One of South Africa’s biggest financial companies, First Rand Ltd, makes its way into Nigeria as it has obtained license to commence offering merchant bank services and products to consumers in Nigeria, which is regarded as the second biggest economy in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to a Spokesman for the Central Bank of Nigeria, “The bank was granted a license after it met the 15 billion Naira ($95.2 million) minimum capital requirement and other conditions.”
Nigeria’s central bank introduced modified licensing rules for lenders as part of reforms after a debt crisis in 2009 brought the industry to the verge of collapse. Banks are either licensed as holding companies operating local and international units or as national, regional or specialized banks. First Securities Discount House Ltd., based in Lagos, said on Nov. 23 it received a merchant-banking license, bringing to two the number of such permits given by the central bank.
Chief Executive Officer of Rand Merchant Bank, Alan Pullinger, confirmed that the license will enable First Rand’s unit, Rand Merchant Bank, which already has an office in Nigeria “to more rapidly build out its franchise, provide products and services to the corporate and institutional client segments.”
FirstRand is expected to commence business early next year.