Banks to publish serial debtors’ names August 1

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday directed all Deposit Money Banks operating in the country to commence the publication of the names of chronic debtors from August 1.

The Director, Banking Supervision Department, CBN, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, stated this while briefing journalists shortly after the 322nd Bankers’ Committee meeting, which was held at the central bank’s headquarters in Abuja.

She was accompanied to the briefing by the Managing Director, United Bank forAfrica Plc, Mr. Phillips Odouza; Managing Director, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Henry Semenitari; and Managing Director, Ecobank Plc, Mr. Jubril Aku.

Apart from the issue of non-performing loans, other matters discussed at the meeting were the biometric registration of bank customers, liquidity of the foreign exchange market and the credit culture within the banking system.

On the issue of NPLs, Martins said the August 1 date was chosen for the publication of the names of debtors because it would mark the end of the three-month grace period given by the CBN for the debtors to service their debts with DMBs.

She said in a bid to ensure the stability of the financial system, there was a need for the central bank, in collaboration with the DMBs, to keep the non-performing loan portfolio at a minimal level.

For instance, Martins said the banking sector currently had a total loan portfolio of between N13tn and N14tn, noting that about three per cent of this were non-performing.

Going by this figure, the total non-performing loans of the banking sector are in the range of between N390bn and N420bn.

She said, “If you recall, at the last Bankers’ Committee meeting, we spoke about publishing the names of serial debtors of banks. We discussed that again and the fact that the date is drawing close.

“Last time when we had the Bankers’ Committee (meeting), we said that there should be three months of grace to give the debtors the opportunity to bring their facilities back to the performing status.

“So, by August 1, any debtor that hasn’t done so, the names will be published by the banks. So, the banks are encouraged to speak to their customers that fall into that category that they should put in more efforts to pay up their loans.”

On the Bank Verification Number registration exercise, Oduoza said so far, about 12.5 million bank customers had been registered since the exercise began few months ago.

He called on those who had yet to register for the BVN to do so before the expiration of the June 30 deadline, adding that those who failed to do so would not be able to enjoy banking services.

Oduoza said, “We also discussed the electronic banking space. In the area of BVN, we have done 12.5 million customers and this is a substantial mileage. There is still a need to close the gap before the deadline of June 30 and any customer that hasn’t done so will not enjoy banking services.

“So, we are urging customers to enrol so they will continue to enjoy unhindered banking services.”

He added that by the end of this month, those that had yet to get their BVN might not be able to have access to credit, enjoy foreign exchange and conduct Internet banking services.

Odouza also said that with the progress so far made in the cashless policy, plans had been concluded to extend the coverage to other states of the federation.

This, he added, would be done before the end of the third quarter of this year.

On liquidity of the foreign exchange market, Aku said the central bank, in collaboration with the DMBs, would continue to meet legitimate demands.

“The banks and the CBN will continue to meet legitimate demands. The committee is satisfied with the stability we have attained and we will continue to look at the period when the reserves will improve,” he added.

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