Since the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in Nigeria in the 1980’s, the financial system has witnessed excessive liberalization. Community Banks which were the main stay of the financial system have transformed to Microfinance Banks (MFB) resulting from the uncontrolled collapsed of these institutions. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) very recently introduced reforms meant to curb the high incidence of bank failures in the country that required the introduction of minimum capital requirement for the establishment of commercial Banks and MFBs. After some years of experiments, it was obvious that the reforms put in place were not adequate to stem the tide of bank failures. It was as a result of this that the Apex Bank (Central Bank of Nigeria) increase the minimum capital requirement for commercial banks to N25b ($160,000). Many Banks could not meet this new capital requirement and were faced with the option of been merged with other stronger banks or allowed themselves to be completely taken over by other banks. From researches done on the performance of banks, it has been proven that banks tend to do very well when the economy is also doing very well. It is on this basis that this work has been undertaken to confirm this assertion or otherwise confirm that non- performing loans tend to increase when the economy slacks into a recession. The study found that increase in non-performing loans impacted negatively on the Gross Domestic Product in Nigeria and that increase in lending rate and inflation rate cause non-performing loans to increase. The implication of this study is that Central bank should introduce policies that can have moderating effects on inflation and lending rates.Government should pay their loans on time and insider abuse should be eliminated from the financial system. Above all, banks should know their customers before granting loans to them, infact adhering strictly to the 5C’s of credit in modern banking practice.
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