By Ugo Aliogo
As part of measures to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank Nigeria, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, has disclosed that banks are currently offering customers access to low interest funds.
In addition, he said banks have been restructuring the loans of their customers to meet the specific needs of each customers’ cash flow situation.
Adeduntan, said this during a recent webinar.
He revealed that banks are also waiving late repayment fees and charges for customers who are able to make loan repayment within 90 days of the original due date. The FirstBank CEO said banks are offering accelerated working capital facility approval for selected businesses impacted by the lockdown to enable them meet overhead expense commitments.
He further said banking institutions have witnessed increased pressure on revenue and profitability given the rapid decline in economic activities; with the attendant negative impact on net interest income, trading income, and commission/fee income, as well as higher operating costs.
According to him, “The COVID-19 crises led to the credit rating downgrades of most vulnerable developing countries, including Nigeria. The downgrade implies a higher country risk premium for Nigeria with the attendant implication on financial institutions’ foreign currency funding cost and access.
“Financial institutions may face potential decline in asset quality due to curtailed economic activities, credit exposures and credit rating downgrade of customers in sectors that have been worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis. “Financial institutions are facing the COVID-19 challenges of keeping employees safe and at the same time meeting the increasing expectations of customers.
“Additionally, there is increased challenge from vendors supporting financial institutions’ IT network. The increased adoption of digital channels by customers and the activation of remote work model by financial institutions have widened the cyber-attack surface.”
He added: “Cyber criminals are exploiting the crises to launch tirades of attacks on financial institutions’ IT networks. There was volatility and near collapse of stock markets due to uncertainties.
“Low investments as investors anticipate the lower corporate earnings. There was a tighter global financing condition despite interventions through stimulus packages.