Your money or your life? - a review of the Nigerian banking industry through the eyes of an everyday man
From Genoa in 1406 where structured banking operation started, banks have lived up to its Italian name-derivative “banco” meaning a desk or bench covered by a green tablecloth. In reality, greenery of prosperity has accompanied its many years with us. Nigeria joined this greenery with the Bank of British West Africa (now First Bank) on the 31st March 1894. The market advanced from this monopoly to the first “banking explosion" of the 1930- 1950s followed by an era of government ownership and control. Then came the flurry of growth spurt of the early 90s with the good, the bad and the ugly. The most remarkable moment was the consolidation era that came with an industry shake-up that reduced the number of banks from 89 to 25 banks (now 24 post Stanbic Bank-IBTC merger). The land has really been green!With over 1000% growth in total asset base, growing domination of the West Coast (from Ghana to Gambia) and some already listed on the London Stock Exchange, it’s no gainsaying that the sector has truly come of age.
The consolidation era has come with sufficient funds to play in the big leagues, do mega deals and high ticket transactions, and more importantly gave Nigerian banks the opportunity to manage the “almighty” federal government reserve.
The industry buoyancy is not in doubt with most of the players counted among the highest performing stocks in the world last year! JP Morgan latest Asset Management report identified Nigeria as a leading frontier market for part of its new Africa equity fund, which it hopes could reach $250 million. Afrinvest June 2008 research shows that the median before-tax earnings had risen by 141% year-on-year. Continue at http://www.new.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=29894966642