See a bank account as a specific type of virtual wallet, designed to receive and store money paid into it. An account is a financial space created and maintained by a financial institution e.g. bank, asset management company, in which all transactions between a financial institution and a customer are recorded. This article will educate its readers on what corporate bank accounts are, and the documentation required to open a corporate bank account in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world.
First, a corporate bank account in Nigeria must be a current/checking account as the CBN has since prohibited opening of corporate entities as savings accounts. A corporate bank account in Nigeria is a “NUBAN” 10-digit account created by the bank/Financial Institution in the name of corporate/business entities, designed to receive and hold their business proceeds.
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Opening a corporate account can be quite tasking if one does not pay close attention to all the documents required – probably because the requirements are quite a few. This is why it is important to draw a checklist of required documents.
Documents Required to Open a Corporate Bank Account
Here is a checklist of the documents required to open a corporate account in Nigeria:
This includes all the pages of the incorporation documents received from the Corporate Affairs Commission. In this document, every detail about the company/business is stated. The details will include:
- RC/BN Number
- Certificate of incorporation
- Forms C07 and C02 (as applicable)
- MeMart (Memorandum of Articles)
- Other relevant documents
In short, just give the bank everything in the CAC package. Check this article to learn how to register your company/business with CAC.
Valid Identification of Directors & Signatories
All the directors and signatories of the company/business account being opened must present their government-issued valid ID cards and recent utility bills to the bank. In Nigeria, a government-issued valid can either be a:
- Voters’ Card
- international Passport
- Driver’s License
- National Identification Number (NIN)
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Bank Verification Number (BVN) of Directors & Signatories
BVN is a unique 11-digit number used by banks/financial institutions in identifying their customers or prospects. All the directors and signatories MUST present their BVNs to the bank.
This is a serious and un-waivable requirement to open a corporate/business bank account as proscribed by CBN.
Proof of address
This is very important to opening a corporate bank account in Nigeria. A proof of address/utility bill is a receipt or invoice issued by a biller, showing the address of the user of the utility. The operating location of the company/business must be clearly stated on the utility bill being presented. The utility bill must be recent i.e, 1-3 months old. Here are types of utility bills in Nigeria:
- Telephone bill
- Tenancy agreement/rent receipt
- Electricity bill
- Water bill
- Land use charge (for Lagos only)
- Waste bill
Passport Photo(s) of Signatories
The proposed signatories of the company/business account to be opened must present their passport photos. The passport photo, preferably, should:
- Be clear
- No eye glasses/sunshades
- No head-ties
- Lighting must be balanced, avoid glare
- Avoid laughing/frowning
- Show the signatory’s ears, neck, opened eyes, and face
Tax Identification Number (TIN)
The company/business must have been registered with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to open an account in Nigeria. The process of creating a Tax ID (TIN) is now fully virtual and fast. Click HERE to begin and end the process of creating a TIN for your company/business.
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A board resolution is a letter that states that the board od directors had a meeting and concluded to open the corporate account with the concerned bank, in an acceptable format. The board resolution:
- Should be signed by, at least, two (2) directors
- Must state the signing mandate of the proposed account
Two (2) References
A bank reference should confirm that banking relationship has been acceptable, without any defaults from your part. This is also very important to open a corporate bank account. The forms, to be provided by the bank, must be duly filled and signed both by the signatories of the proposed account, and the referee.
Here are some modalities about reference forms:
- The referee account can be from any Nigerian bank
- The referee’s bank account must be your account type, or one that requires even more documentation to open. For example,
- A business name (BN) can only stand as referee for another business name (BN)
- An LLC (RC) can stand as a referee for another LLC (RC) as well as a (BN)
- An individual current account cannot be used as reference for either LLC (RC) or (BN)
- A related party e.g., family member, self in another bank, etc. cannot stand as reference
- A duly signed reference can only be valid for 6 months before presentation
Other Relevant Licenses/Documents
If your business/company requires additional documentation to operate, you should present copies of those documents for the bank account opening.
For businesses that require SCUML to run, you must present a copy of your SCUML certificate for the account opening process. Read this article to learn how to register for SCUML.
For betting/gaming businesses, you can present your license for account opening. In most cases, your Approval-In-Principle (AIP) backed with a letter from the lottery board should suffice.
Once you are able to provide all stated here, most Nigerian banks can process and open your corporate account within 24 hours.