Central bank governor Charles Soludo has had a big influence on the development of the Nigerian banking sector.
"When Soludo announced his consolidation plans and minimum capital levels for the banks, it was like our wet dream," says Herbert Wigwe, deputy managing director at Access Bank. This was in 2004. Access Bank had already started working on a plan to merge with one or more banks. This was just the fillip they needed and made such a move inevitable. Other bankers were less enthusiastic. "I realized that a regulator could wake up one day and ruin your business," says Atedo Peterside, chief executive of IBTC Chartered Bank.
Although there were a few losers in the banking shake-up, those that survived have prospered beyond their wildest dreams. Capital has started flowing into the country, and the banks have started lending again. As the macroeconomic situation improves, so does the money flow into the system. But Soludo is not finished yet. He wants to make Lagos a money centre to compete with Singapore and Dubai.