Access Bank: Fitch Upgrade for Strong Risk Management

At a time when the Nigerian banking industry is showing signs of weakness in risk management practices as reflected in resurgence of huge non-[performing loans, Fitch ratings have commended Access Bank for its 'strong risk management', and thus upgraded the bank's rating to long-term National Ratings to "A" from "A-" with a stable outlook. The rating upgrade according to Fitch is a reflection of the improvement in the creditworthiness of Access Bank over time relative to peers and to the best credits in Nigeria. Announcing the rating upgrade, the company stated, "Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, had affirmed the Long-term IDRs of Access Bank Plc and upgraded the National Rating. The National Rating of the Bank has been upgraded to 'A(nga)'/'F1(nga)' to 'A-(nga)'/'F2(nga)' to reflect the improvement in creditworthiness over time relative to peers and to the best credits in Nigeria. "In Fitch's opinion, banks will continue to face multiple threats in the course of 2016, particularly from tight foreign currency liquidity, worsening asset quality and pressure on regulatory capital ratios. However, Access' Viability Rating (VR) is affirmed as these risks are to a large extent already captured in the ratings.