[Africa CEO Forum] Harriman Oyofo: There must be more to banking than making deposits
Are African Banks contributing actively to the development of the continent?
I would say yes and no because it is a two-fold question from my perspective. Taken from the domestic front, the answer is an unhesitant NO for the simple fact that accessing business growth funding from any Nigerian bank is like the proverbial head of the camel through the eye of a needle. They appear not cut out to support economic growth especially where Small and Medium Scale businesses are concerned. They put potential borrowers off with unrealistic and impossible conditions and lending rates so outrageous that one is left wondering if they're not just banks in name only.
They appear least interested in supporting or helping to nurture and grow a business or a potentially life-changing idea that will come to fruition in a few years down the road. In fact, they give off the impression that if it isn't to do with deposits it isn't banking, which is not very business or economic development-friendly and very distant from global practices elsewhere. I would expect a conscious change from our local banks if Africa's economic development future is to be secured or given 100% support especially by banks operating in Nigeria, instead of looking for quick yields by engaging in intangible consumerism midwifery. The Central Bank of Nigeria appears not overly concerned that business lending rates, terms and conditions in Nigeria are most growth-unfriendly and unhelpful.
Globally across the continent, a YES may be a plausible answer but I couldn't pound my chest on that owing to my limited pan African banking business relationships or experience.