The social media was agog Friday night (September 21, 2018) as Nigeria’s apex bank announced the take over of Skye Bank, after months of speculations among its customers.
Making the announcement in Lagos, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, assured customers of the bank that their deposits are safe, and there was no cause for panic withdrawal.
At the press briefing, Mr. Emefiele also disclosed that Polaris Bank will take charge of the bank by September 24, 2018 to resume normal financial activities.
Minutes after the announcement, the official website of Skye Bank went down, signaling the commencement of transfer of Skye to Polaris Bank.
Below is the full speech of Nigeria’s CBN Governor to Newsmen in Lagos
You will recall that on 4th July 2016, we took a regulatory action on Skye bank Nigeria PLC. Specifically, this action led to the resignation of the Chairman, all Non-Executive Directors on the Board as well as the Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director, and the two longest- serving Executive Directors on the Management Team
At that time the proactive action was informed by unacceptable corporate governance lapses as well as the persistent failure of Skye Bank PLC to meet minimum thresholds in critical prudential and adequacy ratios, which culminated in the bank’s permanent presence at the CBN Lending Window.
The focus of the action then was to save depositors’
The focus of the action then was to save depositors’ funds and to ensure that the bank continued as a going concern, being a systemically important bank. Part of our intention was also to stem the imminent job losses to staff if a liquidation option had been adopted. These objectives have been fully achieved and the bank has been able to meet customer obligations, having curtailed the liquidity haemorrhage and restored depositor confidence.
Indeed, the bank’s performance has improved considerably compared to the pre-July 2016 era.
The result of our examinations and forensic audit of the bank has, however, revealed that Skye bank requires urgent recapitalisation as it can no longer continue to live on borrowed times with indefinite liquidity support from the CBN. The shareholders of the bank have been unable to recapitalize it.
As a responsible and responsive regulator and in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), we have decided to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye bank. The strategy is for the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to capitalize the Bridge Bank and begin the process of sourcing investors to buy out AMCON. By this decision, the licence of the defunct Skye Bank is hereby revoked
We wish to assure all depositors that under this arrangement, their deposits shall remain safe and that normal banking services shall continue in the new bank on Monday, 24th September, 2018, to enable customers to transact their businesses seamlessly.
Thus, all customers of Skye Bank shall be automatic customers of the new bank and their accounts and records duly purchased by Polaris Bank.
Given the good performance performance of the board and management, the CBN shall retain them. In addition, all employees of Skye Bank shall be absorbed by Polaris Bank under a new contract unless any employee decides to opt ou.
We wish to assure the general public that the Nigerian banking industry remains safe and resilient and that the CBN will continue to live up to its responsibilities of promoting stability in the banking and financial system.
Godwin I. Emefiele, CON Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria