By Babajide Komolafe
Foreign banks have continue to express confidence in the Nigerian banking industry as well as commend the banking theÂ current banking sector reforms embarked upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Despite the impact of the global financial crisis on the economy, the foreign banks said that the Nigerian banking system is still a key market with high prospects.
According to Mrs. Sam Moss, the spokesman of the bank, the actions and steps taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria was appropriate and constructive given the challenges in the Nigerian banking industry.
Mrs.Â Moss reiterated the First Rand strategy to position itself to benefit from investor-friendly economic environment in the African continent and its increased opportunities for financial services as contained in its interim results presented few days ago. She added that Nigeria has been listed as one of the key markets that offer good prospects and that it was already staffing up its representative office in Nigeria.
In a similar development, the Deputy Group Chief Executive, Standard Bank, (which operates in Nigeria as Stanbic IBTC) Mr. Ben Kruger, also said that the difficult economic terrain in Nigeria does not pose enough deterrent to its continued interest in Nigeria.
Speaking prior to the bankâ€™s presentation of its 2009 financial result, Mr. Kruger labeled the Nigeriaâ€™s business environment as â€œdifficultâ€ and full of challenges. This, not withstanding, â€œwe think Nigeria still remains a very attractive and exciting market in terms of size and so cannot be ignoredâ€.
Mr. Kruger enthused that Stanbic IBTC has a very strong brand and assets management franchise, which the bank is proud of, and reiterated the willingness of the bank to participate in the next round of banking consolidation.