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Is Polaris Bank Destined To Fail***As Concern Mount Over Management Of N786 Billion Intervention

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Polaris Bank

***Skye Bank Limited board blew N2.2 trillion worth of banking assets over three years

***How will the same group in Polaris Bank manage N786 billion profitably in two years, experts ask

There is mounting concern among financial industry experts regarding the management of the sum of N786 billion which Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), recently invested into Polaris Bank, an abridged financial institution from the defunct Skye Bank Limited.

The concern is not isolated, as pointers are that the funds injected into the bank might just go down the drain in the same manner as the 2016 intervention injected into the defunct Skye Bank Limited.

Months back, the CBN, announced that it had revoked the operating licence of Skye Bank Limited, adding that it had however secured investment of depositors.

While the news of securing depositors money was a good one, the sour part of it all was when it announced that an abridge Polaris Bank, an offshoot of the defunct Skye Bank Limited would be managed by the same board and management which had ran Skye Bank Limited aground and blew a whooping N2.2 trillion worth of banking assets over three years.

This was the same board that only two years earlier had ran aground  an intervention fund gotten on July 2016, from the CBN. This was after the Tunde Ayeni-led board had been sack following a bad loan of  N700 billion, so there is no speculation about old debts affecting new investment.

Within two years of receiving the intervention, it was mismanaged and Skye Bank Limited started showing its face again in the lending market before it eventually became comatose and had to be rested.

Within months of Polaris Bank becoming operative, there are concerns that the new investment might just be mismanaged, as was that of 2016.

Reactions that have been pouring in are conclusive, as stakeholders in the industry have urged the CBN to hold the Directors of the bank responsible if anything goes wrong with the new intervention injected into Polaris Bank.

Reacting to the manner with which Skye Bank Limited became defunct, Patrick Ajudua said “The Directors of Skye Bank must be held accountable, their properties should be sold to offset the debts and not the ordinary shareholders that entrusted the companies to them.”

“Tell me why the minority shareholders should suffer for sins committed by the Board and Management of the bank. Are we (the ordinary shareholders) the ones that granted the non performing loans. Are we the cause of regulatory failures on the part of CBN, NDIC, NSE and SEC,” he queried.

This position becomes stronger with the statement of the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed. Ahmed was quoted saying that all of those responsible for the failure of Skye Bank Limited would be brought to book.

The minister made the statement during a familiarisation visit to the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

She said: “The example of the recently wound-up Skye Bank, now Polaris Bank is something we would look into. We would find out what happened. Your investigation must be thorough; we are going to hold whoever was responsible for the failure of that bank.”

“We have to show some examples, we cannot just be bailing out banks and leaving perpetrators of the failure of these banks to just go scot-free.

“Even though you intervene by protecting depositors, but your intervention is limited. You’re not able to payback all that the depositors have. We must show some examples and this is a good one for us to start with.”

Indeed, the statement by Ahmed couldn’t have been more precise, if within the two years which AMCON is supposed to sell off Polaris Bank, the financial institution becomes distress or it fail, its board including the duo of its managing director, Abiru and its Chairman Alhaji Ahmed should be held responsible. Interestingly, the faith of the bank might already have been known.

If the same board working in Skye Bank Limited blew N2.2 trillion worth of banking assets over three years, how does it hope to manage N786 billion profitably in two years? Time will definitely tell.

 

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