Global rating agency, Fitch Ratings has re-affirmed the AAA(nga)' national ratings of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc.
A statement on Wednesday described the ratings by Fitch as a testament to the financial institutions' strong fundamentals and stability.
The two institutions were also assigned 'F1+(nga)'National Short-term rating, to reflect the their ability to meet their financial commitments as they fall due.
The national rating provides a relative measure of credit worthiness for rated institutions in Nigeria and the AAA national rating is assigned to an institution(s) with the lowest relative risk. In the ratings release Fitchalso maintained a stable outlook for both Stanbic IBTC Bank and Stanbic IBTC Holdings.
Furthermore, the agency indicated that it expects increasingly challenging economic conditions and market volatility to persist in Nigeria.
However, the firm also recognised the continued strong underlying growth in Nigeria, particularly in the non-oil sector. In arriving at the rating for Stanbic IBTC Bank and Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Fitch took account of the strong parental support from Standard Bank Group, which has a majority 53.2% stake in Stanbic IBTC Holdings.
Commenting on the ratings, the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, said the ratings reflected the financial institution's strength, strong leadership and the continued support of its parent company, the Standard Bank Group.
"Stanbic IBTC will continue to leverage on the rich heritage and know-how of the Standard Bank Group to build a strong and reliable financial institution that will support the developmental goals of the economy," David-Borha said.
On the industry outlook, Fitch forecasts the financial services sector's non-performing loans (NPLs) to rise above the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) informal cap of five per cent, but predicted that it would stay below 10 per cent by end-2015.
"This reflects high credit concentrations as well as emerging risks, particularly in the oil and gas and power sectors. These factors, together with a shift to Basel II and CBN's revised regulatory capital computation rules, are likely to add more pressure on capital than previously expected," the Fitch report added
Speaking on the report, the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Yinka Sanni, assured that the bank would continue to strengthen its retail banking drive and support the growth of businesses.
"With our increasing coverage of the country via physical branches and other channels, Stanbic IBTC Bank's ability to support businesses, both big and small, as well as individual customers, is enhanced," added Sanni.
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