•Eyes 70% LDR before end of 2020
Obinna Chima and James Emejo in Yola
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s cashless policy has received a boost as the total value of transactions through various electronic payment (e-payment) channels stood at a total of N424.371 trillion in the first nine months of 2019.
This represented 83.5 per cent increase compared with the total of N231.247 trillion recorded at the end of June 2019.
The figures were contained in the latest industry e-payment data as at the end of September obtained from the CBN.
The data also showed that while the combined value of Automated Clearing House System/NAPS/PMS stood at N17.966 trillion as at September, higher than the N11.596 trillion recorded in the first six months of the year, total value of ATM transactions was N4.861 trillion in the period under review. This is higher than a total of N3.238 trillion realised as at June.
Also, while the value of point of sales (Pos) transactions recorded in the period under review was N2.240 trillion, up from the N1.384 trillion it was as at June; total value of internet (web) transactions increased significantly to N344 billion as against the N233.903 billion recorded as at June.
Similarly, the industry recorded a total value of mobile money transactions of N3.394 trillion in the first nine months of 2019, which was far higher than the N1.966 trillion recorded at the end of June while Nigerian Instant Payment (NIP) value was N75 trillion, as against the N49 trillion it was at the end of June.
Also, E-bills/PAY transactions amounted to N429 billion in the period under review, up from the N281 billion they were in the first six months of the year, while payments captured through the Remita recorded a total value of N14.817 trillion, higher than the N9.839 trillion it was as at June this year. Also, M-cash rose to a total value of N511 billion, up from N381 billion as at June.
The data also showed that payment through the Central Pay in the period under review climbed to N4.037 trillion, up from N2.835 trillion while intra-bank e-payment transactions totalled N203.354 trillion in the review period.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, recently pointed out that as part of efforts to build a more inclusive financial system and improve the efficacy of monetary policy tools, the bank had provided super-agent licences as well as three Payment Service Bank licences to telecommunications and fintech companies.
These measures, according to him, were to aid the development of a robust payment infrastructure and an expansion of agent locations across the country.
He said as a result of the bank’s policy measures in 2019, over $400 million was invested in fintech companies, focused on supporting improved payment services in Nigeria.
“With the entrance of new players into the payment services market and the strengthening of our financial networks, a growing number of underserved Nigerians have access to cost effective banking services.
“Our objective is to support the development of a robust payment infrastructure that would bring more Nigerians who do not have access to financial services into the financial system.
“The provision of licences to several players will help support innovation and competition as all parties work to increase their customer base.
“Nigerians in underserved location will have access to cost effective payment services, cash-in and cash-out facilities and savings products.
“We intend to sustain these efforts in 2020 as part of our plan to reduce our financial exclusion rate to under 20 percent over the next year,” he had added.
CBN Eyes 70% LDR before End of 2020
Meanwhile, the CBN yesterday unfolded plans to further raise the minimum loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) of commercial banks from 65 per cent to 70 per cent by the end of 2020.
The CBN Deputy Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Dr. Hassan Mahmoud, spoke on the plans at the 2019 Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) workshop for business editors and finance correspondents, themed:” Nigerian Banking System Stability: Tackling Emerging Issues,” which is holding in Yola, Adamawa State.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, recently said credit to the private sector had improved by N1.6 trillion following the directive to banks to raise their LDR to 65 per cent from 60 per cent.
However, Bello, who chaired a paper presentation by Director, Bank Examination Department, NDIC, Mr. Tayo Babatolu, titled, ‘Emerging Issues in the Regulation and Supervision of Banks in Nigeria’, stated that the apex bank had increased the LDR in order to stimulate lending to the private sector.
He said: “Now, we are thinking of doing 70 per cent by the end of next year. Within the period that we have increased the LDR, industry lending has increased by over N1.1 trillion.
“The central bank increased the minimum loan-to-deposit ratio to encourage banks to lend and de-risk the real sector, particularly the SMEs. This is to encourage employment.”
The CBN had raised the minimum LDR to 65 per cent, effect from December 31, 2019, up from the 60 per cent it had prescribed at the end of September 2019.
Also commenting on the efforts of the regulatory agencies to further de-risk the financial sector, the CBN director said the recent approval by the apex bank for banks to access deposits of loan defaulters in other bank had been rewarding.
He said: “What we also did in the system to strengthen banking system stability is the fact that so long as you are owing a bank, let’s say you have N1 billion in one bank and you went to another bank to borrow N1.5 billion and you leave that to go to another bank to borrow another N1 billion, without paying the loans you collected, the new policy is that as long as you default, where you have money in any bank, the bank you are owing can take the money in any of your account that you have money.”
He also said there were no threats to banking system stability as a result of the recent policies implemented by both the NDIC and CBN.
He said: “You would have been made to sign the agreement before taking the loan. That is one of the measures to guard against risk in the system. Yes, there are vulnerabilities, but we do not foresee any systemic challenges in the banking industry, that would jeopardise the banking system.”
According to him, the banking industry capital adequacy ratio (CAR) currently stands at 15.2 per cent, which is far above the global standard of about 10 per cent.
Also, the level of the banking industry non-performing loans has dropped significantly to 6.6 per cent.
Nonetheless, Babatolu said there were further initiative by the CBN and the NDIC to address issues bordering on independent directors and corporate governance in the banking system.
“We have introduced sustainable banking principles to make the banks socially responsible to their environment.
“There is a need for continuous improvement in our operations because banking is becoming more sophisticated. We are improving oversight and zero tolerance for regulatory infractions. Once you break the law, you face the consequences to serve as a deterrent to others.”