THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) with regional authorization shall henceforth be required to operate from one additional geo-political zone in the country.
It should be noted that the number of commercial banks with regional authorization stands at three. These are DMBs having a capital base of N10 billion and restricted to operate within a geographical scope of a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 contiguous states.
Banks with national authorization are banks with a capital base of N25 billion and are allowed to operate in all states of the federation but barred from having offshore operations.
Also, with the licensing of Taj Bank Limited last year as a non-interest bank with regional authorization there are now two non-interest banks operating in the country.
But a circular from the financial policy and regulation department of the CBN, signed by Mr. Kelvin Amigo stated that effective June 26, all banks with regional authorization shall be required to operate from one additional geo-political zone as may be prescribed for each institution by the apex bank, “without prejudice to the existing requirement of minimum of two (2) geo-political zones of the federation.”
This, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, is pursuant to Section 8 (g) of the CBN Scope, Conditions & Minimum Standards for Commercial Banks Regulations No.  2010 as revised on September 4, 2019; and in furtherance of its objective to promote financial inclusion.
It therefore prescribes additional requirements for licensed regional banks (commercial and non-interest), which essence is to promote spread and balance of regional banks across the country.
“The Compliance timeline to establish operational footprint at the advised zone shall not exceed six months from the issuance of the regulatory advice to each regional bank by the CBN,” the circular read in part.
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