By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Banks operating in Nigeria may suffer a drop in their profit in the first quarter of 2018 as a result in the slowdown in the supply of treasury bills, London-based rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has revealed.
In a statement issued yesterday by the firm, it said Nigerian banks may find it more difficult to sustain profitability given the decline in net treasury bill (T-bill) issuance in Nigeria’s 1Q18 issuance programme.
The slowdown in T-bill issuance marks a change of strategy as the government looks to increase its financing from external sources and longer-dated domestic issuances.
Record T-bill issuance in 2017 helped support the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s strategy to maintain Naira exchange-rate stability.
High yields on T-bills issued in 2017 (around 13%-14% on 90-day T-bills) attracted investors and helped to support the Naira.
An increase in oil export earnings and the introduction in April 2017 of the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing (NAFEX) mechanism, commonly referred to as the “Investors and Exporters’ FX Window”, also helped naira stabilisation during the second half of 2017.
Nigerian banks are highly reliant on net interest income for profitability and T-bills proved to be an important source of profits in 2017. Interest on securities represented 30% of total gross interest earned in 9M17, averaged across Nigerian banks rated by Fitch (2016: 23%).
By end-September 2017, government securities including T-bills represented more than 15% of the banks’ assets as new lending fell, reflecting weak credit demand, tighter underwriting standards and banks’ reluctance to extend new loans as they focused on extensive restructuring of troubled oil-related and other portfolios, Fitch said.
It noted that even the country’s largest banks cut back on new lending, with Guaranty Trust Bank’s stock of outstanding loans falling 10% during 9M17, FBN Holdings’ by 4.6%, Zenith’s by 3.7% and Access’s by 1.1%. United Bank for Africa’s loan book grew 5.6%, but this is likely to have been driven by non-Nigerian lending as the bank operates in 22 other African countries.
“We expect falling T-bill yields and lower issuance to put pressure on Nigerian banks’ profitability in 2018.
“The CBN’s latest issuance schedule shows NGN1.1 trillion (USD3.6 billion) of rollovers in 1Q18 against NGN1.3 trillion of maturing bills. In 2017, rollovers fully covered maturing bills,” the rating company said.
Fitch predicted that performance metrics at all banks will be affected by weak demand for lending, falling T-bill yields, lower foreign-currency translation gains and rising loan impairment charges, but the largest banks are best placed to withstand these challenges.
Operating returns are still strong at GTB (9M17 operating return on average equity (ROAE): 37%), Zenith (28%), UBA (22%) and Access (20%), while FBNH’s operating ROAE is lower (12%) but improving.
However, some second-tier banks with a 9M17 operating ROAE of 4%-6% may struggle to remain profitable in 2018.
“We highlighted falling profitability for Nigerian banks in our 2018 Outlook report for sub-Saharan banks, available by clicking on the link below.
“Our 2018 rating outlook for the Nigerian banking sector is negative, reflecting continued fragility in the operating environment and the Negative Outlook on the sovereign’s ‘B+’ rating,” it said.
Piggyvest Acquires Wealth Management App, Savi.ng
By Adedapo Adesanya
Top savings startup, Piggyvest, has acquired Savi.ng, a wealth management app that allowed users to save via various features like automated savings, fixed deposits, joint savings and PAYE.
This means that all existing Savi.ng users will be automatically migrated to Piggyvest and will continue the good work savi.ng team has started.
Explaining the build-up to the acquisition, Piggyvest revealed that it had spent the last six months preparing – laying foundations, building partnerships needed for the next phase of our growth.
“We have spent the last 6 months preparing —The first half of 2021 has been an intense building period for the entire Piggyvest team.
“Earlier this year, we began discussions to acquire a savings and investment company, Savi.ng and all its assets and we are more than proud to announce today that the acquisition is now completed,” it disclosed.
The company noted that 2020 was an incredible year as it saw tremendous growth even in a pandemic year as it paid N90 billion to users in the course of the year.
The company noted that so far surpassed this number already in the first half of 2021 and this necessitated the need to expand with the acquirement of the savings and investment company.
It noted, “We will continue to provide you with the best savings and investment options that we can, and you will continue to be part of a community of 3 million people (and counting!) in the Piggyvest family.
“All existing Savi.ng users will be automatically migrated to Piggyvest and we’ll continue the good work the savi.ng team has started. Our vision remains the same: financial freedom for all, and with this acquisition, we are a step closer.
“We believe in a connected ecosystem and our mission to give everyone the power to better manage and grow their finances remains ever strong.
“Our parent company, Piggytech Global Limited, continues to grow with a suite of consumer-focused finance products. We will continue to announce them as the year moves along.
“This announcement is one in a long line of announcements, improvements and updates that we will have for you as we continue in 2021.”
Fitch Affirms AfDB’s AAA Credit Rating
By Adedapo Adesanya
The global credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has affirmed the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) credit rating at “AAA”, with a stable outlook.
Fitch said the triple-A rating was driven by the extraordinary support of the bank’s shareholders.
Fitch said it views the bank’s risk-management policies as conservative and assesses them as excellent, in line with AAA-rated peers.
“Concentration risk is low, with the bank’s five largest exposures accounting for 32 per cent of total banking portfolio at end-2020,” Fitch said.
The Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer of the African Development Bank, Mr Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala said, “the affirmation of the bank’s triple-A ratings by Fitch, recognizes the very strong shareholder support our institution benefits from, as well as its strong capitalisation and risk management capabilities.
“The affirmation also speaks to the importance of the Bank’s public policy mandate, particularly during these very challenging times.”
The global rating agency assessed the bank’s overall exposure to risks as ‘Low,’ balancing ‘Moderate’ credit risk with ‘Excellent’ risk management policies, ‘Low’ concentration, and ‘Very Low’ equity and market risks.”
Commenting on the Fitch rating report, the AfDB President, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, said: “The African Development Bank welcomes the affirmation of the bank’s ‘AAA’ rating, with a stable outlook, despite enormous challenges posed by COVID-19.
“The bank will continue to enhance its policy and fiscal relevance in support of regional member countries, as they contend with the global and regional repercussions of the pandemic.
“While helping African economies reposition their economies in a COVID-19 environment, we will also maintain our prudential ratios and adequate buffers.”
15 Fidelity Bank Customers Share N39m in GAIM Promo
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
No fewer than 15 Fidelity Bank customers have gone home with N39 million in the Get Alert in Millions (GAIM 4) Season 4 savings promo of the financial institutions.
Two of the 15 lucky winners received N10 million each at the 6th/final draw of the campaign held last Thursday in Lagos in the presence of representatives of the National Lottery Commission and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
The two latest two-digit millionaires; Sunday Okeke of Matori Branch Lagos and Justine Nwaozor of Suleja Branch, Niger State, emerged as star prize winners of the promo.
According to Fidelity Bank, the duo and other winners were picked through a randomised and transparent draw system observed by the lottery and federal competition officials as well as officials of the bank.
Some of them were the Divisional Head of Product Development, Fidelity Bank Plc, Richard Madiebo; the Head of Savings Group, Fidelity Bank Plc, Ukpai Ibe; the Executive Director, Lagos & Southwest, Fidelity Bank Plc, Dr Ken Opara; amongst others.
The cash prizes were in the categories of N10 million, N3 million, N2 million and N1 million. In addition, 18 consolation prizes of television sets, fridges and generators were given out during the draws.
The GAIM savings promo is one of the bank’s many initiatives aimed at rewarding new and existing customers for their consistent loyalty and patronage and promoting the culture of saving among Nigerians.
It would be recalled that the promotion was halted in 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting global lockdown.
However, the resumption of the savings promo, according to the organisers, was an opportunity to enrich the lives of its customers even in times of economic uncertainties.
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