Majority of the loans were taken by energy companies affected by drop in crude oil prices due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
CBN Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability Directorate, Aishah Ahmad, who disclosed this in her personal Note to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) released on Thursday, said negative externalities arising from the covid-19 pandemic have begun to manifest more fully on global financial markets and the domestic economy.
She disclosed that at the end of May 2020, staff reports indicate that 17 banks submitted requests to restructure over 32,000 loans for individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic, representing 32.94 per cent of total industry loan portfolio, with the manufacturing and general commerce sectors constituting the bulk of the restructured facilities.
The banking sector loans grew by N3 trillion to N18.6 trillion over the last year ending in April, Ahmad said. The loan rise was after CBN forced banks to lend to stimulate an economy mired in low growth. But lenders wary of an increasing loan pile held back and were penalised.
Ahmad however, insisted that the financial system remains a bright spot of the economy and is well positioned to support domestic output growth, and stimulate economic recovery. Even as the CBN monitors the potential risks to financial stability, it is gratifying that financial soundness indicators have remained strong, despite the headwinds and rapid expansion of credit (gross credit increased by N3.0 trillion between end-May 2019 and end-April 2020) driven by the Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy.
She said that Non-performing loans (NPLs) ratio stood at 6.6 per cent at end April 2020, compared with 11.0 per cent at end April 2019, while other prudential ratios remain robust. -thenation