Malawi bank integrates biometric National ID system for KYC checks

Malawi’s FDH Bank is the first in the country to integrate the biometric National Registration Bureau (NRB) National Identity database to perform Know Your Customer (KYC) validation, Nyasa Times reports.

Malawi’s National ID program was launched in 2017, and enrollment of citizen data including fingerprints reached roughly half of the country’s 18.6 million people by November of that year.

“This agreement cements the integration of the NRB National ID system with FDH Bank’s KYC system which will enable validation of KYC details provided to the bank by customers using the NRB National Identification Database,” says FDH Bank Managing Director Eric Ouattara. He says the bank will develop an API to improve the efficiency of financial services by leveraging the national database.

The integration is also expected to improve account linkages, and credit rating accuracy, according to the report. The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) expects the country’s banks to have all integrated the NRB system by September of this year, and launch its use by October 1. RBM issued a directive to that effect in 2018, saying the National ID system will be used as the primary identification tool for new account openings. Banks are expected to authenticate customers against their National ID Cards with the NRB after acquiring KYC details.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported the National ID project, and the agency’s Technical Advisor Tariq Malik says the agreement will enable FDH Bank to manage risks, combat identity theft, and prevent money laundering and financial fraud.

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