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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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Record Financial Performance: Fidelity Bank Plc Promotes 11% of Workforce

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Leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc has announced the promotion of 11% of its workforce, a testament to the exceptional performance and dedication of its employees.
This significant move follows the release of the bank’s 2023 full year Audited Financial Statements, which reported an impressive 131.5 percent growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) to N124.26 billion.
The recent promotions span every level within the bank, reflecting Fidelity Bank Plc’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding excellence across its entire organization. This strategic initiative has garnered positive reactions from staff members, who see it as a validation of their hard work and contribution to the bank’s remarkable financial achievements.
In addition to the promotions, Fidelity Bank Plc has also concluded arrangements to raise a total of N127.1 billion through a Rights Issue to existing shareholders and a Public Offer. This move is part of the bank’s broader strategy to strengthen its capital base, support future growth, and enhance shareholder value.
Fidelity Bank Plc’s impressive financial performance and the subsequent employee promotions highlight the bank’s robust operational strategy and its commitment to fostering a rewarding work environment. By investing in its people and ensuring their career growth, the bank continues to build a motivated and high-performing workforce.
Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8.5 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United  Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.
The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.
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FirstBank Partners International Women’s Society to Empower Women

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with the International Women’s Society (IWS) to empower over 250 widows, in commemoration of the 2024 International Widows’ Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that beneficiaries at the Lagos event, tagged “IWS Widows Feast and Empowerment Programme”, received various essential tools, equipment and grants. The items distributed were sewing machines, freezers, coolers, hair dryers, cake mixers, industrial cooking gas, generators, and freezers to help the widows establish and sustain their businesses.

Ms Lande Atere, Chief Customer Experience Officer, FirstBank, said that the financial institution had been partnering with IWS for over a decade. According to her, the bank has been empowering women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with funding and skills acquisition.

“As an organisation that strategically prioritises financial inclusion, we will continue to support IWS in creating entrepreneurial opportunities and promoting self-reliance and vocational skills among women,” Atere stated.

Mrs Adebanke Adeola, Chairperson of the International Women’s Society (IWS) Widows Trust Fund (WTF), appreciated FirstBank for supporting the society in empowering and feasting with the widows. Adeola mentioned that the bank provided Point of Sale (POS) machines to improve the benefiting widows’ access to financial services and income generation opportunities.

Also, some beneficiaries would receive extra working capital through the generosity of the financial institution and other sponsors.

“This partnership, along with generous sponsorships from other companies and individuals, enables us to continue our mission and expand our impact. The programme, organised yearly, aims to help widows achieve financial independence and self-sufficiency,” Adeola said.

Culled from NAN

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Fidelity Bank Leads Trading As Equities Gain N324bn

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Fidelity Bank Plc was the most active stock on Monday, 10 June 2024 at the Nigerian stock market as a strong positive sentiment led Nigerian equities to a net capital gain of N324 billion in the first trading session of the week.
The market opened with widespread positive sentiment as investors sought to lock into value stocks in the high-end sectors of oil and gas, construction and manufacturing.
With three gainers for every loser, the market closed with average return of 0.58 per cent, equivalent to net capital gain of N324 billion.
The momentum of activities also improved considerably as total turnover rose by 148.33 per cent to 963.541 million shares valued at N13.498 billion in 8,657 deals. Fidelity Bank topped the activity chart with 605.257 million shares valued at N6.025 billion.
Fidelity Bank’s activities appeared to be driven by buy sentiment as the stock closed within the top 15 gainers with a gain of 6.52 per cent to close at N9.80 per share.
The All Share Index (ASI)- the common value-based index that tracks all share prices at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), rose by 0.58 per cent to close at 99,793.71 points as against its opening index of 99,221.14 points.
Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also increased simultaneously from its opening value of N56.128 trillion to close at N56.452 trillion.
Other most active stocks included Access Holdings, which recorded turnover of 93.067 million shares worth N1.744 billion. United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 58.726 million shares valued at N1.261 billion. Nigerian Breweries traded 45.256 million shares valued at N1.267 billion while Zenith Bank traded 16.079 million shares worth N539.552 million.
Analysts at Futureview Financial Services said they anticipated a mixed sentiment in the equities market, primarily due to the enduring allure of the fixed income market among investors.
“This interest is fueled by expectations of increased rates in the Nigerian Treasury Bill (NTB) auction and the impending release of the inflation rate. However, amidst these factors, there remains an opportunity for sustainable growth, particularly in fundamentally strong stocks that currently find themselves in the oversold region. We foresee a selective pursuit of bargains, particularly in dividend-paying stocks, driven by the nearing corporate qualification and payment,” Futureview stated.
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