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Ripples of banking reforms

The banking reforms which were started by the new CBN governor Lamido Sanusi Lamido some months ago have continued to wreck devastating consequences on the “glitterati” and “literati” of the banking sector so to speak.

The latest of the effects of this “shock therapy” administered on the banks is the massive job cuts across the board in the banks. While we sympathize with those affected in this gale of retrenchments and job loss and at the risk of trivializing a serious issue let us pause and examine the life of the average young Nigerian Banker Pre and Post Sanusi reforms and to also see if there is any lesson to be learnt.

To those familiar with the workings of capitalism, the current “hoopla” in the country’s financial sector is not so surprising as any capitalist system has its inherent “boom” and “burst” cycles and thus what is been experienced now is the typical “burst” or recession period  and that is why it is imperative to appreciate its inherent lessons

The typical average young Nigerian Banker, who was fortunate to have snapped up a bank job after one or several trials suddenly became so complacent and egoistic. He begins to perceive himself in another light after being “bathed” with enough Naira rain either in form of salaries, emoluments, bonus or even loan advances.

Think about this, a 23 year- old lad being paid in the realm of a 6 digit figure. Whao! And not surprisingly the Nigerian Banking sector became a destination to be for most Nigerian graduates and undergraduates. People who had spent years in Medical colleges, Law Schools and even 1st Class Engineering graduates who had undergone rigorous training in different Faculties across the country all rushed to the banks, not to talk of single honors degree holders.

Indeed it was a spectacle while it lasted. And just as the assertion that sudden wealth or fame changes a man, most of our young banker friends majority of whom are of humble backgrounds became transformed all of a sudden. They began to see themselves as “better off” than their friends who are not “lucky” or “brilliant” enough to be employed in the banks.

As for those who were unemployed, they were seen as “never do wells” or low life people who should be avoided at all costs! For those other friends who chose to pursue a career outside banking, and who believed in the time tested dictum that “slow and steady wins the race” and therefore chose to pursue a career in teaching, journalism, nursing or even “buying and selling” were often derided and made the butt of jokes at both official and social gatherings.

Our young banker friends really enjoyed the good life while it lasted, they embraced the capitalist way of life headlong without bothering to understand the real structural foundations of capitalism and its series of “boom and burst cycles”.

They started enjoying themselves without a recourse to what tomorrow will look like. Indeed it was a competition amongst themselves in primitive capital accumulation. You dare not live below a certain standard once you are “lucky”? to be employed in the banking sector.

Even as a young Executive or Management Trainee whose appointment is yet to be confirmed, you are expected to live large and not only scream it but rub it on people’s faces  so to speak. And so the rat race continued as young bankers acquired expensive and flashy automobiles, travelled 1st class, RENTED (emphasis mine) exclusive and choice apartments in the upscale sections of town, drank exotic wines , enjoyed outlandish cuisines, courted the most beautiful girls in town for the males and the females amongst them regularly tongue lashed any would be suitor who was not in their class.

They became so obsessed that some of them stopped picking calls from their less fortunate friends, for those who managed to pick calls they seldom returned such calls. They disappeared from social gatherings that was peopled or called by their less fortunate friends, because of self imposed class barriers. Our young banker friends gradually began to assume the role of an emperor.

And just as it started, “Hurricane Sanusi” began to blow and just before anyone could scream “economic meltdown” it blew away the top echelons of the banks, and it was only a matter of time before the wind swept the entire banking sector just as we are witnessing now. It was at this point that our young banker friend woke up from his delusions of grandeur, to realize that though so much money has passed through his hands in the last few years he has not been able to achieve any transcendental transformation in his own life talk less of people who are close to him.

He has been betrayed by the rabid capitalism he has reposed much confidence on. With the threat of imminent job loss staring him in the face and a cloud of uncertainty in the banking sector hovering in the sky, he begins to check and make calls to his once derided “unfortunate friends” and so called “never do wells”, he contemplates going back to school to complete his education, he thinks of starting a small scale business, he considers checking out of the country like “Andrew” the white man suspects he is a terrorist , so he is denied a visa, he finds it difficult to sleep as he is continuously haunted by the question of where to start from supposing the inevitable happens.

In summary it looks as if things have fallen apart and the center can no longer hold for our once haughty banker friend [IGBORO TI DARU]just as one of our local hip hop artiste sang not to long ago. But the only lesson that can be learnt in the unfolding scenario is to note that in life Nothing is constant or permanent but CHANGE!

*Babs  Iwalewa, Kaduna,
Kaduna State.


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