March 11, 2011 by Ademola Alawiye
There are strong indications that 11 international, nine national and four regional banks may emerge after the final phase of the ongoing banking sector reforms.
Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc and Access Bank Plc will opt for the international banking licence, findings by our correspondent have shown. Other banks that will operate in the international banking category are Diamond Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, Bank PHB Plc and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
Our correspondent also found that Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank Limited, Sterling Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Citi Bank Limited, Afribank Plc, Oceanic Bank International Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Plc would emerge as national banks.
The remaining banks – Wema Bank Plc, Spring Bank Plc, Finbank Plc and Equitorial Trust Bank Limited, are to settle for regional licences.
The Central Bank of Nigeria on September 8, 2010 repealed the universal banking model as part of its strategic measures to reform the Nigerian banking sector and directed banks to divest from non-banking business.
Consequently, the apex bank introduced a revised banking model that required banks to apply for new licences under a new regime that would focus on banks’ areas of strength.
The banks are expected to maintain a minimum share capital of N10bn, N25bn and N50bn as regional, national and international banks respectively.
Twelve of the banks had announced their plans as regards their preferred licences in the new regime. But the others, especially the rescued banks, have yet to announce their decisions.
Those that have taken a decision are GTBank, UBA, First Bank, Access Bank, Diamond Bank and Skye Bank.
Others are FCMB, Fidelity Bank, Wema Bank, Unity Bank, Sterling Bank and Oceanic Bank.
A survey carried out by our correspondent on the remaining 12 banks revealed their preferred licences in the new regime.
UBA had said in a statement last year that it would relinquish its universal banking licence that would allow it offer multiple services and become an international bank to be known as UBA Plc.
The statement said, “The holding company will house UBA Plc, UBA Capital and UBA Africa, a new unit that will coordinate the bank’s subsidiaries in 18 other African countries. UBA’s insurance, asset management, stockbroking and investment-banking units will now be under UBA Capital.”
Also, Skye Bank had said it would apply for a commercial banking licence that would have an international scope to enable it to continue to operate both within the country and internationally through its international subsidiaries.
The Head, Corporate Affairs, Ecobank, Mr. Ola Akinnola, confirmed to our correspondent that the bank would opt for a national banking licence.
The apex bank had said, while announcing the planned review of universal banking, that in the new banking regime, licences would be issued for commercial, microfinance, regional, national, international, mortgage and investment banking businesses.