Leading emerging market focused ratings agency, Global Credit Ratings (GCR), has upgraded the long-term national scale and affirmed the short term national scale issuer ratings assigned to Ecobank Nigeria to A-(NG) and A2 (NG) respectively implying that the bank is healthy, sound and has stable outlook.
Justifying the high ratings, GCR pointed out that Ecobank's competitive position in the Nigerian banking industry had been enhanced by its acquisition of Oceanic Bank, which has seen it rank among the 10 largest banks, by asset size and branch network in the country; noting that, the bank's risk management processes has undergone significant changes over the past year.
The rating agency further stated that the internal loan recovery system of the bank has become more effective following the sale of impaired loans totaling N17 billion to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), adding that, the bank's enlarged branch network has enhanced its access to cheaper retail deposits, and also, the capital adequacy also improved, following the injection of $400 million in Tier I capital by Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) in the 2012 financial year-end.
"Also, Ecobank achieved a net comprehensive income of N18.4 billion in the 2012 financial year; representing a notable 33.7 per cent growth over the IFRS based results for 2011. Benefitting from the higher interest rates that prevailed for most part of the year, robust returns on investment securities saw total operating income grow by 142 per cent. This positive growth is recorded in most key indices," the Agency stated.
Commenting on the rating, the Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Jibril Aku, attributed the high ratings to the commitment and hard work of the management and staff of the bank, assuring that, the rating will act as stimulus toward greater achievements.
"The bank has always been at the forefront of promoting excellence in its operations. We will continue to ensure that we do not only maintain the standards that we have set, but we will exceed the current achievements and give value to all our shareholders, customers and investors," he said.