THE ROLE OF COMMERCIAL BANKS IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA

 THE ROLE OF COMMERCIAL BANKS IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA 

INTRODUCTION   

The availability of financial capital is a prerequisite for the rapid development and transaction of any nations economy, it is generally acknowledge that the provision and efficient management of the scarce resources is facilitated by the existence and appropriate functioning of financial institutions in the economy, it follows that bank have a vital role to play by making their vast financial resources available for financing and promoting development.

According to Anyaele J.O. (1990) commercial banks are institution set up purposely for safekeeping of money, valuable goods and documents like wills and others.  He said the existence of banks has been a big boosts to business activities.

In an annual dinner of the Nigerian institute of bankers in 1975 in Lagos, the governor of central bank, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, blamed the “excess liquidity in the banking system.”  He saw the strict adherence of the commercial banking system to orthodox doctrine of lending short term loan as an in desirable act and urged commercial banks to take some risk in given medium and long term loan.  Some of the changes that comes out of the foreign public reaction of commercial banks activities are in the area of declining contribution.

The banking system for the country should be National Development.  Apart from acting as an agent for mobilization of saving, banking institutions will be expected to play a more dynamic role in the area of stimulation of investment and channeling of such investment to priority sectors of the economy.

2.1   HISTORY OF COMMERCIAL BANKING IN NIGERIA Commercial banking activities started 1892 with the establishment of the African Banking Corporation ledger depositor and Co.  a shipping company based in Liverpool was instrumental in it’s formation.  This bank was however, taken over in 1984 by the bank of the British West African which later became standard bank and now first bank of Nigeria Plc with the bank on observation. The next was Barclays bank and company (now Union bank of Nigeria Plc) was established in 1917.  These banks were set up to provide banking services for the British Commercial interest and the colonial administration in West African when the west African currency board (Gyasi Central Bank) was set up in 1912, the bank of British became the agent of the currency board.

The National Bank of Nigeria came into existence in 1933 as the first indigenous bank that was to survive other banks that were established before that time including the merchant banks, failed as a result of inadequate capital, fraudulent practices and poor management.

After the Second World War, economic activities and with high export prices, many banks grow up in the Nigeria economy.  Between 1945 and 1947,  four (4) other indigenous bank, Africa Continental Bank (ACB) Agbenmagbe, Nigeria farmers and commerce bank were established but only two were able to survive the African Continental Bank and Agbenmagbe Bank (Now Wema Bank). The period  (1945 – 1952) was a period of free for all banker.  In the period (1905 – 1975) alone 18 banks were established but by 1975 most of them had gone to liquidation or close down by the police or never started business at all.  A lot of factor lead to the fall of these banks must had insufficient capital, most expanded their offices too rapidly to cover trading and these were no banking regulations to specify the code of conduct.

Nigeria commercial banks have been divided into two (2) main categories namely:-

Indigenous bank (owned 100% by Nigerians) and Mixed banks (with majority indigenous shareholders at least 60%)  Nigerian law does not allow any foreign bank with a majority foreign interest.

2.2   BANKING FUNCTION IN THE ECONOMY Below are some of the products and service the bank offers to its numerous customers in promoting economic development in Nigeria.

1.     TERM LOANS: To enable their customer finance specific projects which usually requires large capital outlay, the bank provides medium to long term financing for new project and project expansion. 2.     OVERDRAFT FACILITIES: The bank services also include the provision of short-term facilities in form of overdraft. The overdraft facilities are usually granted for a maximum period of one (1) year (which may be renewed annually) to enable their client meet pressing cash calls or finance their working capital needs. 3.     INLAND BILLS PURCHASE FACILITY: This facility allows customers to obtain immediate payment on all their bills lodged with the bank by discounting the same with the bank. 4.     REQUIREMENT LEASING: For every economy to achieve meaningful growth, it must generate sufficient saving for investment. Crucial to the issue of investment is the need for capital accumulation.  Leasing also, allows the customer to guard against obsolesce.   The bank services also cover-refinancing option for assets (sale and lease bank) already percured by their client to en able them rise sufficient working capital that would have otherwise been locked in assets, the bank also participating in concretion leasing dealt along with other banks to enable their clients the use of assets that required huge capital investment. 5.     PREFERENTIAL SECTOR FINANCING: In line with government efforts of encouraging small and medium scale enterprises through the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFOUND) and other governmental bodies set up for this purpose. 6.     WAREHOUSING LOAN: The banks, customer also enjoy warehousing of stock financing facility, customers goods are pledged as security and are deposited in a warehouse in the name of the bank against which the customer is allowed credit accommodation.  The bank has extended this facility to a number of customers to enable them either stock pile needed raw materials for future use, or take advantage of prices etc.  This service is mostly beneficial for seasonal goods. 7.     EXPORT FINANCING: The bank has been in the fore front in providing short medium and long term funds for export operation for its numerous client the bank also participate in the Nigeria export, import (NEXIM) credit agency which was established by the government with a specific mandate to asset banks to provide pre and post shipment finances in support of non-oil export under the re discounting and refinancing facility (RRF) other services provided by NEXIM includes foreign input facility (FIF) which provide manufacturers of export products the need for foreign exchange for the importation of capital equipment packing and raw materials for the production of finished or semi-finished export products.

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