Many believe that despite the CBN reforms there is still relative weakness in the economy marked by credit squeeze, increase unemployment, depletion of the foreign reserves, high inflation rates, reduced foreign direct investment, dubious gross domestic product figures and poor policy initiative leading to confusion in the financial system.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a statement on Monday informed all customers of Deposit Money Banks, other stakeholders, and the general public that it is fully aware and indeed a part of the on-going investigations of certain financial transactions in some banks by law enforcement authorities.
The statement, signed by the acting Director of Communications of CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the bank is also carrying out its own special examinations and investigations to ascertain the veracity of some allegations, as well as the extent and persons that may be involved in such activities.
“The bank would like to reiterate that financial system stability remains a priority and therefore assures customers and stakeholders that it would not allow the Banking System to be used as a conduit for any illicit transactions.
“Some of these investigations are routine and only relate to isolated transactions, therefore it is important to state that the safety and soundness of the Nigerian banking industry remain strong”, the statement said.
According to Mr. Anor Anyanwu, a Lagos-based financial analyst and former Deputy Managing Director of commercial bank in the country said the importance of banks to the economy cannot be over emphasised and that anything that happens tom the sector will affect the economy.
His words: “The banking sector is an important aspect of the Nigerian economy not only due to its viability in terms of employment rate but due to the fact that virtually every citizen deals with banks either as depositors or borrowers. I will support any measure by the CBN to sanitise the sector.
“Prior to the Sanusi reforms, there was no transparency and accountability in most banks in the country. Loans were given based on sentiments and connections, common citizens who had good business plans and initiative were denied loans from banks.
“Despite the recapitalisation of banks by Charles Soludo, Nigerians were still scared of depositing their monies into most banks due to the memories of bank failure in the country”.
He added that under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Governor of CBN, the reforms was geared towards protecting the interest of depositors by ensuring that the right leaders are appointed to lead the banks in other to eliminate all forms of corruption which is asymmetrically opposed to the objectives of the depositors or investors.
After the last round of examination by the CBN under Sanusi, licences of Afribank, Bank PBH and Spring Bank were revoked by CBN and taken over by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, which created three bridge banks in their places. The banks were acquired by Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON.