AMCON: History, roles, and function

AMCON: History, roles, and function

AMCON

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was established in 2010 as a way to combat bad debts, also known as Non-performing loans (NPLs). Although the organization has faced certain challenges over its decade-long operation, it still holds a pivotal role in Nigeria’s financial landscape.

At the of this article, you will:

  • Understand the roles and functions of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.  
  • Its history and its establishment. 
  • The impact on the Nigerian financial system.  

What is AMCON? 

AMCON stands for Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. It is a state-owned bank tasked with addressing the issue of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) held by commercial lenders in Nigeria.

 It solves this issue by buying NPLs from banks at a discounted rate. By doing so, they help banks clean up their balance sheets, reducing the burden of NPLs and restoring the banks’ financial health.

What are Non-performing loans (NPLs)?

Non- Non-performing loans are loans that borrowers have failed to repay according to the agreed-upon terms (usually by missing several scheduled payments).

When borrowers don’t repay their loans, banks face the risk of losing the money they lent out. This can erode a bank’s profitability, weaken its capital position, and even threaten its overall stability. Basically, an accumulation of NPLs can lead to financial trouble for banks. 

 In addition, NPLs possess the potential to disrupt the flow of credit in an economy. Banks may become more cautious about lending money when they have a high number of NPLs on their books.

This caution and overall reluctance to lend can truncate economic growth because businesses and individuals rely on loans to fund various activities, like expanding businesses and buying homes. 

Brief History: Why was AMCON founded?  

 In the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, Nigeria found itself facing a sharp decline in the proceeds of crude oil and a bursting stock market bubble. The nation’s economic troubles were further aggravated by a risky financial practice known as margin lending, resulting in an unprecedented number of non-performing loans.

It was in this financial turmoil that the Nigerian government recognized the urgent need for intervention and founded the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.

The formation was inspired by successful models in countries like the Republic of Ireland and Malaysia, where similar entities had effectively addressed financial crises. The Nigerian government recognized the need for a dedicated institution to tackle the escalating problem of NPLs and distressed assets.

The President of the Federal Republic, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the AMCON act into law in July 2010 and from whence commenced the operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria in hopes of rejuvenating and stabilizing the Nigerian financial system.

Its core mission was clear: to positively impact and improve Nigeria’s economy. This mission was to be achieved through several strategic objectives, including ;

  • complementing the recapitalization of affected Nigerian banks 
  • providing an avenue for banks to rid themselves of non-performing loans (NPLs) 
  • freeing up valuable resources, and enabling banks to refocus on their core activities.

At its core, AMCON aimed to reignite the lending spirit within banks, thereby facilitating economic growth. 

However, the journey was marred by substantial financial losses during its debt recovery and recapitalization efforts. 

As the years passed, AMCON continued its tireless efforts to recover debts and address the complex financial issues plaguing the Nigerian banking sector. 

Yet, nearly a decade into its operation, it has only managed to recover a fraction of the toxic assets, with a significant portion of ₦3.6 trillion owed by 350 businesses and firms—a substantial 81% of the total outstanding debts. 

Roadmap of AMCON 

(2008 – 2010) 

   – Global Financial Crisis (2008) and its impact on Nigeria. 

   – Vulnerabilities in the Nigerian banking sector. 

(July 19, 2010) 

   – Enactment of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act, 2010. 

   – Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Alade’s appointment as the first Chairperson. 

(2010 – 2011) 

   – Commencement of acquiring NPLs and distressed assets from Nigerian banks. 

   – Reduction of NPL burden from 37.2% to 5.8% within two years. 

(2011) 

   – Facilitation of the merger of distressed banks for improved stability. 

 (February 9, 2017) 

  • AMCON’s confirmation of the takeover of Arik Air. 
  • Appointment of Captain Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu to run Arik under receivership. 

 (2019) 

   – Alignment of AMCON’s interventions with The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) objectives. 

Roles and Function: What does AMCON do in Nigeria? 

The primary function of AMCON in Nigeria is to ensure the effective acquisition, management, and disposal of eligible bank assets (NPLs). 

In a broader sense, it collaborates with financial institutions, businesses, and other stakeholders to perform various roles. These roles include:  

Identifying Eligible NPLs 

AMCON identifies NPLs that meet specific eligibility criteria for acquisition. These criteria may include factors such as the age of the loans, classification as non-performing, and potential for recovery.

Through comprehensive valuations and appraisals of distressed assets to determine their current market value, AMCON makes informed decisions on the most suitable.

Loan Transfer 

AMCON negotiates with financial institutions to transfer identified NPLs to its portfolio. The terms of the transfer, including the pricing of the assets, are determined through these negotiations.

Loan Restructuring and Workouts 

AMCON works with borrowers to restructure loans when feasible. Loan workouts involve renegotiating loan terms to make repayment more manageable for borrowers, which can enhance the likelihood of recovery.

Real Estate Development and Management 

In cases where distressed assets include real estate properties, AMCON may engage in real estate development and management to improve their value. This may involve completing unfinished projects, maintaining properties, or exploring new development opportunities.

Acquisition of Distressed Assets 

One of AMCON’s primary functions is to acquire NPLs from eligible financial institutions, effectively relieving these banks of the burden of managing these distressed assets.

Collects interest principal and capital due 

In this scope of operation, the company assumes the responsibility of gathering both the interest on the principal and the due capital for the duration of the transactions. It is also tasked with the obligation of assuming control over the collateral that was utilized to secure these assets.

Positive Impacts on the Nigerian Financial System

AMCON contributions are vital for the overall health and development of the Nigerian economy. To itemize its significance, we have listed AMCONS core impacts below:

Stabilizing Troubled Banks: AMCON plays a crucial role in stabilizing and recapitalizing troubled banks. By providing capital injections and implementing restructuring measures, AMCON prevents the collapse of distressed banks, safeguarding depositors’ funds maintaining the functioning of the banking sector, and strengthening their balance sheets.

This helps restore their capital adequacy and solvency, ensuring they can withstand shocks and continue to operate effectively. Stronger banks contribute to overall financial stability. 

 Resolving Non-Performing Loans: AMCON’s acquisition and resolution of NPLs reduce the burden of toxic assets on banks. AMCON’s intervention relieves this burden, enabling banks to resume their core function of providing credit to individuals and businesses, thereby supporting economic activities. 

The Loan Management Team at AMCON classifies loans based on their size; Small (N100m and below), Medium (Between N100m and N1b), Large (Between N1b and N10b and Strategic (Over N10b). On record, Strategic Loans make up the greatest percentage (40%) of AMCON’s portfolio. 

Deposit Confidence: Depositors are more likely to trust and keep their funds in banks that are financially stable and backed by an institution like AMCON, which intervenes to protect their interests. 

Thanks to AMCON, depositors are assured that their funds are safe, making investors more willing to engage with a stable and reliable financial system. 

Preventing Financial Crises: The stability of the banking industry is essential for the overall financial health of the nation. AMCON’s interventions and efficient resolution of distressed assets prevent financial crises that could have dire consequences for the entire economy. 

 Promoting Regulatory Compliance: AMCON collaborates closely with regulatory bodies, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to ensure that banks adhere to regulatory standards and compliance. This partnership reinforces regulatory oversight and encourages banks to maintain prudent lending and risk management practices, fostering stability. 

Supporting Economic Development: A stable banking sector, supported by AMCON’s interventions, plays a pivotal role in facilitating economic development. Businesses and entrepreneurs rely on banks for credit and financing to expand their operations, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth. AMCON’s actions contribute to this by ensuring that banks can continue to provide these crucial financial services. 

Attracting Investment Capital: A stable and well-regulated banking industry is attractive to both domestic and foreign investors. AMCON’s efforts to maintain stability and resolve distressed assets contribute to an environment that encourages investment in the banking sector, which, in turn, supports economic development. 

Negative Impact of AMCON on Nigeria  

 While the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has played a significant role in stabilizing the financial system and addressing non-performing loans (NPLs) in Nigeria, there are negative impacts and challenges associated with its operations. These impacts include:  

High Public Debt:  The issuance of debt instruments to settle banks helped rescue troubled banks but resulted in substantial public debt. This debt can have adverse effects on the financial stability of the government, as it ties up funds that could be used for economic development 

“AMCON is carrying against itself trillions of naira of securities (debt instruments) it issued to settle the banks. There is no doubt that the measure helped in rescuing most banks, but the resultant public debt is inimical to the financial stability of the government.

The money that the government ought to apply in developing the economy is tied down in that debt,” said David Adonri, Managing Director/CEO, of Highcap Securities, in an interview with Vanguard News.  

 Reduced Bank Profitability: Banks in Nigeria are required to make payments to AMCON, which reduces their profitability. The continued payments of 0.5% of their total assets affect their internal capital generation, limiting their capacity to lend. This reduction in bank profitability can also make them less attractive to foreign portfolio investors, which could limit foreign exchange inflows to Nigeria. 

Liquidity Challenges for the Central Bank: AMCON’s poor performance in recovering bad loans creates liquidity challenges for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The CBN holds the majority of the bonds issued by AMCON, and the inability to recover these assets impacts the CBN’s balance sheet. 

Case Study: AMCON vs. ARIK AIR

In February 2017, Arik Air, one of Nigeria’s largest airlines, faced a severe financial crisis. The airline had accumulated a staggering debt of over N300 billion, which had become unsustainable. 

In response to Arik Air’s financial situation, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through AMCON, stepped in to take over the airline. AMCON’s primary objective was to salvage the troubled airline and address its significant debt burden. 

Upon assuming control, the government dissolved Arik Air’s existing management team and appointed a receiver manager to oversee the airline’s operations and financial restructuring. 

However, in June 2023, media reports surfaced, stating that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had detained Omokide Kamilu, the receiver manager appointed by AMCON for Arik Air. The detention was reportedly related to the alleged misappropriation and diversion of approximately N120 billion.

Arik Air vehemently denied the allegations against the receiver manager, describing them as “patently false.” The airline continues to maintain its position that the allegations are baseless.

AMCON’s role in resolving NPLs and salvaging troubled entities like Arik Air underscores its importance in preserving financial stability in the country. It reflects the complex nature of debt management, government intervention, and the challenges faced by struggling businesses in Nigeria’s economic landscape.

Impact on Businesses and Investments

The overall impact of AMCON’s actions on businesses and investments is closely linked to its success in maintaining financial stability and promoting economic growth in the country. 

AMCON’s implications for businesses and investments in Nigeria are complex and context-dependent. While its interventions can create opportunities for businesses and investors, they also involve certain challenges and conditions. Here’s an overview of the key impacts and implications AMCON has on businesses and Investments : 

1. Access to Credit and Capital

AMCON’s interventions in stabilizing the banking sector ensure that banks have the capital and confidence to lend. This can be highly beneficial for businesses seeking loans for expansion, working capital, or investment purposes.

However, in Nigeria, considering the history of AMCON banks may tighten their lending criteria as they recover from financial distress, making it more challenging for businesses, especially those with riskier profiles, to secure loans. 

2. Distressed Asset Sales

AMCON has a track record of selling distressed assets, including real estate, equities, and loans, to investors or businesses at attractive prices. This presents investment opportunities for businesses looking to acquire assets at a discounted rate. 

On the other hand,  If a business’s assets are among those sold by AMCON, it may face the need to reacquire or replace essential assets at market rates, which could be costly. 

3. Collaboration Opportunities

Businesses facing financial distress may have the opportunity to collaborate with AMCON on debt restructuring or loan workouts, potentially saving them from insolvency.

It is important to note that the terms of collaboration may require businesses to meet certain conditions or obligations, and not all distressed businesses may qualify for such arrangements. 

Eligibility for AMCON bid

AMCON has a plethora of investment opportunities in its portfolio. And as a way to foster financial inclusion in the country, it opens these investments to the public. However, there are certain eligibility requirements a potential bidder must possess.  

These eligibility requirements are as follows: 

No Outstanding Debt: Individuals/ Corporate entities interested in bidding on AMCON assets must not owe any outstanding debt to ACMON.

Directors’ Debt Status: In the case of corporate entities, the directors of these purchasing companies must also not owe any outstanding debt to AMCON.

No Affiliation with AMCON: Individuals who are relatives or employees of AMCON are ineligible to bid for assets. This criterion is designed to prevent conflicts of interest and maintain transparency in the bidding process.

Steps to bid for AMCON properties 

To bid for AMCON assets, interested parties need to follow these steps: 

1. Download Required Forms: Obtain the necessary forms from AMCON’s official website. These forms typically include: 

   – The AMCON Bid Submission Form 

   – The Know Your Client (KYC) Form 

   – The Affidavit Verification Form 

2. Complete Forms: Fill out all the required forms completely and accurately. Ensure that you provide all the necessary information and documentation as requested in the forms. 

3. Submission: Submit the completed forms and accompanying documents to the secretary of the AMCON Asset Sales & Negotiation Committee. This submission initiates your bid for the desired AMCON asset. 

FAQS 

Who is eligible to buy assets from AMCON?

   – To participate in the AMCON disposal, an interested party must meet the following criteria: 

     – Individual/Corporate party must not be indebted to AMCON. 

     – Directors of interested companies must not be indebted to AMCON. 

     – Individuals must not be an AMCON employee, a relative of an AMCON employee, or a member of the Board of AMCON. 

How do I bid for assets on AMCON’s website?

To submit a bid for AMCON property, the interested party will need to download the following documents from the website or collect the forms from the sales agent: 

     – AMCON Bid Submission form. 

     – Know Your Client (KYC) Form. 

     – Verifying Affidavit Form (For individual/Corporate as the case may be). 

   – The forms will need to be duly executed with all requested supporting documentation attached. Please note that all AMCON bid submission forms must include the bid amount, name, address, and telephone numbers of the interested party, and the name of the sales agent (if any). The bid will also have to be signed by an official authorized to bind the bidder to a contract and placed in a sealed envelope. 

   – All bids must be submitted alongside executed AMCON Know Your Client (“KYC”) forms, Verifying Affidavit, and 10% of the bid amount in Certified Bank Drafts in a sealed envelope with “Bid for Property” or other relevant asset type inscribed on the top left corner of the envelope. 

   – All bids must be addressed to: The Secretary, Asset Sale & Negotiation Committee, and delivered to the relevant AMCON office published on the advert. 

Can a bid be submitted without the 10% deposit certified bank drafts?

No. Every valid bid MUST be submitted alongside the 10% deposit certified bank draft. Any incomplete bid submissions will be disqualified. 

What happens when a bid is submitted after the bid submission deadline? 

Any bids received after the deadline for the submission of bids shall not be accepted and will be returned to the interested party that submitted it.

Can I bid for more than one property in one bidding exercise

Yes, a prospective buyer can bid for more than 1 property in a bidding exercise. However, each submission requires a separate set of documents and certified bank drafts to be submitted. A bid submission form can only be used per property; therefore, for every bid made, a new bid submission would be required.

Where will the bid opening take place? 

All bids will be opened at the designated AMCON (Lagos or Abuja) on the designated date advertised in the newspapers. Please note that the submission and bid opening requirements are detailed in the relevant adverts. 

When will the bid results be announced?

The results of the bid will be announced immediately after all the bids are opened on the day of the bidding exercise. 

Can I withdraw or cancel my bid after submission?

No. Withdrawals or cancellations of bids after submission are not permitted.

What happens if I win a bid?

The winning bidder has a period of 15 days from the date of the emerging winner of the bid to complete the outstanding 90% payment for the property. The 10% deposit payment will be banked immediately and constitute part payment for the property. 

What happens if I do not win the bid?

 The bank drafts of the unsuccessful bidders will be returned immediately after the winner is announced and no later than one week from the date the bids were opened.

What happens if no bid meets the reserve price?

Where no bid meets the Reserve Price after opening all the bids and disclosure of the reserve price, interested bidders shall be asked to submit fresh bids immediately.

What happens if the successful bidder fails to pay the 90% balance of the bid within the stipulated time frame?

If a successful bidder fails to pay the balance of the bid within the stipulated time frame, the 10% deposit will be forfeited, and the property offered to the second-highest bid (reserve bidder) where the next highest bidder has bid above the reserve price.

If I emerge as the winning bidder, how will I be required to make the 90% balancing payment?

AMCON will make the bank account for this purpose available to you. 

Conclusion 

AMCON holds a significant position in the success of the Nigerian financial economy. It has the potential to offer numerous investment opportunities for individuals and businesses and can double as the last resort for troubled financial institutions. 

Although the future for AMCON rests on shaky shoulders, and talks for its dissolution continue to be on the rise, it is still important for any citizen to understand its impacts on the country and take necessary precautions when handling their assets. 

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