The Central Bank of Nigeria has granted Diamond Bank Plc the approval to operate as a national bank following its application for it .The bank’ s Chief Executive Officer , Mr . Uzoma Dozie , said this in a statement signed by the bank’ s Head of Media , Ezechinyere Anyanwu , on Friday in Abuja .
He said that the change in the license means Diamond Bank could expand product services to Nigerian consumers .
Dozie said : ” With this approval , the bank will cease to operate as an international bank.
“ The re – licensing as a national bank supports Diamond Bank ’ s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and economy as a whole .
“ The move follows Diamond Bank ’ s decision to sell its international operations , which included the disposal of its West African Subsidiary in 2017 and Diamond Bank UK , the sale of which is currently in its final stages .
“ The change to national bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement of 10 per cent , as against 15 per cent required for international banks . ”
Dozie said that the approval would enable the bank to deploy more capital for stronger growth in the quarters ahead through additional investment in technology platforms .
He said it would also enable the bank deploy funds to customer acquisition and expansion of loans to the critical sectors of the economy .
According to Dozie , the move to a national banking license marks a continuation of a strategy to focus on Nigeria ’ s significant fundamental trends .
This , he said included a large under banked population and Africa ’ s biggest economy .
He said : ” By focusing and optimising our resources towards Nigeria and the priority area of retail banking, we will be better positioned for longer term growth and greater profitability .
“ The reduction in minimum capital requirement also increases our capacity to expand the quantum of business and product services we can offer consumers .
“ It will also represent a key step in strengthening our financial position .
“ This development does not affect the bank’ s ability to offer services to its clients in international locations .
” Rather, with focus on its domestic business being priority , the bank also intends to pay down in full, the Eurobond loan of $ 200 m at maturity in May 2019 .
According to the chief executive , there will be no refinancing of the loan .
He said this was because of the intent to pay down with foreign exchange generated from its internal operations , a reflection of the solidity of its operations and funds flow in the last few years .
He further said that top quality services to international customers would continue through the bank’ s digital channels and network of correspondence banks .
( NAN )