Nigeria is the largest country in Africa in terms of population and nominal GDP; It is therefore understandable that Nigeria plays host to some of the most formidable financial institutions in Africa. A new generation of Nigerian banks led by Access, GTB and Zenith are emerging as dynamic players in the regional markets.
The Nigerian financial system has truly been transformed and revolutionized due to the increased use of digital technology. Some of the latest trends in this sector include digitization, mobile and SMS banking, payment services, artificial intelligence or chatbots for customer services, fintech companies and digital-only banks. These have ensured that these banks are constantly on their toes in terms of competition and are definitely more efficient.
In a publication by African Business – “Africa’s Top 100 Banks 2020: West Africa and Central Africa”, Nigeria’s Zenith Bank remains as a top performer; Access Bank wins Banker of the Year at the African Banker Awards; And the first bank has always remained strong in terms of capital base. Thirteen of the top 20 banks in this list were Nigerian commercial banks.
The primary law that regulates and directs the affairs and operations of banks in Nigeria is the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act which gives the Central Bank of Nigeria the power and authority to supervise and regulate the affairs of all banks and financial institutions. The Central Bank of Nigeria is the central bank and supreme monetary authority of Nigeria established by the CBN Act of 1958.
As of 2021, there are at least 41 Nigerian banks which include commercial banks, non-interest banks, microfinance banks, online-only banks, and merchant banks. These banks are classified according to their respective authority. Out of this number only a few commercial banks have international license. These include: Access Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Ltd, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Citibank Nigeria Ltd, and Ecobank Plc; while others are either regional or national.
It is easy to open a business bank account in Nigeria as a foreigner as long as all the compliance requirements are met. Although each of these banks has its own individual policies regarding bank account opening applications, the basic ones for all of them include the following:
1. Duly incorporated Nigerian company with evidence of registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This is perhaps the single most important document and the first requirement in the bank account opening process. Incorporation documents must show, among other information, the company name, incorporation number and date, registered or operating business address, tax identification number, biodata of directors and shareholders or beneficial owners, and the nature of the business.
2. Notarization of documents. Banks will require that non-Nigerian directors and shareholders or beneficial owners provide a notarized copy of external documents submitted to them such as identification documents such as the data page of a national passport, and the foreigner listed as a shareholder or beneficial owner Company’s incorporation document.
3. Bank Verification Number (BVN). BVN is an 11 digit unique identification for every individual in the Nigerian banking industry. As a statutory requirement, every director (and sometimes, shareholder and beneficial owner) listed on the incorporation documents will be required to be a nominee to the BVN. There are BVN Enrollment Centers around the world where non-Nigerian residents can go to apply for BVN.
4. Proof of registered or operating business address. Businesses are required to submit a copy of the proof of place of business of the company. Acceptable documents include utility bill (not older than 3 months) or lease/rent agreement of the business address.
5. Board’s resolution and letter of set-off. The bank shall request a board resolution signed by at least two directors or a director and the company secretary. This is an extract from your board meeting asking that an account be opened at the bank and that a certain level of control be given to certain people, directors or signatories.
6. Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC). Foreigners listed as bank account signatories must hold a valid Nigerian Resident Permit. CERPAC is valid and renewable for at least one year. Some foreigners will appoint a local director as bank signatory, subject to certain resolutions, while the foreigner will take control of Internet banking.
7. References from two Nigerian companies with existing bank accounts. You will be required to be introduced by two Nigerian companies that operate a business bank account in any Nigerian bank. It is assumed that your introducers are well-known to you and can attest to your ability and good standing.
8. Registration with Standard Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML). The agency is entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring, supervising and regulating the activities of Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFIs) in line with the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act ML(P) Act 2011 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) 2011. ,
9. Initial Bank Deposit. Most banks have a minimum account opening deposit; i.e. the minimum amount to be deposited in the account at the time of opening the account to ensure that the account is active. Usually, some part of these funds will be debited taking into account the verification search and bank check and issue of token, if applicable.
How long does it take to open a business bank account in Nigeria?
Once all required documents are complete, and depending on how fast the bank can verify all submitted information, some banks may proceed to open your bank account within 24 to 72 hours, while the verification The bank account remains inactive when it expires. Verification can last two weeks or longer depending on the complexity of the process. You can open a local currency (Nigerian Naira) account and accounts in other international currencies such as British Pounds or United States Dollars. Transfer of funds across borders would be possible by opening a foreign currency account.
It is also a standard practice to appoint an Account Manager, an Account Officer or a Relationship Manager to assist you in following the account opening process, managing your accounts with the bank and serving you at any time when you require assistance. will be responsible for. Bank while your bank account is in use.
Can you open a business bank account in Nigeria without travel or residency?
Yes, talk to your advisor about setting up your next Nigerian company and opening a bank account.