Nigerian Central Bank Unveils Open Banking Guidelines

The Nigerian central bank recently said it had issued operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria which are expected to enhance efficiency and access to financial services. According to the central bank, some of the guidelines’ objectives include ensuring “consistency and security across the open banking system.”

Customer Permissioned Data Sharing

The Central Bank of Nigeria said on March 7 that it had issued what it called the operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria. According to the central bank, the guidelines are expected to foster the “sharing of customer-permissioned data between banks and third-party firms to enable the building of customer-focused products and services.” The guidelines are expected to enhance efficiency and access to financial services.

In a circular sent to financial institutions and payment service providers, the CBN said it had been aware of the “existence of an ecosystem for Application Programming Interface (API) in the financial and payments system.” It added that it also knew of plans to “develop acceptable standards among stakeholders.”

According to the CBN, some of the guidelines’ objectives include ensuring “consistency and security across the open banking system.” The central bank said it also hopes the guidelines, which were developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders, will promote competition as well as enhance access to financial institutions.

Open Banking Registry

To kick things off, the CBN said it will provide and maintain an open banking registry (OBR) which acts as the industry’s storehouse.

“The OBR shall be a public repository for details of registered participants. Each participant shall be identified by its CAC [Corporate Affairs Commission] business registration number, which shall be the unique key across the OBR system. The OBR shall maintain an API interface, defined within these guidelines, which shall serve as the primary means by which API providers manage the registration of their API consumers,” the CBN revealed.

Meanwhile, in its circular, the CBN said all stakeholders are required to “ensure strict compliance” with the guidelines as well as other regulations. For its part, the central bank said it will continue to monitor developments and may “issue guidance as may be appropriate.”

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Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

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