Sterling Bank threatens to publish debtors’ list

Sterling Bank

Sterling Bank

Sterling Bank Plc said it concluded arrangements to publish the names of individuals and institutions on its Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) portfolio on national newspapers.

It also threatened to publicise the bad debtors further on the social media if they fail to pay repay loans obtained from the bank.

The bank’s decision may be part of the earlier threat by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers Committee against the bad debtors, as indications have emerged that the regulator has mandated banks to publish the said names in at least three national daily newspapers after July 31.

CBN had also given the defaulters three months beginning from May 1 to July 31, 2015, to repay, as those who remained in the list after then would also be banned from Nigeria’s foreign exchange and bond markets.

Already, non-performing loans in the industry have hit N390 billion in May 2015, while the apex bank has given July 31, 2015, deadline for debtors to change the status of their accounts or risk public shame.

However, Sterling Bank said that some of its delinquent debtors are now responding after receiving formal notice for amicable settlement to avoid embarrassment.

In a statement from the lender, it noted: “Some delinquent debtors are making frantic efforts to repay their loans and avoid their names being published, while others are hopeful that the CBN will extend the deadline and are asking for more time to pay.

“Our position on this remains that those who negotiate agreeable terms of repayment before the expiration of the deadline will not have their names published, while the names of other delinquent debtors will be published in compliance with the CBN’s directive”.

Recently, the Director of Banking Supervision, Tokunbo Martins, in a circular sent to banks and discount houses, raised the alarm over the rising trend of NPLs, warning that the ratio must not exceed the prudential limit of five per cent.

At present, the loan portfolio of the deposit money banks is put at N15 trillion, with the NPLs portfolio constituting about 3.3 per cent of the total figure.

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