UPDATE 1-Nigeria's Access Bank sees 20 pct loan growth in 2014

Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:34am EDT

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LAGOS, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Nigeria's Access Bank expects loan growth of 20 percent in 2014, after a 17 percent rise in the first half, driven by increased lending to its corporate and investment banking customers, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Access Bank's loan book stood at 811 billion naira ($5 billion) in 2013, up 33 percent from a year ago, CEO Herbert Wigwe, told a conference call presenting its half-year results.

"We would see some payoff from the state governments ... but it will be replaced by some private sector loans," Wigwe said, adding that he expected a slower growth of 15 percent for 2015.

Foreign currency loans accounted for 46 percent of total loans in the first-half, Wigwe said, adding he expected to grow the naira loan book in the second-half to boost interest income and reduce currency exposure.

Shares in Access Bank, which have risen 2.1 percent so far this year, climbed 2.04 percent to 10 naira each.

Wigwe said Access Bank was targeting a return on equity (ROE) of 20 percent this year, up from 18.3 percent in first half. ROE stood at 14.9 percent in 2013.

The top-tier lender on Monday said first-half pretax profit grew to 27.1 billion naira, up 3.85 percent from a year ago and declared an interim dividend of 0.25 naira each.

(1 US dollar = 161.90 naira) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer and David Evans)

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