In a groundbreaking move set to reshape the landscape of microfinance banking in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced Licensing, Approval and Other Requests Portal (LARP) for microfinance bank (MFB) license applications.
This innovative online platform, slated to go live on September 25, was officially unveiled by Isa AbdulMumin, the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications.
The LARP, a digital manifestation of the CBN’s forward-thinking approach, is poised to overhaul the traditional, manual submission process for MFB license applications.
Speaking enthusiastically about this pivotal development, AbdulMumin stated: “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is pleased to announce the unveiling of a new online platform for the submission of microfinance bank (MFB) license applications, known as the CBN Licensing, Approval, and Other Requests Portal (CBN LARP).”
This digital transformation signifies the CBN’s commitment to modernizing its operations, with plans to phase out physical application submissions by the year’s end.
“The new online platform will eventually replace the current manual process wherein prospective applicants for MFB licences physically submit their applications to the CBN,” AbdulMumin explained.
With an eye on the broader horizon, the CBN intends to expand this digital platform to encompass other categories of licences. This move brings numerous advantages to the table, including a simplified application process, significant time savings, enhanced communication channels, and robust security measures.
AbdulMumin shared insights into the motivation behind this digital leap, saying: “By digitizing the application process, the Bank aims to improve accessibility, reduce paperwork, and expedite license approvals, benefiting both applicants and the economy.”
However, it’s not an abrupt shift. The CBN has outlined a transitional phase. Starting from September 25, applicants will be required to undertake a parallel run, submitting both hardcopy and online applications via the LARP.
To ensure a smooth transition, the cover letter for hardcopy submissions must reference a valid application from the online submission.
This parallel run is set to conclude on December 31, 2023, marking the end of manual submissions for hardcopy MFB license applications. From that point onward, the digital age of banking in Nigeria will be fully underway, streamlining processes, reducing bureaucracy, and contributing to the nation’s economic growth.
In an ever-evolving financial landscape, the CBN’s LARP initiative demonstrates the institution’s adaptability and commitment to fostering innovation within the Nigerian banking sector, all while facilitating access to finance for aspiring microfinance institutions.
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