Patrick Akinwuntan, MD, Ecobank Nigeria

By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU

According to Ade Adeyemi, the Group CEO of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Nigeria is not only the pan-African bank’s biggest market but its biggest opportunity.

He made the declaration during a virtual press conference with business journalists to introduce the new chairman of the bank, Alain Nkontchou on Wednesday.

This clarification became imperative in response to a particularly interesting question about the challenges facing Ecobank Nigeria and the likely effects of said challenges on overall group performance. According to him, ETI’s Anglophone West Africa (AWA) region is the biggest market, based on the latest earnings report for Q1 2020.

Note that the bank has been grappling with some challenges which two of them acknowledged. Both the Group CEO and newly-appointed board Chairman said that ETI has been facing some challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic, for one, has been a major challenge facing the Pan-African bank. According to Mr Nkontchou, the pandemic has adversely affected some ETI customers, and by extension affected the bank.

He specifically noted that loan is a major challenge, as customers struggle to repay principal debts and interests. Note that this is currently a major issue across the Nigerian banking industry. A recent Nairametrics report talked about how 22 banks had to restructure as much as N7.8 trillion worth of loans just to prevent them from going bad.