Bank recapitalisation: Presidency backs CBN, investors rush for mega-banks stocks

The Presidency on Tuesday expressed support for the banking sector consolidation initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, saying it would help the country to grow the economy to a new height.

This came barely five days after the CBN said it would ask banks to raise new capital.

According to the Presidency, it has become important to consider the capital adequacy of Nigerian banks in light of the projected $1tn economy in eight years.

Representing President Bola Tinubu at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of The Guardian Newspapers in Lagos on Tuesday,  the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said there would be a strong need to revisit the capital adequacy levels of banks

Onanuga said, “On the economy, that is facing all of us, our ambition to attain the $1tn appears daunting but we believe that it is achievable with God on our side and our collective determine. This explains the reason the VP and I have been on the road trying to attract huge investments into various phases of our economy; agriculture, oil and gas and others.

“To arrive at the $1tn economy, we must address the capital adequacy of our banks that will prepare the fuel for this journey.”

At the 58th annual Bankers’ Dinner last Friday, CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, had said a stress test performed on Nigerian banks revealed that while they would withstand mild to moderate stress, they would be unable to service a $1tn economy projected by Tinubu in seven years, hence the need for recapitalisation.

Cardoso said, “Stress tests conducted on the banking industry also indicate its strength under mild-to-moderate scenarios of sustained economic and financial stress, although there is room for further strengthening and enhancing resilience to shocks. Therefore, there is still much work to be done in fortifying the industry for future challenges.”

He added, “Considering the policy imperatives and the projected economic growth, it is crucial for us to evaluate the adequacy of our banking industry to serve the envisioned larger economy. It is crucial to evaluate the adequacy of our banking industry to serve the envisioned larger economy. It is not just about its current stability. We need to ask ourselves, can Nigerian banks have sufficient capital relative to the finance system needs in servicing a $1tn economy shortly, in my opinion, the answer is no, unless we take action.  As a first test, the central bank will be directing banks to increase their capital.”

“Even before the CBN governor made the pronouncement, our bank was already considering raising fresh capital to significantly increase the capital base. This should happen in the first quarter of 2024. So, we are in tune with the CBN governor,” the CEO of a Tier-1 lender told one of our correspondents on Saturday.

In the last few months, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings, Wema Bank and Jaiz Bank have proposed Rights Issues, while Fidelity Bank has announced plans to raise additional capital via the issuance of 13,200 billion ordinary shares via public offer and rights issue. It was gathered that Wema Bank would commence its Rights Issue on December 1.

Already, players in the capital market have expressed varied views as to the capability of the market to support the proposed recapitalisation drive.

While the doyen of the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Rasheed Yusuf, in his comments, believed the local bourse could support such a major capital raise, even without the presence of foreign investors, the Managing Director of Afrinvest Securities Limited, Ayodeji Ebo, expressed doubts the capital market could support the recapitalisation.

He said, “The Nigerian capital market may not be able to fully support the recapitalisation of the banks given the market is currently been driven by domestic investors. To also achieve this, the banks must adopt technology to drive the capital raise process as we saw during the MTN public offer.

Ebo added, “We believe if the foreign exchange policy is clear and consistent in the medium term, we expect to begin to attract FPIs to the capital market.”

Meanwhile, some minority shareholders community have expressed the conditions under which they will support the financial institutions. Mr Boniface Okezie of the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said that minority investors must do their due diligence and invest in stocks with track records.


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