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CBN’s Hammer Falls on Union, Polaris, Keystone Banks, Boards Dissolved

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has dissolved the boards and managements of Union Bank of Nigeria, Keystone Bank and Polaris Bank over alleged corporate governance infractions and non-compliance with regulatory requirements.

This came barely three weeks after the Special Investigator on the CBN and Related Entities, Jim Obazee, submitted its final report to President Bola Tinubu.

The sacking of the boards of the banks is reportedly part of the implementation of the report of the special investigator.

In a statement by the acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Sidi Hakama, announcing the sacking of the boards of the banks on Wednesday, the central bank said the affected banks’ alleged infractions varied from regulatory non-compliance, corporate governance failure, disregarding of the conditions under which their licences were granted, and involvement in activities that posed a threat to financial stability, among others.

Hence, the apex bank said the dissolution of the boards became necessary due to the non-compliance of the banks and their respective boards with the provisions of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020.

The CBN statement read, “The Central Bank of Nigeria has dissolved the boards and managements of Union Bank, Keystone Bank, and Polaris Bank.

“This action became necessary due to the non-compliance of these banks and their respective boards with the provisions of Section 12(c), (f), (g), (h) of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020. The banks’ infractions vary from regulatory non-compliance, corporate governance failure, disregarding the conditions under which their licences were granted, and involvement in activities that pose a threat to financial stability, among others.”

The CBN, however, assured the public of the safety and security of depositors’ funds, stressing that it remained resolute in fulfilling its mandate to uphold a safe, sound and robust financial system in Nigeria.

“The CBN assures the public of the safety and security of depositors’ funds and remains resolute in fulfilling its mandate to uphold a safe, sound and robust financial system in Nigeria. Our banking system remains strong and resilient,” it stated.

The dissolution of the boards came days after the Special Investigator of the apex bank, Obazee, claimed that the bank were acquired by Emefiele, using fronts. Obazee advised FG to take over the banks, strengthen and sell them off.

Section 12 of the BOFIA 2020 quoted by the apex bank as the basis for the dissolutions of the board deals with the revocation of a banking licence and the conditions under which it can happen.

The affected portion of the Act read, “12.(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act or any other law, the Governor may, with the approval of the Board and by notice published in the of Federal Government Gazette, or print and electronic media, revoke any licence granted under this Act if a bank-

“(c) fails to fulfil or comply with any condition subject to which the licence was granted

“(f) is involved in a situation, circumstance, action or inaction which constitutes a threat to financial stability;

“(g) fails to comply with any obligation imposed upon it by or under this Act, or the Central Bank of Nigeria Act or any other rule, regulation, guideline or directive made hereunder;

“(h) is, in the opinion of the Bank critically undercapitalised with a capital adequacy ratio below the prudential minimum or such other ratio as the Bank may prescribe.”

Meanwhile, the CBN statement is silent on Titan Trust Bank, even though the bank has reportedly acquired Union Bank.

The special investigator had given Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank investors December 28, 2023 deadline to present themselves before its panel.

However, the lender through their lawyer, Gbolahan Elias QC, SAN, had asked for extension of the meeting to January 7, 2024.

Meanwhile, findings by The PUNCH show that no fewer than 30 board chairmen, managing directors and directors of banks will be affected by the dissolution of the boards. Each of the three banks reportedly have no fewer than 10 board members.

CBN sources also revealed that the apex bank would reconstitute another board before the end of the week.

According to findings, the dissolution is expected to affect Alhaji MK Ahmad, who is the chairman of Polaris Bank; Alhaji Umaru Modibbo, the chairman of Keystone Bank; and the Farouk Gumel, the Chairman of Union Bank.

Titan Trust Bank Limited was established on the 12th of December, 2018 and obtained its national banking license on the 26th of April 2019, to operate as a commercial bank with national authorisation.

Polaris Bank was set by the CBN on September 21, 2018, to offer commercial banking services to the Nigerian public. The bank commenced services on the same day, having purchased the assets, and assumed certain of the liabilities, of the defunct Skye Bank.

Keystone Bank is a full-service commercial bank wholly owned by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and was granted a banking licence on August 5, 2011, by the CBN. Keystone Bank was acquired by a special-purpose vehicle.

Union Bank of Nigeria was established in 1917 and is one of Nigeria’s long-standing and most respected financial institutions, offering a portfolio of banking services to individuals, SMEs, commercial and corporate clients.

Meanwhile, Titan Trust Bank Limited which was established barely three years ago, announced in 2022 its acquisition of the foremost bank.

The bank sought CBN’s no-objection approval in 2021 to its proposed consolidation with Union Bank by acquiring 91.5 per cent of Union Bank’s shares and an eventual merger between both banks.

By 2022, Titan Bank had acquired 93.4 per cent of Union Bank’s shares.

However, there have been concerns in the banking circle whether the government could take over Union Bank which has been duly acquired by private investors led by the TGI Group.

The Punch

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UBA Takes Centre Stage at 2024 ECOWAS Mining Forum in Cotonou As Elumelu Gives Keynote Address

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Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has been announced as the official sponsor of the 4th edition of the ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum (ECOMOF 2024) scheduled to take place at the Palais des Congrès in Cotonou, Benin from February 22 to February 24, 2024.

The regional event is expected to see a large gathering of key players and stakeholders in the mining and petroleum sectors of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and as the financial institution of choice, with presence in 20 African countries and active involvement in major continental development projects, UBA is the preferred partner for the event, underlining the bank’s commitment to the growth of mining and Petroleum industry in the sub-region but to the whole not African economic development.

UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, would give the keynote address during the opening ceremony of this all-important event.

Elumelu who doubles as Chairman of Transcorp Group, with extensive interests in energy and power, will be speaking on the theme: “Geo-extractive Resources and Technologies: what pooling strategies for Value Creation in West Africa”

His speech is expected to highlight UBA’s increasing effort to support and develop the African continent through strategic investments in the key sectors of mining and petroleum.

Under the esteemed leadership of the President of the Republic of Benin, His Excellency, Patrice Talon, and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current President of ECOWAS, His Excellency Mr. Bola Tinubu, UBA Group will at the forum aim to restate its commitment towards supporting economic and social development across the continent.

The focus of ECOMOF 2024 underscores the significance of transforming the mining and oil sectors into economic pillars by formulating attractive policies for investors, essential for the sectors’ substantial contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of ECOWAS member states.

The Transnational Corporation Group (Transcorp Plc) – a diversified conglomerate with strategic investments in various sectors, including power and energy – will also actively participate in the forum.

Key officials from UBA Group and Transcorp Plc, including the Chief Executive Officer UBA Africa, Abiola Bawuah; UBA’s Group Head, Corporate and Energy Bank, Ebele Ogbue, and President/ Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Group, Owen Omogiafo will be actively involved in discussions and panels on the sidelines of the event.

Anticipated to attract over 2,000 participants from diverse sectors, including representatives from mining and oil industries, government officials, international and national investors, industry experts, ECOWAS delegates, and international organizations, ECOMOF 2024 promises to be a significant platform for collaborative dialogue and partnership building.

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees’ group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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SME In A Box: Glo Unveils Niche Product to Boost Businesses

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Telecommunications firm, Globacom, has unveiled a niche product, ‘SME In A Box‘, to boost small and medium enterprise businesses in Nigeria.

Globacom disclosed in a press release that the product is an all-in-one bundle to connect, grow businesses and enhance productivity, saying it had continued to “evolve and adapt to changing business requirements by expanding and investing in areas of common interest and bringing latest solutions to support small and medium businesses across the country”.

Glo SME In A Box provides a set of bundled solutions for all the major communication and technology requirement of SMEs in the country. The product provides, among other benefits, professional website creation, customized Email setup and business tools (Social Media Integration, free social media advertising) as one bundle to customers. With this, SMEs can avoid engaging multiple partners to meet their needs. It is also bundled with voice and data bundles to enable the SMEs conduct business with ease.

The product’s affordability, said Glo, is to ensure small businesses benefit as it can be accessed for as low as N20,000 for a yearly package.

Globacom added that the product “is highly customizable and flexible to use because  it avails anyone with basic computer skills to establish online business presence and set up business-support tools within 30 minutes. It helps right from purchasing a domain to professional website creation, accounting payroll, CRM and inventory management”.

The company lamented that less than 5 percent of SMEs currently use Information Communication Technology (ICT) for their business operations or have a visible online presence. “Due to the low technology knowledge of most SME owners, they require a reliable partner to assist in introducing technology to their businesses, hence the introduction of the Glo SME In A Box”.

With Glo SME In A Box, the company noted, “customers can bring credibility and expand the reach of their businesses with the support of established business supporting tools and mediums. Glo SME In A Box is a complete bundle addressing the needs of growing and upcoming entrepreneurs through one single solution”.

The company urged businesses to log on to the dedicated website, https//www.glosmartbiz.com, for more information or call 121 for prepaid lines and 200 for postpaid lines.

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Cashtoken Promo: Glo Rewards Customers with N100m, Other Prizes

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Digital telecommunications solutions provider, Globacom, has launched another season of its recharge-based loyalty reward promo, ‘Glo Rewards- Cashtoken’.

According to the company, all old and prospective customers on the prepaid platforms are qualified to win in the promo.

To enroll for GloRewards, subscribers will dial *301*8# and start recharging to earn cashtokens. The assured cashback is N8, and they have a chance to win between N5,000 and N100m weekly in grand raffle draws. Every week, customers will also get a chance to win Gloworld Gift vouchers worth N10,000, Samsung A05 Phones and Samsung A54 smartphones,” a statement from Glo informed.

Winners that emerged in a previous edition of the promo include William Ubi, a Civil Engineering student of Cross River State University and Mohammed Tijani, a Kaduna-based farmer, who both won N200,000 and Anthony Iyemi, a Warri-based customer who won N100,000.

The company further disclosed in the press statement, which was released in Lagos,  that the new season of Rewards was unveiled to avail its subscribers and other Nigerians another opportunity to win cash prizes and other amazing items saying, “customers participating in the Rewards Program, just like in other seasons, will earn cashtokens on every N1000 cumulative recharge within a calendar month.”

Subscribers, according to the company will continue to earn and accumulate cashtokens as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. This means that there is no upper limit to accumulating cashtokens as all  cashtokens will be credited in a virtual wallet that is linked to the customer’s mobile.

“Customers will be able to view and redeem their cashtokens by dialing *6700# to purchase airtime/data, pay electricity bills, pay cable television bills or make other payments. They can also transfer their accumulated cashtokens to the bank and cash out the equivalent value”, the company added.

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