BRANDish ‘Meeting of Minds’ Debuts, Calls for Banks Reform
BRANDish holds its First Edition ‘BRANDish Meeting of Minds’ Series, the edition which had its theme, “What Nigerian Banks Should Do Differently” had in attendance experts in the Nigerian banking and marketing communications industry as the first in what the organizer of BRANDish, Ikem Okuhu, said to be a quarter event where serious issues affected the economy will be discussed.
Ikem also drew attention to the fact that apart from the introduction of technology that has smoothened banking business over the last 10 years, the approach of bankers to the business of engagement and marketing has virtually remained unchanged the beginning of banking business in Nigeria.
The discussants in their view stress that the current modus operandi of Nigerian banks is not in sync with the society in which they operate, as they do not promote entrepreneurship which is needed for the development of the country. In the attendant were former APCON Chairman and founder of Prima Garnet Communications, Lolu Akinwunmi; Founder and CEO Proshare Nigeria Limited, Femi Awoyemi; President Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, Sola Salako; Managing Director Quadrant Group, Bolaji Okusaga; Managing Director, TBWA Concept, Kelechi Nwosu; Managing Director 141 Worldwide, Bunmi Oke; and Director Corporate Communications Airtel, Emeka Opara.
Femi Awoyemi, pointed out that Nigerian banking system cannot give what it does not have because the system was designed to be exploitative rather than developmental. He stated that these banks operate within “policies that are not in tandem with the wishes and needs of Nigerians.” Hence banks target their best services at the “25% of Nigerians that have been empowered to be valuable to the banks.”
The total amount of current liabilities of bank as the second quarter of 2016 stood at 17.45 trillion, which have grown by 63% compared to 2010. It also makes up 56% of total liabilities. While the liquid asset of banks have remained muted at N6.844 trillion
What should be done?
Banks should improve the quality of asset held.
Banks should reduce their exposure to cyclical downturns; every time oil price falls it has a negative impact on their balance sheet.
Reduce exposure to foreign debt for the time been; growing absorption of foreign finances have impacted negatively on the growth of foreign asset.
Monetary policy have affected liquidity through contractive policy measures e,g increasing CRR and MPR. Persistent dynamic sterilization has impacted liquidity negatively.
The consistent use of monetary sterilization instrument has affected standard deposit facility. The standard deposit facility is a measure of excess liquidity. The use of monetary sterilization or TSA has led to a liquidity famine. Therefore more than ever the fiscal side should improve liquidity using a the banks as a channel of credit
What is needed to improve credit portfolio management?
There should be more improved metrics in measuring risk
A wider or broader universe of credit allocation so as to minimise risk and improve standard deviation of portfolio or distribution on credit.
Proper macro policy to reduce structural impact on credit cost.
Over-hauling of the interest rate term structure such that credit do not reside in soft allocations alone.
Awoyemi, who is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, called for transformation of Central Bank Of Nigeria, that CBN should be upgraded from being a “mere senior banker to the banks”. According to him, Nigeria needs a CBN that will “allow disruption in the sector with policies that will make banks development oriented.”
It was suggested that Nigerian banks should be more customer centric by investing in consumer insight which would enable them know more about their customers, communicate better and be able to tailor their services to meet customers’ needs.
The discussants noted that failure of the banks in their customer insight and market understanding duties is part of the reasons why Ponzi schemes such as MMM are thriving in Nigeria. These schemes have better understanding of customers and speak the language that resonates with them, they added.
Lolu Akinwumi advised that banks should start optimising their retail delivery and simplify their business and operational models to help bridge the communication gap. According to him, the gap between the banks and their customers is unclear bank advertisements which portray and celebrate bank executives rather than communicate specific service offerings and benefits to customers.
In addition, bank was advised to desist from the current trend in which they tend to reap from where they did not sow.
Sola Salako slammed Nigerian banks saying they rarely lend money to SMEs but start knocking on their office doors when they make it big. “Banks look for their money in government circles. So, they care less about the other customers. They are concerned about the macro and don’t understand the micro economics.
But when you finally grow the business, they start knocking on your door and you wonder where they were when you were struggling to build the business. Let’s say the bitter truth, our banks are not responsible corporate citizens,” she said.
In the first edition of BRANDish ‘Meeting of Minds’ series, the discussants urge Nigerian banks to start preparing for the future of banking without a banking hall. They predicted that with the current global trend and evolving technology, the brick and mortar bank will not be “relevant to the upcoming generation, as brick will cease and banking will become a game of clicks.”