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Despite the global financial meltdown and the consequent confidence crisis that has rocked the financial industry, the banking industry in Nigeria remains the engine of growth, Anurag Saxena, Chief Operating Officer, First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) has said.
Anurag’s statement was contained in a presentation titled ‘The impact of global financial crisis on Nigerian banks’ he made on Thursday May 7th 2009 at the British Business Group Meeting in Lagos.
The global financial meltdown have had implications for Nigeria including confidence challenges, staling of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) banking model, decline in share prices and rumors about stability to mention a few.
But the FCMB COO said there was a positive dimension from the Nigerian banking sector. He welcomed measures put in place by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) such as the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) and the adoption of a common financial year as one that would make the Central Bank of Nigeria a reference point for banking in Nigeria. He acknowledged the creativity and innovation in the industry including increased banking channels such as internet, mobile, ATMs, Point of Sales (POS), Direct Sales and, Kiosks.
Anurag who urged banks to utilize to the fullest the business opportunities that abound in Nigeria said, “for the institutions to survive in the face of the global financial meltdown, they must redirect their focus from the current size war to the quality of products and services delivered to customers.”
He listed other areas of focus for the Nigerian banks to include more partnerships in infrastructural development and agriculture, cost management and control, focused strategy and its efficient execution and, better loan collation through a credit bureau.
Anurag also urged banks to remain liquid while been transparent, penetrate the unbanked market, adopt relationship banking and, adopt research based judgments in business decision making.
Noting that the banking sector is in the country to stay, he stressed the need for banks to “dig deep, emerge stronger, create new markets to fight for market shares, focus on value creation, constantly upgrade the skills at all levels, involve all stake holders and to ensure that the financial crisis does not turn into a human crisis.”