First Bank Restructures 15% of N1.8trn Loans as NPL Falls to 8.8%

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By Dipo Olowookere

In the first six months of 2020, FBN Holdings Plc said it restructured 15 per cent of its total loan size of N1.8 trillion to minimise vulnerability.

The company made this disclosure at an analyst’ call on Monday, adding that it now has limited exposure to sectors mostly affected by COVID-19.

During the call also witnessed by Business Post, the company, which promised to increase its loans to the real sector of the economy, stated that in the first three months of this year, it restructured 6.0 per cent of its lending to customers.

The year 2020 has been under the control of coronavirus disease, causing many businesses to shut down or reduce their workforce, while the global economy has not been spared.

In Nigeria, some businesses are finding it hard to pick up and to make things easier for them, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has allowed those who borrowed from banks to restructure their repayment plans.

In June 2020, Business Post reported that 32.94 per cent of the total loan portfolio of the banking industry in Nigeria may good bad with borrowers unable to repay the credit facilities as at when due.

At a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the CBN, the Deputy Governor of the bank in charge of Financial System Surveillance, Ms Aisha Ahmed, had raised an alarm that 17 banks had submitted requests to restructure about 32,000 loans amounting to several billions of Naira going bad because of the current situation, noting that the non-performing loans (NPLs) ratio stood at 6.6 per cent at end April 2020, compared with 11.0 per cent at end April 2019.

“As at end-May 2020, staff reports indicate that 17 banks submitted requests to restructure over 32 thousand loans for individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic, representing 32.94 per cent of the total industry loan portfolio, with the manufacturing and general commerce sectors constituting the bulk of the restructured facilities,” she had said.

During yesterday’s conference call, First Bank said it was actively pursuing recoveries on loans written-off, noting that it was also rebalancing its loan portfolio by extending advances to the real sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, trade, retail/consumer and Agric & Agro-allied sectors, including telecommunications.

At the moment, 19.8 per cent of the lender’s total loan book of N1.759 trillion is in the manufacturing sector (versus 16.5 per cent in H1 2019), while the oil/gas upstream has 17.2 per cent (17.9 in H1’19), with oil/gas downstream controlling 8.7 per cent (8.6 per cent in H1 2019) and oil/gas services having 7.9 per cent (7.8 per cent in H1 2019).

Further analysis of the First Bank’s N1.8 trillion loans showed that 51.0 per cent are in local currencies, while 49.0 per cent account for foreign currencies; though the firm said it plans to increase local lending.

It was also observed that 50.4 per cent of the loans are maturing in one year, while those maturing between 1 and 3 years account for 28.0 per cent, with 3 to 5 years accounting for 6.4 per cent and above five years accounting for 15.2 per cent.

In the first half of the year, First Bank has reduced its NPL ratio to 8.8 per cent from 9.9 per cent it was in the 2019 full year.

A breakdown showed that much of the NPLs are in the agriculture sector, accounting for 14.8 per cent. The manufacturing segment has an NPL of 4.4 per cent, real estate has 11.2 per cent, oil/gas upstream has 6.0 per cent, oil/gas downstream controls 5.5 per cent, while others have 11.3 per cent.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via

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