Removal of CRR Debits Spurs Nigerian Banks’ Loan Portfolio Expansion to N37.17 Trillion


  • Fidelity Bank Enters Tier-1 Category Amid Nigerian Banks’ Loan Portfolio Surge
  • Access Bank Leads with N8.04 Trillion Loan Portfolio as Nigerian Banks’ Credit Growth Soars
  • Stanbic IBTC Bank Records 68.6% Loan Book Increase, Leading Industry Growth Rate
  • Analysts Anticipate Credit Growth Moderation in 2024 Amid Prevailing Macroeconomic Challenges

In the face of tight monetary policies and economic contractions, Nigerian Deposit Money Banks experienced a remarkable 57% expansion in their loan portfolios, soaring to N37.17 trillion in 2023 from N23.68 trillion in 2022.

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This significant credit growth was spearheaded by key players including Access Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and notably, Fidelity Bank, among others.

The loan book analysis revealed the dominance of tier-1 banks, with Access Bank leading the pack with a portfolio of N8.04 trillion, closely followed by Zenith Bank and First Bank at N6.56 trillion and N6.36 trillion respectively.

Breaking into the top ranks, Fidelity Bank emerged as a significant player, securing a loan size of N3.09 trillion, thereby displacing GT Bank from its previous position.

Stanbic IBTC Bank, representing the tier-2 banks, exhibited impressive growth, with its loan book surging by 68.6% to N2.03 trillion, leading the industry in growth rate. This surge was attributed to the removal of arbitrary cash reserve ratio (CRR) debits, which bolstered liquidity and enabled banks to expand their lending activities.

Analysts foresee continued growth opportunities in traditional sectors like manufacturing and oil and gas, as well as nascent sectors such as renewable energy and healthcare. However, they anticipate a moderation in credit growth in 2024 due to prevailing macroeconomic challenges, prompting banks to adopt more conservative lending policies targeting creditworthy sectors and obligors.

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