The Central Bank of Nigeria’s proposal to initiate a new banking sector consolidation is raising concerns among industry operators. According to findings. major banks with foreign subsidiaries currently control a capital base of N9.6 trillion. This data shows that five key banks have capital above N1 trillion each. An analysis of the current capital base data of leading commercial banks in Nigeria indicates that the proposed consolidation, which is yet to be fully conceptualized by the apex bank, will most likely affect national, regional and merchant banks. Many of these banks have not grown their capital base over the years in the manner their counterparts with foreign subsidiaries have grown theirs.
During his keynote address at the Bankers’ Dinner, CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, highlighted the need for banks to raise their capital base. This is necessary to service the $1tn economy projected by President Bola Tinubu, as well as to mitigate the effect of currency devaluation on bank operations. The Governor stated that the central bank would be directing banks to increase their capital. Findings indicate that seven tier-1 banks seem ready for the imminent recapitalization exercise.
Data shows that Zenith Bank emerged as the most capitalized bank in Africa’s largest economy with N2.07tn, followed by Access Bank with N1.92tn. FBN Holdings stands strong with N1.78tn, with GTCO in fourth position with N1.37tn, followed closely by United Bank for Africa Plc at N1.35tn. Two other banks that have surpassed the current capital base requirement of the CBN are FCMB and Fidelity Bank with N494bn and N479bn respectively.
However, sources reiterate that 22 other banks in the country are to begin seeking new investors to help them remain in business after the CBN disclosed the fresh capital base.