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Nigeria as it is now, is still underbanked—-Oduoza, former UBA chief

Astute banker and former Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of United Ban for Africa (UBA) Plc., Phillips Oduoza has opened up years after leaving the Africa’s global bank, saying Nigeria, as it is now, is still suffering under banking.

Explaining issues in an interview, the current promoter and Chairman of NOVA Merchant Bank Limited, the latest financial entity in the nation’s banking industry said “I believe that banking penetration has not gotten to the level that we would be very comfortable. We still have a lot of liquidity outside the banking system and I believe it is an opportunity for us to tap into. Now, in terms of merchant banking, I think the opportunities are enormous”.

“We have not done so much in terms of infrastructure, which offers tremendous opportunities for merchant banks. We have not done so much in capital market where we also have tremendous opportunities.

“The banking industry needs to do more in wealth management. Only 0.1% of Nigerians benefit from this and most of these assets are managed offshore. We would like those assets to be managed in Nigeria. With technology, you can have access to products from all over the world and you don’t need to physically move cash out of Nigeria to manage such assets.

Continuing, he said that asset management has a lot of upside and we haven’t done much there, noting that “We also think that private equity has a lot of opportunities. If you look around, there are so many opportunities we have not tapped into and I believe that as banks continue to strengthen their risk management and personnel, we would start going deep into all these opportunities. Today, we see the foreign banks come into Nigeria without a footprint and collect investment mandates and go ahead to execute them offshore. We would like to be the face of investment banking in Nigeria”.