The development of banking in Nigeria can be traced to 1891, in that year, a company known as the African Banking Corporation opened a branch office in Lagos. Incidentally, it happened that the bank was a South African organization. By January 1892, ABC acquired a License to import and distribute coins from Britain to Nigeria. In 1984, the ownership of the bank changed hands when a British out fit acquired it and its name was changed to British Bank for West Africa (BBWA). The BBWA has since changed name again to standard bank of (Nigeria) plc. A few other banks were opened after this.
The development of Banking in Nigeria can be conveniently categorized into eight (8) stages for the purpose of analysis. The stages are as follows:
1. Era of free Banking (1892-1952)
2. Era of 1st Bank failure (1953-1959)
3. Era of consolidation (first decade of independence 1960-1969).
4. Era of indigenisation (Oil boom period (1970-1979).
5. Period of depression (first stage of expansion 1980-1985).
6. Structural Adjustment programme (SAP) period (Era of deregulation –2nd stage of expansion 1986-1993)
7. Era of regulation (period of 2nd Bank failure 1994-1995).
8. Era of guided de-regulation (1995-till date).
One of the main features of the era of free banking was lack of controls or banking regulations. Al that was required was registration under the company’s ordinance. The ordinance allowed anybody or group to engage in the business of banking like any other business. This caused a scramble for banking regulations. This was caused by two major factors. There was freedom of entry between 1947 and 1952 about 185 organizations sort for banking registration, 145 were registered in 1947 and 40 in 1952. Some of these companies did not actually operate as banks due to internal problems like their inability to mobilize enough finds from shareholders and even from prospective depositors. May of them folded up no sooner than they got their registration.
The second factor is that banking was the most profitable business to do them. The result was a wide spread fraud and banking abuse. Three banks failed during the period. This became a source of concern to the then colonial government forcing it to set up the portion commission on the 7thSeptember
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