Nigeria’s Fidelity Bank Plc will apply for an international license and plans to sell its non- banking units to meet new regulations, said Reginald Ihejiahi, its chief executive officer.
“We opted to divest completely from the non-banking units rather than having a holding company to manage them because they are insignificant in terms of the business that we conduct for our customers,” he said in an interview in Lagos, the commercial capital, today.
The central bank in March asked lenders to separate their banking and non-banking businesses to allow for better supervision. Banks also needed to choose whether to operate as regional, national or international lenders with minimum capital requirements ranging from 15 billion naira ($100 million) for regional banks to 100 billion naira for international lenders.
The rules form part of changes to the banking industry that has amassed bad debts of more than $10 billion. The central bank fired the chief executive officers of eight of the banks for their handling of the crisis last year. Fidelity wasn’t one of those affected.
The bank will sell the units “by whichever way the independent consultants advise us to go,” Christopher Ezeh, its chairman, said in an interview today.
Ihejiahi said on Nov. 3 that the bank plans to open branches in other African countries next year.