The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, granted Diamond Bank Plc the approval to operate as a national bank.
In a statement released on Friday by the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Uzoma Dozie, and signed by the bank’s Head of Media, Ezechinyere Anyanwu, this followed its application for it.
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 the larger 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.”
This, Dozie said, would enable the bank to deploy more capital for stronger growth in the quarters ahead, through additional investment in technology platforms. Also saying that it would enable the bank deploy funds to customer acquisition and expansion of loans to the critical sectors of the economy.
He further 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 a priority, the bank also intends to pay down in full, the Eurobond loan of $200 million at maturity in May 2019.
According to Doize, there will be no refinancing of the loan.
He further said that top quality services to international customers would continue through the bank’s digital channels and a network of correspondence banks.