News & Events

JUN 2023 NEWS Aluko & Oyebode

The Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”) on 3 May 2023, issued the approved guidelines for the regulation of representative offices of foreign banks in Nigeria (the “Guidelines”).

Representative offices were statutorily recognised under the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act. Prior to the issuance of the Guidelines, all that was required to operate a representative office in Nigeria was to obtain a formal approval from the CBN. The CBN approval letter would typically set out the permissible activities of representative offices in Nigeria.

The Guidelines were issued to facilitate the understanding of the regulatory requirements for operations of representative offices in Nigeria. Among others, the Guidelines specify licensing requirements for representative offices of foreign banks, their permissible and non-permissible activities as well as their governance, reporting, and operational requirements. We note that certain provisions in the Guidelines mirror the requirements in other jurisdictions in Africa, notably Ghana and South Africa.

In relation to the licensing requirements, foreign banks intending to establish representative offices in Nigeria must obtain a licence from the CBN. Two notable requirements are:

  1. – certificate from a recognised audit firm affirming the revenue recorded during the year, which must be submitted not later than 28 February every year;
  2. – written confirmation from the Head of the office of compliance with all the requirements in the approval document of the representative office, before 31 January of the following year;
  3. – a quarterly report containing a summary of the activities of the representative office, including credit facilities granted by its parent or related parties to Nigerian borrowers;
  4. – reports on any incidence of fraud, theft, or robbery.


CBN Issues Approved Guidelines for the Regulation of Representative Offices of Foreign Banks in Nigeria – Download the Publication