Leading Deposit Money Banks quoted in the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) have grown their loan portfolio by 44.23 percent in the nine months ended September 30, 2023.
The banks include: Zenith Bank Plc, FBN Holdings Plc, Access Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCo) Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, and FCMB Group Plc.
Specifically, the banks grew their loan books to N32.47 trillion from N22.51 trillion in the corresponding period in 2022.
Analysis of the banks’ loan position for the period showed that tier-1 banks recorded the biggest both in percentage and actual value terms.
United Bank for Africa led with a 62 percent growth in its loan book to N4.94 trillion from N3.05 trillion in the corresponding period in 2022, followed by a tier-2 bank – Stanbic IBTC – with a 55.5 percent increase to N1.763 trillion from N1.134 trillion in the nine month period in 2022.
Zenith Bank Plc ranked third, growing its loan book by 49 percent to N5.78 trillion from N3.88 trillion in 2022; FBN Holdings Plc placed fourth with a 48.5 percent increase to N5.35 trillion from N3.6 trillion, while Access Bank Plc grew its loan book to N6.702 trillion from N3.62 trillion, representing a 45 percent increase.
Others are Wema Bank, which recorded a 43.4 percent increase to N661 billion from N461 billion; FCMB Group Plc up 34.2% to N1.59billion ; Unity Bank went up by 33.2% to N2.65trillion ; GTCo Plc up 20.4% to N2.22 trillion and Sterling Bank Plc with 9.3 percent increase to N819 billion.
Commenting on the significant increase in the banks’ loan portfolio, David Adonri, Vice Chairman, Highcap securities, attributed it to the depreciation in Naira, which he said may have warranted increased borrowing by importers to meet their import bills.
He said: “I suspect that most of the loans went for public borrowing as the banks are the highest lenders to the government either through their investment in public debt or direct loans. Again, due to depreciation of the Naira, several importers may also have increased borrowing to meet their import bills.
“The outlook for banks is promising considering the huge financial leverage they received from the recent foreign exchange (forex) windfall. They have enough war chest to increase their risk assets.”