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BREAKING: CBN Bans Use Of Foreign Currencies as Collateral for Naira Loans

The Central Bank of Nigeria has banned the use of foreign currencies as collateral for naira loans, aiming to safeguard the banking system against currency fluctuations.

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Foreign Currencies as Collateral
CBN Bans Use Of Foreign Currencies as Collateral for Naira Loans

The Central Bank of Nigeria has banned the use of foreign currencies as collateral for naira loans, aiming to safeguard the banking system against currency fluctuations.

Lenders must transition existing loans secured with foreign currency collateral within 90 days or face sanctions, amidst the naira’s recent strengthening and policy adjustments by the central bank to attract foreign investors.

In a significant move aimed at stabilizing the country’s financial landscape, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has decided to discontinue the longstanding practice of accepting foreign currencies as collateral for loans issued in naira.

VerseNews reports that this decision marks a pivotal shift in the country’s banking sector and is poised to have profound implications for both lenders and borrowers alike.

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Under the directive issued by the CBN, all Nigerian banks are instructed to cease the practice of accepting foreign currencies as security for loans denominated in the local currency, the naira.

The circular issued by the regulator explicitly states that the observed practice of bank customers utilizing foreign currency as collateral for naira loans is now deemed “prohibited”.

This directive underscores the CBN’s commitment to bolstering the resilience of the naira and minimizing the risks associated with currency volatility within the domestic banking system.

Furthermore, the central bank has specified certain instruments approved as eligible foreign currency collateral, including Eurobonds issued by the government or letters of credit issued by offshore banks. This delineation provides clarity to lenders regarding acceptable forms of foreign currency collateral within the regulatory framework.

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To ensure compliance with the new directive, the CBN has mandated that lenders wind down all existing loans secured with dollar-denominated collateral within a 90-day period, failing which they may face sanctions. This deadline underscores the urgency with which banks are expected to adjust their lending practices in accordance with the regulatory guidelines.

The backdrop against which this directive is issued reflects recent trends in Nigeria’s currency markets. The naira has experienced a notable appreciation against the dollar across both official and parallel markets following its second devaluation in less than a year, which occurred in January.

Contributing to this strengthening trend, the central bank implemented interest rate hikes in February and March, alongside the removal of restrictions on foreign participation in fixed-income auctions.

Analysts have noted that the central bank’s policy adjustments, including the facilitation of pre-funding for foreign investors at bill auctions, have contributed to the bolstering of the naira.

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Previously, lenders encountered challenges in fulfilling foreign investors’ bids due to additional costs incurred on settlement day if they resorted to borrowing from the central bank’s discount window to cover bill payments.

CBN’s ban on foreign currency collateral for naira loans represents a proactive measure aimed at enhancing the stability and resilience of Nigeria’s banking system amidst evolving economic dynamics.

This regulatory intervention seeks to align lending practices with the broader objectives of safeguarding the integrity of the local currency and promoting sustainable financial stability.

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