Nigeria’s banking regulator will issue a fresh circular to the West Africa nation’s lenders after some failed to meet a deadline to ramp up lending.
“All banks have strived to meet it, but not all did,” Ahmad Abdullahi, director of banking supervision at the Central Bank of Nigeria, said in a text message on Monday, without elaborating. The authority will issue another notice to banks on the directive, he said, without being more specific.
The central bank in July gave banks until the end of September to show that they use at least 60% of their deposits for loans, or risk being punished with more onerous cash-reserve requirements. The measure was among a raft of regulations aimed at forcing banks to boost credit — mainly to farmers, small- and medium-sized businesses and consumers — as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration seeks to reignite economic growth.
Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele has said banks that haven’t complied will be sanctioned by Oct. 1.
Nigerian lenders increased loans by more than N800 billion or $2.2 billion in a bid to avert sanctions, including to industries targeted by the government, Abdullahi said, without giving details. Total credit extended by the banking industry amounted to N15 trillion at the end of 2018, according to data compiled by the country’s statistics agency.
The deadline draws to a close at the end of the day with only two out of the nation’s six biggest banks meeting the requirements as of June 30. The firms had lost some of their appetite to extend credit after bad loans surged in the wake of a crash in crude prices, but are now starting to make headway into consumer lending amid the constant pressure from regulators.
Most of Nigeria’s biggest banks fell short of regulator’s 60% threshold
The short notice given to banks to comply with the rule, as well as desperation to avert sanctions, probably led some of the lenders to trim the interest rates they charge on loans, compressing margins, Lamin Manjang, the chief executive officer for Standard Chartered Plc’s Lagos-based subsidiary, said earlier this month.
Lenders including Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and FBN Holdings Plc, which fell short of the requirement by end of the first half, didn’t respond to requests for comment on their current loan ratios.