Fear mounts over banks’ deposit decline amid Naira scarcity


Nigerian banks’ Standing Deposit Facility has declined by 18 per cent to N2.4 trillion in November from N2.94 trillion in October amid cash scarcity.

Also, banks’ Standing Lending Facility, SLF, increased month-on-month by 559 per cent to N376.64 billion in November from N57.14 billion in October this year, raising fear of liquidity in the country’s financial sector.

It was gathered these details from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial data for November 2023.

Although the apex bank, in a statement on December 11, assured that Nigerian banks remain resilient, the 18 per cent decline in the banks’ Standing Deposit Facility and increase in the Standing Lending Facility have raised concerns.

The decline in banks’ SDF is not unconnected to the drop in cash deposits resulting from the persistent Naira scarcity.

As a solution, CBN suspended processing fees on large cash deposits.

This comes after the CBN blamed the cash crunch largely on high-volume withdrawal from its branches by Deposit Money Banks and panic withdrawal by customers from the ATMs.

In an interview on Monday, Dr Uju Ogunbunka, the President of the Bank Customers’ Association of Nigeria, insisted that the cash scarcity has persisted despite CBN’s assurance.

“The problem is that people do not have the money to buy because Naira is scarce. There is still naira scarcity. What is paramount now is the availability of cash”, he said.

Elegede Segun, the secretary-elect of the Association of Mobile Money and Agent Banking Industry in Nigeria, corroborated Ogunbunka’s stance on Naira scarcity.

“Our members no longer rely on banks for cash; we’ve shifted our focus to alternative merchants. And this means we have to pay more to get cash”, he said.

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