Ernest Ebi: A lot of people in Nigerian banking have big titles but no experience

Ernest Ebi, chairman of the board of Fidelity Bank, says there are a lot of people in the Nigerian banking sector with big titles but no experience.

In an interview published in the bank’s quarterly magazine, Ebi said there is an urgent need to address the quality of human capacity in the sector.

“I agree with you that the quality of human capacity in the sector needs to be urgently addressed. You will recall that there were only a few banks in Nigeria early in the 1980s and the banking skill set was adequate,” he said.

“However, the industry growth in terms of brick and mortar spread was faster than the available skill set.

“Banks were licensed without taking into consideration the availability of skilled personnel required to drive them profitability hence they ended up promoting people beyond their competence level.

“In our own time, before you resume at the bank, you go on a long usually six months to one-year training. During that time, you do classwork and you do practical work to internalize what you have learnt.

“Now to the issue of competition in hiring personnel and poaching; we see a staff who has just been promoted as Assistant General Manager (AGM) in a bank, being offered the position of a Deputy General Manager in another bank with little or no work experience at that level.

“As a result, there are a lot of people in the industry with big titles but little or no experience.”

Speaking on the outlook for 2018, Ebi said he expected the year to be better than 2017 although there is a need for urgent economic reforms.

“I agree with IMF that coherent and comprehensive economic reforms are urgently needed in the country. Although the outlook for growth has improved, the climate still remained challenging,” he said.

“Also moving towards a unified exchange rate should be pursued urgently.”