October 2, 2022
  • There is a problem with Nigerian banking, and it’s worse than you think. Much worse.

In May 2022, shortly after my story about Chinese loan sharks in West Africa went up, a number of new tips and leads started trickling in. It looked at first, as though a follow-up story would emerge, focusing on how some Nigerian banks still offer banking services to illegal loan sharks despite CBN regulations expressly forbidding this. Wema Bank – unsurprisingly – was the most regular offender in this category, lending its support to multiple illegal loan sharks up until as recently as the time stamps in the images below.

As I trawled through the leads and my own mounting pile of untold story ideas sitting on my Google Drive however, I started to realize something – there was a much greater issue at play here than a few banks bending KYC rules to bank some customers that ought not to be banked. These were borderline unbelievable stories – stories about aggressively fraudulent behavior by Nigerian banks presented with evidence that was as devastating as it was undeniable.

What is more, these were not stories about a few “bad eggs” in the Nigerian banking sector. Pretty much all of Nigeria’s major banks were implicated, albeit to differing extents. In the interest of brevity, an editorial decision was made to tell the 4 most disturbing stories in no particular order.

There is a story about collusion with regulators to cheat customers and…

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