The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s slashing of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of Merchant banks, means money for the real sector of the economy to create jobs.

The CBN on Friday revised the CRR of Merchant banks to 10 percent from 32.5 percent, and this takes effect August 1, 2023.

Haruna Mustafa, director, banking supervision disclosed this in a letter to all Merchant banks dated July 14, 2023

He said the measure Is expected to boost the banks’ ability to avail increased infrastructure, real sector and other long-term financing needed to support the development of the Nigerian economy.

“It means that more of the sterilised deposits of the Merchant Banks will be available for them to support the growth sectors of the economy to create jobs, accelerate economic growth and create shared prosperity for all the economic units in the country,” said Ayodele Akinwunmi, relationship manager, corporate banking at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited.

Uche Uwaleke, professor of Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University Keffi, said “I consider this a welcome development which will place the wholesale banks in a stronger position to attend to the financing needs of the real sector.”

He said by the same token, the CBN should consider reducing the CRR for DMBs from 32.5 percent to say, 25 percent in view of the high Monetary Policy Rate (MPR).

The huge evidence of non-monetary influence on inflation supports this recommendation, he said.

Furthermore, Uwaleke said, ‘it’s a no-brainer that increased liquidity in the banking sector following a reduction in the CRR has the potential of lowering interest rates with positive pass-through to the stock market.’

For Muda Yusuf, chief executive officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Merchant banks will have more money to do business.

He said the liquidity effect may not be much to trigger inflation considering the number of Merchant banks in the country.

There are six licensed Merchant banks operating in the country. They are Coronation Merchant bank, FBN Merchant bank, FSDH Merchant bank, Greenwich Merchant bank, Nova Merchant bank and Rand Merchant bank.

According to the letter the regulatory measure is in recognition of the nuanced business model of the Merchant Banks, in particular their wholesale funding structure, regulatory restrictions from the retail market and permissible activities vis-a-vis conventional commercial banks.

The CBN will continue to monitor market developments and implement measures to address unique challenges faced by the merchant banking sector.

The CRR is the share of a bank’s total customer deposit that must be deposited with the central bank.

The new fresh cut reverses significantly the increase in the CRR by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) last September from 27.5 percent to 32.5 percent to tame inflationary pressure.

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