Diamond Bank downgrades to a national bank to halt collapse

Diamond Bank

One of Nigeria’s tier two lender, Diamond Bank, has secured a national banking license from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

This means Diamond Bank has downgraded its operation from an international bank to a national bank.

Diamond Bank has been in the eyes of the storm after its capital position fell below CBN requirement. The CBN requires an international bank to have a minimum of capital adequacy ratio of 15%.

The bank said in a statement that the move is a follow up to its decision in 2017 when it disposed of its West African Subsidiary, and is currently in the final stages of sale of its United Kingdom subsidiary.

The re-licensing as a National Bank supports the Bank’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and economy as a whole. The change to National Bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement, and this creates headroom for stronger growth in the quarters ahead through customer acquisition and expansion of loans to the critical sectors of the economy. This development does not affect the bank’s ability to offer services to its clients in international locations.

Top quality services to international customers will continue through its digital channels (Diamond Mobile, Internet Banking, etc.) and network of correspondence banks.”

Diamond Bank has been facing serious stress after more than N150 billion of its loan position went bad. Actis, emerging markets-focused private equity firm had exited Diamond Bank given way to Pascal Dozie to buy up the equity position with a loan from Access Bank. Carlyle Group is also a major investor in the bank and has since been rumoured to plan its exit from the bank.

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