She said: “One of the things we discussed was about the impending retrenchment in the banking industry. So, we understand that many bank workers are expressing fears about possible retrenchment in the industry.”
Martins also assured the banking public that Nigeria’s financial sector is safe and sound. Although she admitted that Nigeria’s banks are facing economic challenges, she said the lenders “have strong capital buffers to weather the crisis.”
She also dismissed the report published by the Arqaam Capital insisting that some Nigerian banks are in crisis.
Martins said: “Yes there was discussion around the stability of the banking sector. But even without the discussion, as Director Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria, I can tell you that the report is false. The banks are adequately capitalised, so the report is not true.”
She assured that the banks have the capacity to absorb whatever losses that may arise from the level of non-performing loans in the industry. “But the fact is do the banks have the capacity to absorb any further loses that would arise? The answer is that they do. They have very strong capital buffers. Another thing that is important is does the banks have the capacity to generate huge income to absorb those loses,” she said.
“The underlying assets of the banks are still there, and they are good. So, I think you should totally dispel or ignore that type of story. It should be expected to have non-performing loans (NPLs). It is not the reason why any jurisdiction should be demonized. There are other jurisdictions that have NPLs as high as 15 per cent, 35 per cent and so on,” she said.
On the state of the foreign exchange market, Martins said bank customers that exceed $50,000 annual spend on Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) cards used abroad will be barred from the forex market.
She said the Committee also discussed the need to boost flow of forex to manufacturing sector, which employs millions of Nigerians. It said the approach would boost the production capacity of the manufacturing sector.