Are All These Bank Requirements Really Necessary? — A Bank Official Explains

October 14, 2022

We’re in the days of 5G and cardless ATM withdrawals, yet somehow banks will still ask you to take out a newspaper ad just to correct the arrangement of your name on your own bank account. 

We listed some of the requirements we consider quite unnecessary, and got a bank official to explain why banks need them.

Why do prospective current account holders need references who already have current accounts?

To start, we’ll need to clarify what a savings and current account is meant to achieve. The savings account was designed initially to deposit funds, with limited withdrawals. This is very obviously not the case on our side of the continent. LOL.

A current account accommodates more transactions, which is essential for the business person. The bank doesn’t accept references from a savings account holder because it’s believed that, unlike a current account, the savings account holder doesn’t make use of their account regularly, may not be easily reachable, and can’t be a reliable guarantor if yawa gas.

Why do banks require proof of address? Can’t a homeless person have a functioning bank account?

They can have a tier 1 account. In this case, the bank marketers may just write down the address of the place they met the customer since it isn’t really necessary.

The challenge with this is, such type of account will have restrictions on the amount of money they can receive, and if an amount above the limit is received, the account is immediately restricted. Think of it as a fraud measure — the bank should be able to account for the legality of its customers.

The proof of address is required when the customer wants to upgrade their account to higher tiers and fewer restrictions. So why not just fulfil the requirements from the beginning?

Utility bills too. What if I owe NEPA; does this affect my ability to open an account?

The accounts that require a utility bill are the tier 3 accounts — the highest level of savings account in Nigeria. In simple terms, you can have as much money there as you like.

And honestly, the bank doesn’t care if you owe NEPA or not; that’s your wahala. They just want to make sure the address you gave them exists, and you actually live there.

Why’s it necessary to take out a newspaper ad just to make a small name adjustment? Isn’t the affidavit enough?

You know how the country only recognises your marriage under the law when you have a court wedding? The newspaper ad shows you’ve officially changed your name under law, and the country now has your new name on record. The affidavit is legal too, but the newspaper ad is an additional public notification.

Is my mother’s maiden name really necessary to make changes to my account?

It’s not entirely necessary. It’s just more of a security question to prevent unauthorised persons from accessing your account. It’s not foolproof, which is why other documents and your signature are also required.


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