CBN bans banks, fintechs from international money transfer services


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has prohibited banks and fintech companies from engaging in international money transfer services.

This directive, outlined in the revised guidelines for International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), was officially communicated on January 31, 2024.

The exclusion mentioned in the document pertains to individuals associated with the management, shareholders, and officers of banks.

The document reads: “All banks are prohibited from operating International Money Transfer services but can act as agents.

“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.”

In the previous guidelines issued in 2014, only deposit money banks were prohibited.

However, the CBN has extended the ban to fintechs.

The apex bank also increased the application fee for IMTO licence from N500,000 in 2014 to N10 million in the revised guidelines.

This is an increase of about 1,900% in about 10 years.

The document noted that any IMTO intending to operate 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; payable to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft.

“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.

”There is also an annual renewal at a fee of N10 million naira, or any amount that the apex bank may specify from time to time; payable to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft on or before 31st January of the year.It was also noted that the renewal of IMTO approval shall be done within the first quarter of every year, adding that where an IMTO fails to avail its agent bank of a copy of CBN renewal of its IMTO approval for that year within the first quarter of the year, the bank should cease any further transaction with the IMTO.

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About the Author: Olusola Sorinmade

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