Nigeria’s banking sector forges ahead - CNBC Africa

Nigeria’s banking sector forges ahead

Western Africa

by Dara Rhodes 0

Post the crisis, banks have come out stronger. PHOTO: Getty images

After the massive bank industry clean up in 2009 by suspended Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Lamido Sanusi Lamido, to prevent the industry from collapsing, Nigerian banks have made an impressive recovery.

According to Sanusi, some of the reasons the industry failed was because of major failures in corporate governance within banks and weaknesses in the business environment.

“I think it’s clear that post the crisis, banks have come out stronger. The way we look at it is not only that they are stronger from a capital stand point and a cleaner balance sheet but also from a governance standpoint,” Omar Hafeez, CEO, Citi Nigeria told CNBC Africa.

“The big change is that governance has become the top on the list of things to do and I think that does well for the market,” he said.

As the country opens up more opportunities for investors, banks in conjunction with the federal government will need to take maximum advantage.

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“The way I look at it is that, all the opportunities that are coming out whether in oil and gas or power, I think we are well primed in Nigeria to take ownership of those opportunities and as I look out, I see several of the banks going out to raise capital,” he explained.

Pre-empting the opportunities that will come down the road, Citi Nigeria has been more focused on institutions and the large cooperates to position itself adequately for the local Nigerian market.

“The opportunity is constantly shifting so it’s not like you can look at a market and say it’s getting exhausted. I think the fact that the market is moving towards more sophisticated products plays strength.”

The bank has been in Nigeria for 40 years and it specialises mainly in corporate banking and servicing corporate clients.

“Generically, any market that is moving up the curve, plays towards strength because we have a product offering which is global and it’s a matter of tailoring that to the local market,” he added. 

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