By Chinwendu Obienyi
Less than one week after Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) announced the transfer of its 93.41 per cent share capital to Titan Trust Bank (TTB) Limited, a subsidiary of TGI Group, shareholders under different associations have expressed doubts over the capacity of TTB to fill the void that would be left in the Nigerian banking industry by the withdrawal of a brand name that has existed for over a century. They expressed concern that catcxhup game might be too tough for the new TTB to do particularly at a time that competition in the sector was becoming tougher.
This was even as strong indications emerged at the weekend that staffs of Union Bank are considering resignation as an option after its erstwhile Board Chairman, Beatrice Hamza Bassey, revealed that the acquisition will mean that the current board will hand over the reins of the bank to a new board with Mudassir Amray as its new Chief Executive Officer.
In a filing sent to the investing community last week, UBN Plc, said that the transaction which took almost half a year has now been completed and in the spirit of the change of ownership, members of the bank’s board have exited the board.
“The entire Board congratulates the parties on this landmark transaction. It has been a privilege and honor to have chaired and served on the Board that oversaw the preservation and transformation of one of Nigeria’s most iconic institutions.
The significant investments made over the last ten years by the outgoing investors, alongside the vision, astute counsel and direction of our Directors helped us implement the strategic objectives that we set and laid the foundation for this new era of growth for the bank, Bassey said.
Reacting to the development, shareholders who spoke to Daily Sun on phone, expressed their concerns over the acquisition of the over 100 years old bank by Titan Trust Bank Limited whose footprint in Nigeria is not more than two years old.
According to them, they are patiently awaiting a statement from the new CEO regarding what strategies the bank would embark on as well as what would happen to their investments in the long run.
Former President of the Noble Shareholders Association, Chief Timothy Adesiyan, said the former bank could not live up to its “Big, Strong and Reliable” tag and that he is waiting to see what would unfold in the coming days.
“All these old generation banks have clearly wasted our money and we are not growing younger with our investment in some of them. So my own concern is whether investors would want to do business with them considering that TTB is not even 10 years in the banking industry”, He said.
For his part, the National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, said the acquisition was a welcome development. He, however, expressed concerns as to whether TTB would be able to compete with its peers in the industry.
“Well, I must say that this news is a welcome development. We have seen mergers and acquisitions happen over time and so this is not a surprise to me.
However, I am concerned as to how the bank will be able to stand. I mean UBN was 105 years old and did well and so a lot of things are expected from the new board at TTB.
There has to be good returns on investment, turnover of good dividends and efficient digital transactions. These are things we as shareholders are concerned about”, Okezie said.