The combined loan portfolio of 12 commercial banks in Nigeria rose by N690bn in the first three months of this year, data collated from their unaudited financial statements show.
The loans and advances to their customers grew to N17.75tn as of March 31, 2021 from N17.06tn at the end of December last year.
Loans and advances to customers, which account for the major proportion of the banks’ total assets, rose in 11 of the lenders.
Nigerian banks’ loan books have grown in recent years on the back of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s push for more lending.
The CBN had in July 2019 mandated all Deposit Money Banks to maintain a minimum loan-to-deposit ratio of 60 per cent by September 30, 2019 in a bid to improve lending to the real sector.
The minimum LDR was in October 2019 reviewed to 65 per cent.
Access Bank Plc expanded its loan book to N3.26tn at the end of March 2021 from N3.22tn in December 2020 while that of Zenith Bank Plc grew to N2.84tn from N2.78tn.
The United Bank for Africa Plc increased its loans and advances to customers to N2.73tn as of March 31 from N2.55tn in December 2020.
FBN Holdings Plc, the holding company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, grew its loan book to N2.30tn at the end of March from N2.22tn in December while that of Guaranty Trust Bank shrank to N1.64tn from N1.66tn.
Fidelity Bank Plc expanded its loan book to N1.43tn at the end of the first quarter of this year from N1.33tn in December while that of FCMB Group Plc grew to N886.09bn from N822.77bn.
The loan portfolio of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc rose to N730.14bn as of March 31 from N625.14bn in December while that of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc increased to N712.58bn from N692.80bn.
Sterling Bank Plc increased its loans and advances to customers to N632.48bn in March from N596.83bn in December.
Wema Bank of Nigeria grew its loan book to N367.69bn in March from N360.08bn in December while that of Unity Bank Plc expanded to N223.22bn from N202.08bn.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN said in March that provisional data showed that banking system credit to the economy increased by 1.75 per cent to N43.67tn in February 2021 from N42.92tn in January 2021, reflecting the ongoing broad-based monetary and fiscal stimulus to various sectors of the economy.
A global credit rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service, said in a recent report that Nigerian banks’ loan quality would weaken in 2021 as coronavirus support measures implemented by the government and the central bank last year, including the loan repayment holiday, are unwound.
According to the report, the banks face higher asset quality risks as coronavirus support measures are withdrawn amid large single-name and sectoral concentrations and as banks hold a large volume of foreign currency loans.