Bank debtors in the country may soon undergo credit rating if hint from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is anything to go by.
According to the apex bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, this is one of the decisions arrived at during the Bankers’ Committee Retreat early this month in Lagos, and whoever is found wanting may be barred from accessing credit from any bank in the country.
Emefiele, who dropped the bombshell while addressing the press at the conclusion of the meeting said, “we do expect customers who take loans to meet their own side of the bargain because we have a credit registry; their names will go into the black book if they don’t pay. If their names go into the black book if they don’t pay, it means they have ruined their credit ratings. This is because we also agreed at this meeting (the Bankers’ Committee) that we are going to raise the standard of credit bureau and credit reporting in this country.
“We are going to raise the standard to a point where there will be credit scoring for people who take bank loans. And when you are scored low or you are scored zero, we are going to use the BVN to block you from having access to any finance in the Nigerian banking or financial services industry.”
Emefiele said the plan to blacklist loan defaulters came on the heels of the Bankers’ Committee’s decision to increase financial access to Nigerians, especially operators in the agricultural value chain and the Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs), as part of efforts to grow the economy and create more jobs.
According to the CBN boss, the need to increase finance access to the agriculture and the MSMEs segments to grow the economy is imperative, stating that the SMEs constitute 95 per cent of the businesses in the country.
Emefiele disclosed that there are plans to ensure that at least N13 billion is disbursed to about 100,000 MSMEs before the end of February 2018.
Listing some of the reviews made to the N26 billion fund, he said, “first, it would no longer be equity fund and we agreed that we should tweak it so that it would be some form of preference share arrangement or like a debt structure, which makes it easy for those who want to access it. In terms of pricing, the Bankers’ Committee said it should not be more than five per cent for those who are going to have it.”
Aside this fund, Emefiele said the CBN would roll out new regulations before January 1 to banks on SME lending generally.
This, according to him, will encourage banks to lend to the SMEs at lower interest rates. He stated: “The reason why banks are showing apathy about bringing facilities to SMEs is risk-sharing issues. They do not want to carry the whole of the 100 per cent of the risk involved.”