Deposit Money Banks, DMBs, in the country can now operate mobile money wallets without getting approvals from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the apex bank has said in a circular on Thursday.
The bank however demanded that the banks maintain a 60% loan to deposit ratio to the real sector of the economy.
The CBN, disclosed this in a circular to DMBs with the title, ‘Operation of mobile money wallets by DMBs,’ on Thursday.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria remains committed to deepening financial inclusion in line with its objectives to achieve the national financial inclusion target of 80 per cent by 2020.
“To complement recent growth in the agent banking services under the Super Agent and SANEF initiative, and in recognition of the increasing demand for no-frills mobile money services, the CBN hereby directs that Deposit Money Banks shall henceforth not require prior approval to offer mobile money wallet services.
“DMBs are, however, expected to notify the CBN before the commencement of these services and are required to operate within the extant regulations on mobile money operations”, the CBN said.
The regulatory bank, in yet another letter to the DMBs, signed by the Director of Banking Supervision, CBN, Ahmad Abdullahi, titled, ‘Regulatory measures to improve lending to the real sector of the Nigerian economy’, it stated that, “All DMBs are hereby required to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio of 60 per cent by September 30, 2019. This ratio shall be subject to quarterly review.
“To encourage SMEs, retail, mortgage and consumer lending, these sectors shall be assigned a weight of 150 per cent in computing the LDR for this purpose. The CBN shall provide a framework for classification of enterprises/businesses that fall under these categories.
“Failure to meet the above minimum LDR by the specified date shall result in a levy of additional Cash Reserve Requirement equal to 50 per cent of the lending shortfall of the target of the LDR.”
According to the apex bank, it would continue to review developments in the market with a view to facilitating greater investment in the real sector of the Nigerian economy.