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CBN, 22 Banks Restructure $20bn Debt Owed By 35,640 Customers

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has led the country’s banks to restructure 41 per cent of their total loans to customers, by placing a moratorium on interest charges and principal debt repayments.

This is to cushion the adverse effects of lower oil prices and of the coronavirus pandemic. The twin challenges have affected businesses so much that borrowers are unable to repay debts.

The loans, worth 7.8 trillion naira ($20 billion) to 35,640 customers, are being reorganized out of 18.9 trillion naira in credit across the industry.

Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, said on Monday, that twenty-two of the nation’s lenders are involved in the transactions.

“If the CBN did not ask the banks to grant these forbearance to their customers, the loans will go bad immediately by our prudential ratios,” Emefiele said. He was speaking after the monetary policy committee decided to hold the benchmark interest rate at 12.5% as against 13.5% it was in May.

“The central bank would be more comfortable if 65% of loans were being restructured”, he said.

The ratio of non-performing loans to total credit improved to 6.4% in June from 11.1% a year earlier, while the industry’s average capital adequacy ratio stood at 15% from 15.2% previously, Emefiele explained.

Credit: Bloomberg

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