By Peter Egwuatu
Standard CharteredÂ Bank is set to take opportunities which will arise from the ongoing Nigeria banking sector reforms to consolidate its leading position in the industry.
The Chief Executive Officer, Nigeriaâ€™s Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Christopher Knight at a lecture on â€œ The Age of Bank Transparency- Nageia and the global oil cycleâ€ organised by the bank in Lagos, recently,Â said, if there is need and opportunity to acquire any Nigeria bank, Standard Chartered would go for itÂ provided it will add value to our business.
According to him, â€œ For now we donâ€™t have intention to acquire any bank but in the future we can if need be. For now, we would be establishingÂ more branches in Nigeria to show that we have come to invest and do business.
The Standard Chartered Bank boss said that its bank provides regular monthly and ad hoc theme based publication on African economies and markets, and has received recognition for providing the best research on Africa.. In 2006 and 2007, the Bank won Banker Magazineâ€™s Best Bank in Africaâ€™s award.
Speaking at the lecture, Razia Khan, Regional Head of Research, Africa said, â€œ Africa is still, essentially a cash economy and to that extent, there is need for more effective intermediation, and financial sector depthâ€
She stressed that the Nigeria banking sector reforms was necessary as key to future prospects. According to her, â€œ The recent Standard and Poor Rating on Nigeria was downgrading as the indicators used for the analysis was not sufficient.â€
Khan, said that the Nigeria economy was still bright, saying the banking sector reform was necessary to spur growth. According to her, â€œ The banking sector reforms was not enough to boost the economy, adding that there is need for overall sectors reforms.
Nigeria, she said belongs to the frontier and for her to move to the emerging market, the banking sector was key to spur growth. â€œ Implication of reforms run deeper than the financial sector alone. Global crisis was failure of regulation, hence there becomes the need to improve financial sector regulation as seen in most developed economies where the crisis affected mostlyâ€ she noted.
She commended the recent reform in the banking sector, saying it will lead to more stable and sustainable growth .
According to her, â€œ Confidence of the authorities should be rewarded. If anywhere is going to be Africaâ€™s China or India, it is Nigeria.â€
Meanwhile, Chartered Bank .s performance in 2008 has reinforced its leading position in Nigeriaâ€™s financial services industry. Its Groupâ€™s relationships, deep local knowledge and international banking capabilities meant that the bank is able to capitalise on opportunities in the worldâ€™s most dynamic markets.