Chronic debtors owe Skye, Diamond, Sterling, Fidelity banks N70.51bn

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CBN-Governor-Mr.-Godwin-Emefiele-360x225Some Deposit Money Banks on Monday (today) commenced the publication of the names of their delinquent debtors, with 269 companies and a few individuals owing four of the banks N70.51bn.

Our correspondent gathered that the 269 firms and the few individuals, who owed Skye Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc, had failed to service their loans for at least 365 days, thus forcing the banks to categorise them as non-performing loans.

Although the list includes firms with non-performing loans of 10 years and above, over 70 per cent of the debtors took the loans in the last three to four years.

More banks, it was learnt on Sunday, would publish the names of their debtors with non-performing loans during the week.

Going by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive, all the 19 banks as well as discount houses in the country are expected to publish the names of their delinquent debtors by August ending.

The publication of the debtors’ names follows the expiration of the July 31, 2015 deadline set by the CBN for the banks and discount houses to publish the names of debtor-companies, their subsidiaries and directors in national newspapers.

The central bank had on April 22 directed the financial institutions to commence the publication from August 1.

Banks and discount houses are to publish the names in at least three national newspapers on a quarterly basis.

In line with the directive, the banks gave the chronic debtors a three-month grace period, which expired on July 31.

While Skye Bank and Fidelity Bank had published their debtors’ lists on Monday (today), Sterling Bank and Diamond Bank were forced to withdraw their lists at the last minute on Sunday for further reviews after some of the debtors made efforts to renegotiate their loans at the weekend.

Fidelity Bank, which has about N6.66bn as the total published NPL figure, has a telecoms company, Starcomms, topping its list of delinquent debtors with approximately N3bn debt.

Other companies on the list are mostly energy, oil and gas companies. The total number of debtors on the list is 28.

Skye Bank, which had about N13.3bn in the NPLs, published 107 names of debtor companies and individuals.

Sterling Bank is owed about N3.37bn by workers’ unions, consultancy firms and other companies. The number of its delinquent debtors is 61.

Diamond Bank has about N47.17bn as the total NPL figure, with oil and gas companies, construction firms, state government investment companies and a state House of Assembly topping the list. The delinquent debtors’ list comprises 173 names.

The big names of popular Nigerians that characterised the 2009 list are so far absent on the current list. This is because the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has bought the debts.

However, AMCON has said it will publish the names of its debtors in line with the current CBN directive.

On Sunday that over 19 banks and discount houses operating in the country would publish the names of more than 1,600 debtors this week or before the end of August deadline given by the CBN.

Officials of financial institutions had confirmed to our correspondents on Saturday that they would publish the names of the debtors this week in compliance with the CBN directive.

Also on Saturday, the CBN ruled out the possible extension of the deadline on its directive to the banks to publish the names of their debtors.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Ibrahim Mu’azu, said there was no extension to the deadline.

As of the weekend, the debtors were said to be rushing to banks to renegotiate their loans.

The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mrs. ‘Tokunbo Martins, had said, in a circular dated April 22, 2015, “In order to ensure that the industry NPL ratio does not exceed the prudential limit of five per cent, and to improve the credit culture in the banking industry, banks and discount houses are directed to observe prudent credit underwriting and monitoring standards.”

The debtors are those whose accounts have been classified as lost and include persons, entities, directors, subsidiaries and other related parties, according to the central bank.

The bank had stated that delinquent debtors in the category described above would be blacklisted and “banned from participating in the Nigerian foreign exchange market and in the Nigerian government securities market.”

On March 15, 2015 reported that the volume of the NPLs in the Nigerian banking industry was set to rise further on the back of the devaluation of the naira amid weak global crude oil prices.

Global rating agency, Fitch Ratings, had in February, after the second round of devaluation of the currency, predicted that the banks’ non-performing loans would rise above the CBN’s five per cent limit by the end of this year, but below 10 per cent.

It said this reflected high credit concentrations as well as emerging risks, particularly in the oil and gas, and power sectors, adding that banks were likely to report weaker profitability, asset quality and capital ratios.

In 2009, the Federal Government spent about N5tn to buy the NPLs from banks to save them from imminent collapse.

AMCON, the government agency created after the 2009 banking crisis, was the special purpose vehicle used by to acquire the NPLs from the banking sector.

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Hamilton Nwosa is an experienced, and committed communication, business, administrative, data and research specialist . His deep knowledge of the intersection between communication, business, data, and journalism are quite profound. His passion for professional excellence remains the guiding principle of his work, and in the course of his career spanning sectors such as administration, tourism, business management, communication and journalism, Hamilton has won key awards. He is a delightful writer, researcher and data analyst. He loves team-work, problem-solving, organizational management, communication strategy, and enjoys travelling. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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