Nigerian banks begin closing accounts suspected of crypto transactions

Nigerian banks begin closing accounts suspected of crypto transactions


Employees failing to monitor accounts in their system will be penalised, an internal memo said

Less than a week after the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered all commercial banks to freeze accounts conducting cryptocurrency transactions, an internal memo from one of the prominent banks suggests that the process has begun.

Reports from local publication Leadership revealed that the memo instructed all employees to monitor and report accounts with significant transaction volumes or other signs that could indicate its usage in crypto trading. Employees deliberately failing to do so will be penalised for holding the bank back from fully abiding by the regulations put forth by CBN, the memo stated:

“We wish to reiterate that the CBN is strictly monitoring non-compliance with the directive on the closure of all accounts involved in cryptocurrency for high impact regulatory sanction.”

Staff members were also advised to immediately close any accounts suspected of transacting or operating cryptocurrency exchanges. The internal communication also highlighted that every employee was responsible for monitoring accounts, transactions and customers within their system.

The requirements set by CBN also instructs banks to shut down accounts of unlicensed fintech firms with a large volume of daily transactions and any account that contains cryptocurrency for memorandum or business. Further, any account that receives or makes numerous payments to multiple beneficiaries is also being red-flagged.

This has led to personal accounts with large inflow and outflow being closed under the suspicion of crypto interactions. Even small business accounts whose daily sales are greater than what is expected and expat accounts sending money home are also being targeted. 

“Sad that my Naira account I use in supporting Family in Nigeria was blocked by the Confused CBN yesterday,” a verified Twitter user said.

Responding to CBN’s decision, Senator Ihenyen, Senator who also leads the Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria, stated that the regulation was unjust and beyond the bank’s jurisdiction. He pointed out that only the Nigerian legislature had the authority to oversee crypto regulation.

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