Nova Merchant Bank, newly licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has begun operations. Immediate past Group Managing Director (GMD) of UBA Plc, and Chairman of the Bank, Phillip Oduoza while speaking with Thisday, gave insight into the plans of the bank going forward. The bank thus brings to 5, the number of merchant banks in the country.
Origin of the name
Nova means brand new in Latin and several other languages.
Why merchant banking ?
Oduoza also shed more light on the reasons behind the decision of the shareholders to apply for a merchant bank licence. In his opinion, Nigeria was still underbanked and had room for various services such as infrastructure finance.
the opportunities are enormous. We have not done so much in terms of infrastructure which offers tremendous opportunities for merchant banks. We have not done so much in capital market where we also have tremendous opportunities.
Why go for a new banking licence ?
Oduoza also stated that going for a new merchant banking licence would enable the bank get things right from the get go.
As a new bank we have come with a clean slate and are well positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities as the economy recovers.
The economy fell into recession in August 2016 in due to a fall in crude oil prices and production volumes. While growth turned positive in September 2017 (due to a rebound in global crude oil prices and the country’s production volumes), it remains quite weak.
The board comprises several prominent individuals including one time ICAN president Emmanuel Ijewere and former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises Bolanle Onagoruwa.
What services will the bank provide ?
The bank intends focusing on wholesale and investment banking. Its specific areas of coverage will include the Oil & Gas sector, Commodity & Agricultural business, Utility & Infrastructure, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Trade & Services and Financial Institutions.