CBN increases capital base for banks, leaves 24-month window for compliance

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday reeled out new capital base regimes for different categories of banks in the country.

Acting spokesperson for the apex bank, Mrs Hakama Ali, said in a statement that the recapitalisation requirements should be satisfied by March 31, 2026.

She said the new minimum capital base for commercial banks with international and national authorisation would be N500 billion and N200 billion respectively.

The new requirement for commercial banks with regional authorisation was raised from N19 billion to N50 billion, representing 400 per cent increase.

She also disclosed that the new minimum capital for merchant banks would be N50 billion, while the new requirements for non-interest banks with national and regional authorisation would be N20 billion and N10 billion, respectively.

A circular signed by the director, financial policy and regulation department, Mr. Haruna Mustafa, to all commercial, merchant, and non-interest banks and promoters of proposed banks emphasised that all banks are required to meet the minimum capital requirement within 24 months commencing from April 1, 2024, and terminating on March 31, 2026

According to the circular, the move, initially disclosed by the CBN governor, Mr Olayemi Cardoso, in his address to the Annual Bankers’ Dinner in November 2023, was to enhance banks’ resilience, solvency, and capacity to continue supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy.

To enable the banks meet the minimum capital requirements, the CBN urged them to consider injection of fresh equity capital through private placements, rights issues and/or offers for subscription, mergers and acquisitions and/or upgrade or downgrade of license authorisation.

The circular also mandated all banks to submit an implementation plan (clearly indicating the chosen option(s) for meeting the new capital requirement and various activities involved with their timelines) no later than April 30, 2024.

It added that the CBN would monitor and ensure compliance with the new requirements within the specified timeline.

Now, based on this new computation of the paid-up capital and share premium, banks with international banking licences such as Access Bank which currently has a minimum capital of N251.81 billion, would have to raise N248.19 billion to meet the new capital requirement of N500 billion.

In the case of other international banks such as Ecobank, it currently has a minimum capital of N353.51 billion, but would have to raise N146.49 billion; First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH) Plc with N251.34 billion, will need to raise N248.66 billion; FCMB with N125.29 billion, will need to raise N374.71 billion; GTB with N138.19 billion, will need to raise N361.81 billion; and Fidelity Bank with N115.31 billion, will need to raise N384.70 billion.

Other international banks include UBA with a minimum capital of N115.82 billion, but will need to raise N384.18 billion, and Zenith Bank with N270.75 billion, but will need to raise N229.26 billion.

National banks such as Stanbic IBTC with N109.26 billion as minimum capital, will need to raise N90.74 billion to meet the minimum capital requirement of N200 billion, while Sterling Bank with N57.15 billion, will need to raise N142.85 billion.