Agusto & Co., the foremost credit rating agency, has awarded an “Aaa” rating on the Development Bank of Nigeria Plc, the highest rating possible on any institution.

The rating which agrees with the Nigerians Sovereign “risk-free” rating described DBN as “a development finance institution of impeccable financial condition and overwhelming capacity to meet obligations as and when they fall due”.

While Agusto applauded DBN for its determination In pursuit of its mandate of enhancing access to credit for micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), it also said DBN has continued to expand the scope of its operations, onboarding more Participating Financial Institutions and deepening credit penetration in the low end of the market, particularly amongst women entrepreneurs, who represent over 50% of the bank’s ultimate credit beneficiaries.

The credit rating agency observed that “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, DBN increased its financial support to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and small-sized corporates through participating financial institutions”. This is even as the bank has doubled its loan portfolio to N215.1billion, leveraging its robust risk management practice in deepening credit penetration to over 136,000 MSMEs.

Furthermore, Agusto highlighted “DBN’s good asset quality, good capitalization, good liquidity, and experienced management team are also positive rating factors”.

In its credit rating announcement, Agusto noted DBN’s rating “Takes into cognizance the support of the Bank’s shareholders – the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

In his reaction to the rating, the Managing Director/CEO, Development Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Tony Okpanachi expressed excitement at the bank’s attainment of this enviable height in the financial sector.

Okpanachi said, “we are excited by this independent assessment of our operations, as it provides an objective opinion on the bank’s credibility and capacity in meeting short and long-term obligations. The rigorous and detailed process underlying Agusto’s rating is quite commendable, and I am pleased that the bank was assigned “Aaa”, the highest rating possible. Interestingly, this rating action aligns with a recent decision of Global Credit Ratings (GCR), another foremost rating agency that also assigned “AAA” national scale rating on DBN. As we continue to uphold gold standards in risk management and governance practices, we would sustain these well-deserved ratings, which are pertinent to our medium to long-term objectives, as we execute our unique strategies for unlocking credit for MSMEs.”

For the Executive Director, Finance & Corporate Services, Mrs. Ijeoma Ozulumba “Agusto’s assignment of “Aaa” on the Bank is another testament to the strong credibility and capacity of the Bank, as a distinguished development finance institution with an impeccable and overwhelming capacity to meet obligations and deliver on its core mandate. We would continue to leverage the bank’s balance sheet capacity, global best governance practice, robust risk management framework, and collaborative approach in easing access to credit for growing Nigerian MSMEs, which portend the salient capacity to create jobs, industrialize the economy and drive sustainable growth.”