Nigeria’s financial sector regulatory authorities at the weekend said they decided to adopt the bridge bank option in resolving the Skye Bank crisis to protect depositors’ funds and employees in the now defunct bank.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday revoked the operating license of Skye Bank, replacing it with Polaris Bank Limited, to ensure that normal banking transactions are not disrupted.
The new bank, which is to commence business immediately, will take over the assets and liabilities of the now rested Skye Bank and continue to transact businesses from where its predecessor stopped.
To make certain that the interest of former customers and depositors in Skye Bank are fully protected, the financial sector insurer, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), also said the successor bank, Polaris, and the customers of Skye Bank remain insured under the NDIC Act.
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The NDIC spokesperson, Mohammed Ibrahim, said in a statement that the adoption of the bridge bank model was equally to guarantee that most of the Skye Bank employees will not lose their jobs.
According to Ibrahim, the former Skye Bank workers will continue their employment with Polaris Bank Limited under fresh contracts and employment terms and conditions.
“The NDIC, as deposit insurer, acted to ensure the continued safety of depositors’ funds in furtherance of the regulatory authorities resolved to proactively manage potential threats to financial system stability,” Ibrahim said.
The shortcomings of the bank, the CBN governor said, culminated in the bank’s permanent presence at the CBN lending window.
On July 4, 2016, Emefiele said CBN took a regulatory action, which led to the resignation of the Chairman of Skye Bank, Tunde Ayeni, along with the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Oguntayo, and all Non-Executive Directors on the board and the two longest-serving Executive Directors on the management team.
To further strengthen investors’ and depositors’ confidence in the new banking arrangement, Emefiele said the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) will immediately commence the process of capitalisation of Polaris Bank Limited.
As a first step, he said the bridge bank will receive fresh injection of about N786 billion to return it to soundness and profitability to enable its subsequent sale to credible and financially sound third party acquirers.
Meanwhile, Polaris Bank Limited Group Managing Director/CEO, Tokunbo Abiru, has pledged the commitment of the new bank to deliver on its mandate to all stakeholders, even as he expressed appreciation to customers for their patronage, support and loyalty.
Abiru who stated this on a breakfast feature on Arise TV on Sunday, also assured customers of the old Skye Bank that, “our customers are in for a better deal with Polaris Bank…”
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“Polaris is a new chapter, we are stable and alive. With strong capitalisation, liquidity, strong management and clean loan books, which are key indices for a healthy banking institution, the future could only be brighter for all our stakeholders.”
Predicting the future of Polaris, Abiru said, “our future will be hinged on strong corporate governance and with robust business operations, we’d build and enhance a sustainable enterprise that would be the pride of every stakeholder.”
Polaris also retains the experienced management team that helped repose public confidence in the old Skye Bank.
In recognition of his and his team’s sterling performance, CBN had retained Abiru and his team and extended another two-year mandate. He currently remains the Group Managing Director of Polaris Bank.
“’This means whatever money customers had in Skye Bank remains same in Polaris Bank. The only difference is the name change and investors coming on board with fresh funds into a bridge institution,’’ an industry source educates.