By Omodele Adigun
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has urged customers of all banks in the country, particularly those of Skye Bank Plc, not to panic over their deposits as they are safe and the bank or any other bank has not been liquidated.
According to the apex bank, there is no truth in the rumour making the rounds that it has liquidated Skye Bank Plc and its customers should therefore withdraw their deposits or transfer them to other banks.
Putting a lie to the allegation, CBN explained, in a statement by its acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor, that Skye Bank is not in distress and remains a healthy bank in the Nigerian banking system. “The health of the Nigerian banking system remains strong. All banks in Nigeria are safe and depositors have no cause to fear over their deposits,” he said.
The statement read: “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to the content of a malicious message urging customers of Skye Bank to withdraw their deposits or transfer them to other banks based on the vile allegation that Skye Bank has been liquidated by the CBN.
“The CBN wishes to state, and emphatically so, that it has not liquidated Skye Bank or any other Deposit Money Bank for that matter. The bank also wishes to reiterate its earlier assurance that Skye Bank is not in distress and remains a healthy bank in the Nigerian banking system. The health of the Nigerian banking system remains strong. All banks in Nigeria are safe and depositors have no cause to fear over their deposits.
“While it will be recalled that Skye Bank had corporate governance challenges, the CBN has since taken proactive steps to resolve the issues identified. The CBN is satisfied with the efforts of the new management to reposition Skye Bank for effective service delivery.
“Accordingly, customers of Skye Bank and other stakeholders are advised to disregard any message purporting a liquidation of the bank.”
Recall that CBN replaced most of its top management on July 4, citing concerns about liquidity and non-performing loans.
Its CBN-appointed Chairman, Mr. Mohammad Ahmad, recently said the reconstitution of the board of the bank was not a takeover but an intervention to correct observed corporate governance issues under the old board.
Ahmad, who made the clarification while addressing shareholders on the Lagos floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) where the new board of the bank had gone to provide information on recent developments in the bank, said the ownership of the bank remains in the hands of the shareholders, adding that CBN does not own the bank and has not taken over the bank.
Ahmad, a former Director General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), re-assured the bank’s customers and investors that the bank was not distressed but only had corporate governance issues under the old board. He said the bank’s fundamentals remain strong and that it remains one of Nigeria’s leading and retail banks.
In his remarks on the occasion, the new Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, said the management team and the board would work to achieve value enhancement for shareholders, customers and other stakeholders by bringing the cost-income ratio to acceptable levels, improving the risk assets quality and working towards increasing the liquidity and capital adequacy of the bank.
Abiru described the reconstitution of the bank’s board as an intervention and not a takeover by the CBN, saying the lender’s fundamentals are good and strong.