By Adedapo Adesanya
Agusto & Co. Limited, the pan-African credit rating agency and the foremost business information provider, has forecast a 16.5 per cent growth in the Nigerian banking loan portfolio.
This was released in its 2022 Nigerian Banking Industry Report which provides a comprehensive review of Nigeria’s banking industry and the near-term expectation for the Industry.
Agusto & Co. noted positively the resilience shown by the Nigerian banking industry in FY 2021, as the Industry’s loan portfolio grew by 21 per cent despite the weak economy and regulatory constraints.
“Notwithstanding the prevailing global supply constraints, the Russian-Ukraine crisis, and insecurity challenges that continue to hamper food and crude oil production in Nigeria, we anticipate a 16.5 per cent year-on-year loan growth in 2022 as more banks now have a better understanding of the macroeconomic headwinds,” it noted.
The firm noted in the report seen by Business Post that traditional sectors such as oil and gas, manufacturing, general commerce, and agriculture sectors are expected to drive the loan growth given the backward integration initiatives of obligors, the intervention activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the import-dependence nature of the Nigerian economy.
‘While the arbitrary cash reserve deductions and foreign exchange illiquidity would remain limitations to the growth of the Industry’s loan portfolio, we note that more banks are now favourably disposed to accessing the differentiated cash reserve requirement (DCRR) window to reduce the value of sterile restricted funds with the CBN.
“In the near term, we believe the Industry’s asset quality will remain acceptable, with the impaired loan ratio hovering around 6 per cent as at 31 December 2022. In our view, a proactive tightening of controls around loan origination and intensified loan monitoring will moderate the impact of the tough operating climate on the loan portfolio,” the report stated.
It was revealed that Nigeria’s banking industry remains well capitalised relative to the business risks undertaken and should remain so in the near term.
“In preparation for the full implementation of Basel III and based on the scheduled growth plans, we expect an increased appetite for perpetual bond issuances which qualify as additional tier 1 capital. We also believe that some banks will raise common equity tier 1 capital that will keep the Industry’s capital adequacy ratio above 17 per cent.”
Looking forward, “In FY 2022, Agusto & Co projects a decline in the industry’s net interest spread as the prevailing low yields on government securities, which dominate the industry’s investment securities, will moderate the impact of the uptick in interest rates. However, we anticipate an increase in the net earnings driven largely by higher trading income and electronic banking fees.
“Nevertheless, we note that the forthcoming elections and growing budget deficit have forced the FGN to modify several extant tax legislations which will moderate the banking industry’s profits. Overall, Agusto & Co expects the Industry’s pre-tax return on average equity to increase to 23 per cent (FY 2021: 20.6 per cent) in FY 2022.
“Our financial prospects for Industry are largely stable in the near term. We adjudge the industry as resilient and the current trend of banks adopting the holding company structure to diversify into other financial services segments while exercising control over subsidiaries should support the Industry’s profitability.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is also another vital prospect for Nigerian banks given that financial institutions with a strong capital base and efficient network across the continent are essential for the full implementation of AfCFTA,” it added.
Overall, Agusto & Co believes the banking industry’s performance will remain moderate in the short to medium term and on this basis, adding that the outlook for the Industry is stable.
Ecobank Assures Customers Sustained Excellent Service Delivery
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Customers of Ecobank Nigeria Limited have been assured of excellent service delivery as the bank celebrates the annual customer service week.
“For us as a bank, we are inspired by your confidence and support to us in numerous ways. We are proud to celebrate your trust in our products and services and use and reliance on them across our touch points. Indeed, your word-of-mouth recommendations of them make us delighted to serve you better,” the Managing Director of the company, Mr Bolaji Lawal, said in a statement issued by the lender.
The financial institution lauded its customers over their continued patronage and dedication to the brand, assuring that the bank will continue to meet and surpass their expectations with product offerings.
Mr Lawal said customers’ loyalty to the bank over the years has made the Pan African bank one of the most preferred financial institutions in the country.
He pointed out that the choice of this year’s theme, Celebrate Service particularly resonates with Ecobank’s philosophy that service is a game changer.
“It is the reason we are constantly investing in our technology and equipping our staff with the requisite skills and resources to provide you with the relevant solutions you need and cutting-edge banking experience,” he stressed.
Mr Lawal reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to implement their feedbacks, noting that “we will continue to be relentless in our efforts to make financial services readily and easily accessible to you.
“As your preferred financial partner, we are happy to listen to you and remain committed to tailoring our products and services to suit your lifestyle and power your aspirations. We will continue to evolve with you and innovate our products and services to make banking a more rewarding experience for you.”
Customer Service Week is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers daily. It is celebrated annually during the first full week of October. This year’s celebration holds from October 3 to 7.
Unity Bank, Lagos Food Bank Address Hunger, Malnutrition
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Food items worth millions of Naira have been donated to Ogundimu Ilaje, a riverine community in the suburb of Lagos, by Unity Bank Plc and Lagos Food Bank.
No fewer than 150 cartons of food items tagged Unity Box of Hope were distributed to hundreds of households in the underserved community.
The gesture is a collaborative initiative to support and promote interventions addressing hunger and malnutrition in communities.
It is also part of the strategic Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs) of Unity Bank aimed at sustaining the improvement of health and social well-being of communities it operates.
The lender, in a statement, further said it supported the programme because its goals align with the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, a non-profit organisation committed to providing welfare programmes to indigent people.
The donation comes on the heels of the worsening economic situation in the country, especially with the soaring food inflation at 23.12 per cent as of August 2022, which has alleviated hunger in many households.
Addressing the beneficiaries at the venue of food distribution, Mr Hillary Oguebo, Unity Bank’s Head, Corporate Resources, said the bank, as an agric-focused financial institution, was fulfilling its core mandate in line with Bank’s drive for food security, adding that the Bank is pleased to donate the food items to the community to help ameliorate the impact of the rising cost of food on them.
“Unity Bank has a financing business model that is principally anchored, amongst others, on boosting agricultural production, and it is also useful for those who have not benefitted from the bank’s Agric financing package to receive direct food intervention as it is being done today.
“Due to a lot of factors, especially growing insecurity, food production has been impacted severely, leading to historical food inflation. That has left many households struggling and battling hunger. So, this is a thoughtful gesture that we hope to sustain to reach as many Nigerians who deserve this form of intervention at this critical period,” he stated.
With a score of 28.3, the Global Hunger Index ranks Nigeria 103rd out of 116 and classifies the country’s hunger level as serious. This is a result of the country’s growing food insecurity, which has risen to more than 80 per cent from less than 20 per cent about three decades ago.
Unity Bank has led some of the most important critical interventions in the agric sector in Nigeria in the recent past and boasts significant investment in the Agric sector over the past six years and a track record of financing smallholder farmers that spur food production through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Through a CSR initiative that feeds households in underserved communities, the Bank is redefining CSR through strategic interventions that align perfectly with its business model.
FCCPC Records Decline in Complaints from Customers of Digital Loan Sharks
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it has recorded a significant reduction in the number of consumer complaints regarding illegal digital money lending activities.
Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, said this in a statement via the agency’s Twitter handle on Wednesday.
Mr Irukera attributed the reduction in complaints from customers of digital loan sharks to the enforcement embarked on by the FCCPC joint taskforce.
“I agree that some activities of digital money lending institutions have destroyed relationships, whether professional or personal, and that is why we are doing all we can.
“I will be the first person to agree that there is a problem out there.
“Messages are still coming, harassment is still coming, but frankly, we have been tracking this for a while,” he added.
The FCCPC boss said that the complaints were the lowest recorded in the last two years, following several enforcements embarked by the commission.
“This is the lowest it has been in two years. From March, when we started this enforcement, there has been a significant reduction.
“I will say that after our enforcement last month, we counted probably less than 25 per cent looking at the tracking of the complaints that came in.
“But 25 per cent is not it, we will keep doing what we are doing, even adding more,” Mr Irukera said.
He said that the task force would continue to set the guard rails and make the loan shark businesses difficult.
“Wherever we find their bank accounts, we lock it down, whatever applications they are using, we go to google, we take them down,’’ Mr Irukera said.
He said that in pursuant to the order of the commission, Google had taken down over 70 applications, and the FCCPC had locked out over 60 bank accounts.
The executive vice chairman said Flutterwave had also taken down a dozen applications.
Mr Irukera appealed to members of the public to send their complaints relating to illegal money lending activities to email@example.com.
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