The circle goes round again. There is shock in the oil market. The country’s foreign reserve drops. Banks accumulate non-performing loans. Names of bad debtors published. AMCON steps in and mops the debts at public expenses.
Like in 2009, the Nigeria banks are again publishing the lists of borrowers who cannot pay their debts. Already, 13 of the 20 banks in the country have made their lists public. The First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc and Unity Bank Plc today published the names of firms that owe them N143.81 billion. They are following the footsteps of Zenith Bank Plc, GTB Plc, Union Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Heritage Bank Limited and Enterprise Bank Limited that published the list of delinquent debtors on Monday, August 3.
First Bank, which has non-performing loans of N43.72billion, published 92 names of delinquent debtors. The first five companies on the lender’s list owe a combined sum of N23bn. These are Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Starcomm Plc; BGL Securities Limited, where a former Minister of Finance and National Planning, Kalu Idika Kalu, is a director; Shield Petroleum Limited and Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited.
Shield Petroleum, the number one on the list, owes N6.883billion; while Zurich International Service, the last on the list, owes N26.69million. Unity Bank also released 260 names of delinquent debtors with a combined NPL figure of N45.52billion.
The list has the companies of some prominent Nigerians. These include Umar Mutallab’s Dean Shanger Project Limited, N3.6bn; Senator Ayodele Arise and a former Minister of State for Works, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye’s International Payment Devices Limited, N81.9m; and Prince Adeyanju Olateru-Olagbegi’s Cupid Investment BDC, N90.1million.
Other prominent companies on the list are Ekiti Kete Mass Transit, which owes N991m; Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited, N2.5bn; Ava Cement Limited, N.8bn; and Plywood Chemical and Accessories, N1.1bn.
Ava Cement topped Unity Bank’s debtors’ list with N9.8bn, while Malcolm Akpokodje owes the least with N20million.
Access Bank Plc published a list of 11 delinquent debtors, with a combined NPL figure of approximately N3.4billion.
Top on the list are Bioka Ventures Limited, which owes N1.15billion, while Derukas International Limited was last on the list with a debt of N56.3million.
Diamond Bank Plc has N47.17billion as its total NPLs, with companies belonging to prominent Nigerians owing sizeable amounts.
These include Sir Emeka Offor’s Global Scan System Limited, which the bank says owes N181million; a former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s Thriller Eneavours, which owes N122million; and a former Delta State Commissioner for Sports Solomon Ogba’s Delta Mega Trend Limited, which owes N89million.
Aside the 13 banks which have published their debtor lists, other banks which will publish theirs this week are Ecobank Nigeria, First City Monument Bank Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, Keystone Bank Limited, United Bank for Africa Plc and Wema Bank Plc.
Investigations revealed that most of the banks had cut their list of delinquent debtors due to litigation with their customers over disputes arising from loan terms and last-minute renegotiations by some clients. A top bank executive, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, saidthat “some of the banks have to remove the list of some clients due to issues that border on litigation. Some names were removed at the last minute after the affected customers came to renegotiate with us. Some banks have had to cut the names on their debtors’ list by at least 50 per cent.”
Officials of banks, who spoke to our correspondents, linked the relatively high figure of the NPLs in some banks to inside connivance with customers, lingering margin loans and huge oil and gas-related loans.
According to them, customer relationship managers in some of the banks connived with the customers to obtain huge loans that eventually became bad.
They also said that long-standing margin loans in some banks were responsible for the high figure.
“A huge chunk of the loans are oil and gas related. The drop in oil prices has also worsened the situation for some oil and gas companies. They borrowed relatively large amounts of money, which later became bad loans,” an official of a tier-1 bank told our correspondent.
Meanwhile, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria will publish the list of its debtors early next week if they fail to regularise the terms of their loans with the agency. The spokesperson for AMCON, Mr. Kayode Lambo, who confirmed this on Monday, said companies which failed to regularise the terms of their loans with the agency would have their names published. “As many companies who have not been servicing their loans will have their names published,” he added.
The names of firms belonging to prominent Nigerians who have not been servicing their loans may appear on the list.
In 2009, the Federal Government spent about N5tn to buy the NPLs from banks to save them from imminent collapse.
AMCON, the government agency created after the 2009 banking crisis, was the special purpose vehicle used to acquire the NPLs from the banking sector.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had on April 22, 2015 directed the banks, discount houses and AMCON to publish the list of delinquent debtors from August 1.
They are to publish the names in at least three national newspapers on a quarterly basis. In line with the directive, the banks gave the chronic debtors a three-month grace period, which expired on July 31.
The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mrs. ‘Tokunbo Martins, had in a circular dated April 22, 2015, said, “In order to ensure that the industry NPL ratio does not exceed the prudential limit of five per cent and to improve the credit culture in the banking industry, banks and discount houses are directed to observe prudent credit underwriting and monitoring standards.”
The debtors are those whose accounts have been classified as lost and include persons, entities, directors, subsidiaries and other related parties, according to the central bank.
The central bank had stated that delinquent debtors in the category described above would be blacklisted and “banned from participating in the Nigerian foreign exchange market and in the Nigerian government securities market.”
By Dike Onwuamaeze