CBN Approves Dollar Sales By Payment Service Banks
The Central of Nigeria (CBN) has released supervisory framework for Payment Service Banks. The framework among other things empowered the PSB operators to sell foreign currencies, especially dollars, to authorised foreign exchange dealers.
The CBN framework also authorised the PSBs to accept deposits from individuals and small businesses, which shall be covered by the deposit insurance scheme; carry out payments and remittances (including inbound cross-border personal remittances) services through various channels within Nigeria.
The framework says the operators are expected to leverage on technology to provide services that would be easily accessed by the unbanked population and those who are in hard-to- reach areas of the country.
The framework focuses on corporate governance, risks management of the PSBs, and safety of funds to the consumers of the Payment Service Banks’ products.
This framework also aims to ensure that sound risk management practices are embedded in the operations of the PSBs.
The PSBs are required to comply with relevant extant regulations and CBN’s prudential guidelines and circulars which are issued periodically.
The CBN said PSBs are to operate mostly in the rural areas and unbanked locations targeting financially excluded persons, with not less than 25 per cent financial service touch points in such rural areas as defined by the CBN from time to time.
They are to enter into direct partnership with card scheme operators. Such cards shall not be eligible for foreign currency transactions; they can also deploy ATMs in some of these areas; deploy Point of Sale devices and be at liberty to operate through banking agents.
The PSBs have also been authorised to roll out agent networks with the prior approval of the CBN; use other channels including electronic platforms to reach-out to its customers and establish coordinating centres in clusters of outlets to superintend and control the activities of the various financial service touch points and banking agents.
The CBN also authorised the PSBs to accept deposits from individuals and small businesses, which shall be covered by the deposit insurance scheme; carry out payments and remittances (including inbound cross-border personal remittances) services through various channels within Nigeria; sale of foreign currencies realised from inbound cross-border personal remittances to authorised foreign exchange dealers.
The CBN said the PSBs cam also issue debit and pre-paid cards on its name; operate electronic wallet; render financial advisory services; and invest in Federal Government of Nigeria and CBN securities.
CBN said the PSBs were licensed to enhance access to finial services for low income earners and use technology to reach Nigerians in remote places where commercial banks find it difficult to operate.
According to the CBN guidelines, the PSBs are to offer smaller-scale banking operations and the absence of credit risk and foreign exchange operations.
In addition to operating current and savings accounts, they can also offer payments and remittance services, issue debit and prepaid cards, deploy Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and other technology-enabled banking services to the people, majority of whom cannot be reached by the conventional banks.
The PSBs are to facilitate high volume low-value transactions in remittance services, micro-savings and withdrawal services in a secured technology-driven environment to further deepen financial inclusion.
With N5 billion minimum capital requirement, the apex bank also authorised PSBs to sell foreign currencies (forex) realised from inbound cross-border personal (remittances) to licenced foreign exchange dealers.
“PSBs shall have the privilege to make their investments from the CBN window. All funds in excess of the PSB’s operational float should be placed with DMBs. PSBs shall participate in the payment and settlement system and have access to the inter-bank and the CBN colateralised repo window for its temporary liquidity management,” it said.
“PSBs shall render quarterly returns indicating the number of financially excluded customers on-boarded during the quarter to which the returns relate. All PSBs shall be required to interface with the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) platform in order to promote interconnectivity and interoperability of operations within the Nigeria banking system,” it added.
The CBN, in furtherance of its mandate to promote a sound financial system in Nigeria and the need to enhance access to financial services for low income earners and unbanked segments of the society, has instituted the Payment Service Bank.
The key objective of setting up PSBs is to enhance financial inclusion by increasing access to deposit products and payment/remittance services to small businesses, low-income households and other financially excluded entities through high- volume low-value transactions in a secured technology-driven environment.
The PSB are to operate mostly in the rural areas and unbanked locations targeting financially excluded persons, with not less than 25 per cent financial service touch points in such rural areas as defined by the CBN from time to time; enter into direct partnership with card scheme operators.