CBN bans banks, fintechs from international money transfer services



CBN governor, Olayemi Cardoso

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stopped banks and financial technology companies (fintechs) from international money transfer services while increasing the application fee by 1,900%.

The ban was announced in an official document from CBN dated Wednesday, January 31, 2024 which also contained the revised guidelines for the operations of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).

“All banks are prohibited from operating International Money Transfer services but can act as agents,” the CBN said in the document.

“Also, Financial Technology Companies are not allowed to obtain approval for IMTO. The provisions of BOFIA 2020 on the prohibition of employment of certain persons in banks shall also apply to IMTOS.”

The CBN has also directed that individuals should be excluded from the management of banks, shareholders, and officers of a bank.

This development stretches from the initial guidelines of 2014 when only deposit money banks were prohibited with the apex bank also extending the ban to fintechs.

In the revised guidelines, the CBN also hiked the application fee for IMTOs who want to obtain a license from N500,000 in 2014 to N10 million, witnessing an increase of a staggering 1,900% in about a decade.

According to the document, any IMTO that is planning to do business in Nigeria shall submit its application to the Director, Trade and Exchange Department with the following documents, among others:

“A non-refundable application fee of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira only) or such other amount that the Bank may specify from time to time and payable to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft,” the document read.

“Approval to operate in other jurisdictions or agency agreement (for all IMTOs).

“Evidence of tax clearance and incorporation documents in Nigeria (for indigenous IMTOS) to include Memorandum and Articles of Association (Certified True Copy), of which the primary object clause shall indicate provision of money transfer services.”

The document showed that there will also be a yearly renewal at a fee of N10 million Naira, or any amount that the apex bank may specify from time to time.

It added that this annual renewal fee must be paid to the CBN via electronic transfer or bank draft on or before 31st January of that very year.

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