Bankers in the country and West Africa have been urged to reduce the amount of non-performing loans in the Deposit Money Banks’ books by coming up with policies that will minimise credit risks.
The West African Bankers Association said the move would help to cut down on the amount of bad loans in member countries’ financial services sector and promote profitability.
The President, WABA, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Nwade, stated this during the 34th anniversary of the association in Lagos recently.
The event had its theme as: ‘Driving economic growth from the bottom of the pyramid: Banking the unbanked.’
Nwade, who lauded Nigerian banks for deepening their branch network in West Africa, however, stressed the need to reduce the number of loan defaulters in the sub-region.
He said, “A major issue before us is the credit risk management within the West Coast. We have some clients that borrowed within Nigeria for a number of times. The facility was secured by a debenture trust deed.
“These companies at some point in time decided to secretly take off and relocate within West Africa. So, they easily take a lot of loans in Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia; and when they have this, they skip West Africa.”
The president said the organisation was formed by the governments of the Economic Community of West Africa States in August 1981 with the mandate to deepen payment system and trade, and foster integration within the sub-region.
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, emphasised the need to empower people at the bottom of the pyramid to enable them to contribute to economic growth.
The governor, who was represented by the Branch Controller, CBN, Lagos, Mr. J.O. Iyare, said, “Poor people should be empowered so that the economy can grow. We need to look at our micro finance policies.
“Financial inclusion should be done practically when poor people are empowered to drive economic growth and development. We should not be theoretical by staying in the cities and allowing many people to remain poor.”