As the banks struggled to keep up their profitability, they had shed weight in the second quarter of the year, cutting down expenses particularly in staff costs.
The data given by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that banks had let go of 1,489 staff during the three month period.
According to the NBS, there had been a total of 77,096 workers employed in the banking industry in the first quarter of the year, but the figure has reduced to 75,607 by the end of June, 2017.
While banks cut back on the number of their executive, and junior staff, there had been an increase in the number of contract staff.
Although the industry cut back on its lending, the oil and gas sector continued to account for the largest portions of the banking industry credit, clinching N3.35 trillion of the N15.71 trillion credit to private sector by banks in the country in the second quarter of the year.
This is 22.46 per cent of the total banking industry credit to the private sector, a little higher than 22.34 per cent which it accounted for in the first three months of the year.
Credit to the manufacturing sector was however much higher than as the sector accounted for 14.11 per cent of the credit to private sector by banks in the second quarter compared to 13.39 per cent share which it held in the first three months of the year.
According to the NBS, Nigerian banks credit to the manufacturing sector had risen to N2.22 trillion as at June 30, 2017.
The NBS in its Q2 Selected Banking Sector Data released at the weekend revealed that there is a decline in credit to the agriculture sector in the last quarter.
This is despite increased efforts by the government to boost the agricultural sector as part of the drive to reduce the country’s dependence on oil revenue as well as making itself sustaining.
The portion of banking sector credit that went to the agric sector dropped in the second quarter to 3.19 per cent from 3.48 per cent.
Total banking industry lending to the agric sector stood at N501.08 billion in the second quarter compared to N556.53 billion which the sector had in the first three months of the year.
Banks favoured the trade and commerce, construction and real estate sectors as credit to these sectors rose in the period under review.
Lending to trade and commerce accounted for 6.11 per cent of total lending rising to N960.04 billion from N953.09 billion in the first quarter while lending to the real estate and construction sectors accounted for 5.06 and 4.01 per cents of the total credit.
Meanwhile, a total of N19.78 trillion had passed through the various electronic payment channels in the Nigerian banking system in the second quarter of the year in a total volume of 327.366 million transactions.
ATM transactions dominated the volume of transactions recorded with 187.805 transactions valued at N1.54 trillion were recorded on the platform in the second quarter of the year.
The Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System Instant Payment (NIP) platform however recorded the highest value with N13.36 that was done in 80.82 million transactions.
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