CBN: 10 Banks Have N1.5tr Negative Capital


By Ayodele Aminu, Emele Onu in Lagos and James Emejo in Abuja, 07.30.2010


Ten banks that failed a joint examination conducted last year for 24 of them by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) currently have a negative capital of N1.5 trillion, the apex bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has said.And in furtherance of on-going reforms, Sanusi said the CBN intends to ban banks from owning registrars. This, he explained, is to avoid the situation in the past where the companies were used to manipulate shareholding and capital as well as facilitate other abuses in the system.


He also expressed concern at the growth trend of the economy, especially the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which he noted has improved significantly but is yet to impact positively on the economy.Speaking yesterday at an interactive session with financial journalists at the 15th seminar organised by the CBN for finance correspondents and business editors in Benin, Edo State, the CBN Governor said “although the 24 banks have bad loans, the 10 banks’ negative capital is N1.5 trillion.”


The non-performing loans in the industry is estimated at N2.2 trillion, with the rescued banks that  failed the last audit exercise, namely Union Bank, Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Bank PHB, Spring Bank, Oceanic Bank,  FinBank, Wema Bank, Unity Bank and ETB accounting for the N1.5 trillion.Sanusi however, said by the end of the recapitalisation exercise, it is hoped that the banks will return to positive capital position.The CBN boss had at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting last month in Abuja disclosed that although the banks had started declaring profit, they were yet to come back to a positive territory.


He further explained that the profits declared in small millions of naira were insignificant, compared to the loss of capital of over N200 billion in some of the banks. Sanusi’s address centered on the reasons for the intervention of CBN in the sector last year; how CBN is dealing with the shocks; the banking reforms and the future of the financial industry as well as the economy.


He pointed out that everything the monetary authority has been doing translates to rebuilding confidence in the banking sector; the creation of sound and safe banks as well as making banks contribute to the growth of the real economy.The CBN boss said over N300 billion has been recovered by the banks so far out of their huge non-performing loans. He stressed that after the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has bought over the bad loans of the banks, it will become the responsibility of AMCON to go after the predator borrowers that move from one bank to another using the same collateral as security to obtain loans.


“The AMCON will be owned by the Nigerian government, so  if these debtors have been having it easy with the banks, when AMCON owns the loans, they had better come and pay. They can come and restructure and  reach agreements. Anybody who has the need to pay and refuses to pay must pay; we will try to recover as much of that money as we can and because we are part of the federal government. We’ll use all the legal instrument at our disposal to make sure that we recover those debts,” said Sanusi.


He said the CBN is contemplating a single Registrar for the financial industry, adding that the final decision on the workability and operational modalities will be decided by the Financial Sector Regulatory Coordination Committee (FSRCC), comprising the CBN, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other related bodies.He stated that he is worried about growth in the economy, particularly the GDP, which he argued is not impacting positively  on  the economy. The CBN had last Wednesday announced second quarter GDP growth of about 7 per cent for 2010.


Sanusi said that rate does not translate to growth of the economy in real terms as it fails to empower the people, in a situation where the growth drivers such as agriculture are not growing at the right pace. He cited inadequate access to credit and agriculture, which is at about 1 per cent of banks’ lending as a major reason.“The government is not happy with 7 per cent if it does not create jobs. It is better to have a 5 per cent growth rate when jobs are being created than 7 per cent growth rate where jobs will not be created for a very small percentage of Nigerians.


“Telecommunications and oil and gas sectors can grow without increasing their labour force because they are technology based. We want to influence growth in labour intensive areas where people can feel the impact of development,” he added.Sanusi challenged all stakeholders in the banking system to be part of the reforms, as either depositors, shareholders, bank managers, regulators among others. He said the CBN recognises the fact that regulatory failure contributed to the crisis in the banks. He stressed that after its current focus on the banks, the banking watchdog will come back to re-examine and judge itself with respect to its role in the crisis.


Sanusi said what the nation needs to guarantee the sustainable progress of the banking system is to create those circumstances that can cause the mindset of the people to imbibe change. He added that it was in that spirit that the monetary authority decided to enforce the guidelines on the tenors of CEOs and directors of banks as contained in the governance code of 2006.Sanusi said as governor of the apex bank, he does not need to stay at the helm of affairs for too long to make a change, stressing that a single tenor is good enough for him to impact positively on his areas of mandate.


On Savannah Bank, Sanusi pointed out that the CBN will give the bank all the support that they  need to open their doors, adding :“That is consistent with what we have given other banks in difficulty but it is not for the central bank to be working towards drawing a business model, looking for  partners for them.”






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