FastNews reports that First City Monument Bank’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Ladi Balogun, the mid-tier lender expects loan growth to be flat this year, down from 5.4 percent last year, as oil companies pay down debt.
Balogun stated that the bank would focus on retail banking with a higher margin this year to compensate for a drop in government bond yields, as the lender may not be able to write large loans quickly enough to offset repayments by oil companies.
According to Reuters, he stated that the economy was improving after the country experienced its worst recession in a quarter-century in 2016, which should boost consumers.
“We expect to see large repayments in the oil and gas sector this year. We agree that the (economy) will be improving but largely because of chunky pay-down; we don’t think we would be able to replace quickly,” he told an analyst call, adding, “We are pushing more in the area of retail banking.”
Balogun said the group was seeking to convert its wholesale banking unit in Britain, FCMB UK, into a retail bank, as part of its push to grow its balance sheet and tap into non-institutional customers in Britain.
He stated that the impact of the British strategy would not be immediate but would enable the lender to achieve incremental growth.