1.0 Background of the Study
The Nigerian banking industry has witnessed tremendous changes and expansion since the mid 1980s. Unfortunately the growth and expansion in the sector are not the manifestation of a sound or vibrant banking system known anywhere in the world. Most banks in Nigeria are characterized by inadequate capital base, poor services, hug rate of bankruptcy, lack of management expertise, bad debt syndrome and greater exposure to fraud. In addition, many have poor database and lack of reliable information on which sound policy decision can be take by Board of Directors. This is a fragile banking system which is waiting to explode from the contagion effect of the liquidation of over eleven banks which are technically considered distressed. Currently there are 89 banks in operation in Nigeria, with 79 being considered marginal or fringe players and with over 1,036 – fraud case in banks in 2003 while N9.3 billion was lost through fraudulent activities.
A poor banking system of this nature creates unquantifiable problems and crisis in the economy which could result in thousands of people losing their jobs, lost of depositors’ money, lost of confidence in the banking system and above all the banks can have little contribution to the economic development of the country. Essentially, the objectives of the new, banking sector reform though recapitalization of N25 billion for each bank intends among other things to take proactive steps to prevent an imminent systematic crisis and collapse of the banking industry, create a sound banking system that depositors can trust, create banks that investors can rely upon to finance investment in the economy to drive down the cost structure of banks and make them more competitive and development oriented and to ensure Nigeria meets minimum requirements for regional financial system integration, effectively, positioned to be a key. African regional and global player.
Taking this steps is imperative for the survival of the fragile banking system in Nigeria and to be at per with the global trend. Generally speaking, the current average capitalization of banks in Nigeria is less than $10 million or N1.3 billion and with the largest bank in Nigeria having $298 million compared with the smallest Malaysian bank with $526 million. This is an important indices for an understanding of the unique, nature of the Nigeria banking system among developing economies.
In the study an attempt has been made by examining the fragile banking system of Nigeria, the need for recapitalization, the various strategies by Commercial Banks to meet the recapitalization requirements and how recapitalization can enhance repositioning of Commercial Banks in competitive marketing environment of Nigeria. Although the full policy implementation of recapitalization takes effect from December 2005, this study provides an insight into the anticipated challenges of post-recapitalization era. These challenges as evident in the current mergers and acquisitions by smaller banks provide input for academic research and analysis. However, it is also the intention of this study to outline the various repositioning strategies of United Bank for Africa towards meeting the challenges of the Banking Sector reforms in maintaining a leading position among new generation banks in meeting the CBN recapitalization requirement deadline.
It is hope that the finding of this research study would provide a pioneering blue-print for commercial banks in Nigeria to adequately cope with post-recapitalization challenges of the marketing scenario.