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NDIC’s Intervention Saved Defunct Skye Bank Depositors’ N949bn — Ibrahim

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Skye Bank
  • NDIC’s Intervention Saved Defunct Skye Bank Depositors’ N949bn — Ibrahim

The adoption of the bridge bank option, which led to the establishment of Polaris Bank to take over the defunct Skye Bank, was able to save the banking industry of over N949.6bn in depositors’ fund.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Insurance Corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, said this on Tuesday during a workshop on ‘Financial inclusion, consumer protection and evolution of virtual currencies in Nigeria.’

The Central Bank of Nigeria had on September 22 revoked the operating licence of Skye Bank Plc.

The Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had while making the announcement at a press briefing in Lagos, said a bridge bank, known as Polaris Bank, had been created to assume the assets and liabilities of the defunct bank.

Speaking on the adoption of the bridge bank option to resolve the crisis in the failed Skye Bank, the NDIC boss said based on the arrangement, Polaris Bank had been able to guarantee the seamless and continuous banking operations in the 277 branches of the bank, while over 6,000 jobs were saved.

In addition, he said depositors now had unhindered access to deposits in excess of N949.6bn as of June 2018.

He said, “As you are aware, the NDIC, in collaboration with the CBN, adopted the bridge bank option to resolve the failure of Skye Bank Plc.

“This involved the organisation and incorporation of a bridge bank, Polaris Bank Limited, to take over the assets and liabilities of the defunct Skye Bank Plc.

“The benefits of a bridge bank are not far-fetched. The resolution option is less disruptive to a rendition of bank services, unlike outright liquidation or depositors’ pay-out.

“With this expert arrangement, the Polaris Bank was able to guarantee the seamless and continuous banking operations in the 277 branches of the bank, over 6,000 jobs were saved and depositors have unhindered access to deposits in excess of N949.60bn as of June 2018.”

He said the corporation would soon commence the payment of deposits to customers of 154 microfinance banks that were shut by the CBN.

The apex bank had in September gave a notification to revoke licences of 154 MfBs and six primary mortgage banks.

The CBN had said 62 of the MFBs had already closed shop; 74 became insolvent; 12 were terminally distressed; while six voluntarily liquidated.

Ibrahim said following the revocation of the licences of the financial institutions, the corporation had commenced verification of insured depositors.

He said as soon as the verification was concluded, the corporation would start paying the verified claims to appropriate depositors in fulfilment of its core mandate.

He said, “As you are all aware, the CBN recently revoked the licences of 154 MFBs and six Primary Mortgage Banks due to their insolvency.

“The affected institutions were closed because some were found to have insufficient assets to meet their liabilities, while others had their capital to risk-weighted assets ratio and regulatory capital below the minimum prescribed by the CBN.

“Furthermore, quite a number of the banks had ceased to carry on the type of banking business for which their licences were issued for a continuous period of more than six months while others had gone into voluntary liquidation.

“The NDIC has commenced verification of insured depositors and will soon start paying the verified claims to appropriate depositors in fulfilment of our core mandate.

“From the record obtained so far, the majority of the depositors especially in the MFBs, have less than N200,000 in their accounts, which implied that the NDIC will hopefully cover 100 per cent of the depositors.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Finance

GTBank Takes 60 Bank Executives to Court Over N17bn Loan Dispute

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Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) has initiated legal proceedings against 60 top executives from 13 commercial banks in Nigeria.

The action stems from an ongoing dispute involving a N17 billion Anchor Borrowers Programme loan granted to AFEX Commodity Exchange.

The executives, including chairmen, chief executive officers, directors, and company secretaries, are facing contempt of court charges for allegedly failing to enforce a No-Debit-Order on AFEX Commodity Exchange’s accounts. The legal battle, which has drawn significant attention in the financial sector, is being closely monitored by industry stakeholders.

Details of the Case

The Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Justice CJ Aneke, signed an order to hold the executives accountable for disobeying its ruling dated May 27, 2024.

The court’s decision mandates the executives, including those from prominent banks such as Access Bank, Citibank, Jaiz Bank, Union Bank, Fidelity Bank, and First Bank of Nigeria Plc, to comply with the directive or face jail time.

The case, registered as FHC/L/CS/911/2024, involves GTBank and AFEX Commodity Exchange. The court had previously ordered 20 banks to transfer funds from AFEX’s accounts to GTBank until the outstanding N17.81 billion loan is repaid.

This sum includes the principal amount of N15.77 billion and additional recovery costs and expenses totaling N2.04 billion.

Contempt Proceedings

The legal notice, titled ‘Order to Serve Notice of Disobedience to Order of Court via Newspaper Publication,’ was published in national dailies, signaling the gravity of the situation.

The notice serves as a warning to the bank executives about the consequences of failing to adhere to the court’s order.

In addition to the commercial banks, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), acting as the liquidator for Heritage Bank, has also been cited for contempt.

The matter is set for further hearing next Thursday, where the court will decide the fate of the implicated executives.

Background and Implications

The dispute originates from a loan facility extended to AFEX Commodity Exchange under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme.

The loan was intended to finance smallholder farmers, with repayment expected through the sale of agricultural produce. However, AFEX reportedly defaulted on the loan, prompting GTBank to seek legal recourse.

AFEX has countered by stating that it has repaid 90% of the loan and is in ongoing discussions with the CBN regarding the remaining balance. The commodities exchange has cited economic challenges and macroeconomic policies, such as the naira redesign, which adversely affected the farmers’ ability to repay the loans.

The court has also permitted GTBank to take control of AFEX’s 16 warehouses across seven states, allowing the bank to sell the stored commodities to recover the outstanding loan.

Industry Reaction

The case has sparked concerns about the efficiency and integrity of Nigeria’s banking and financial sectors.

Charles Akinbobola, a senior energy analyst at Sofidam Capital, said, “The challenge of the power sector has not entirely been the scarcity of funds. Several trillions of naira have been pumped into that industry. The sector has been plagued by the shortcomings of its managers.”

Experts like Muda Yusuf, CEO of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, emphasize the need for addressing fundamental issues in the electricity value chain, such as technical and commercial losses, which continue to burden consumers with inefficiency costs.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the financial community will be watching closely to see how this high-stakes battle impacts the involved parties and the broader financial sector in Nigeria.

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Banking Sector

Guaranty Trust Holding Plans N500 Billion Share Offering

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Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCOPLC) has announced plans to raise up to N500 billion through a new share offering, according to a preliminary prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This move aims to support the company’s ambitious growth and expansion strategy.

GTCOPLC’s proposed offering will involve the subscription of ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, although the exact number of shares and the price range are yet to be determined.

The offering includes a concurrent filing of a preliminary universal shelf registration statement, allowing the company to issue various types of securities, potentially raising up to $750 million in multiple currencies.

Purpose of the Offering

The funds raised from this offering will primarily be allocated towards:

  1. Business Growth and Expansion: GTCOPLC plans to invest significantly in technology infrastructure to enhance its current operations. Additionally, the company intends to establish new subsidiaries and make selective acquisitions of non-banking businesses.
  2. Recapitalization of Guaranty Trust Bank Limited: Part of the proceeds will be used to strengthen the capital base of its banking subsidiary.

Target Investors and Structure

The offering is structured to attract both institutional and retail investors. It will be divided into two main tranches:

  • Nigerian Tranche: An institutional and retail offering aimed at eligible investors within Nigeria.
  • International Tranche: A private placement targeting qualified institutional buyers outside Nigeria.

Listing and Trading

GTCOPLC has also filed an application with the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) to list and admit the new ordinary shares for trading on the NGX Official List.

The company anticipates opening the offering by July 2024.

Financial Strategy

The universal shelf registration will enable GTCOPLC to issue a variety of securities over time, with a total value of up to $750 million (or its equivalent in Nigerian Naira).

This approach provides the company with flexibility to raise capital in different markets during the programme’s validity period. The current proposed offering will be the first issuance under this new programme.

Regulatory Compliance

GTCOPLC emphasized that this notice does not constitute an offer of securities for sale in the United States or to U.S. persons, as defined under Regulation S of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933.

The offered shares have not been, and will not be, registered under the U.S. Securities Act or any state securities laws, and cannot be sold in the United States without proper registration or an applicable exemption.

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Loans

China Maintains One-Year Policy Loan Rate at 2.5%, Avoids Excessive Liquidity

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China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), has decided to keep the key interest rate steady for the tenth consecutive month.

On Monday, the PBOC announced that the rate on one-year policy loans, known as the medium-term lending facility (MLF), will remain at 2.5%.

This decision aligns with the forecasts of a Bloomberg survey, reflecting the bank’s priority to maintain financial stability amid a fragile economic recovery.

The central bank also took measures to manage liquidity, withdrawing a net 55 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) from the banking system.

This action aims to prevent excessive liquidity, which could lead to further depreciation of the yuan. By maintaining a cautious stance on monetary easing, the PBOC underscores its focus on currency stability over lowering borrowing costs.

This move comes as China grapples with mixed economic signals. While exports exceeded expectations in May, inflation rose less than anticipated, and factory activity saw an unexpected contraction according to an official survey.

Despite these challenges, the PBOC’s restraint reflects a strategic choice to prioritize the strength of the yuan, even as calls for a rate cut grow louder.

Last week, the onshore yuan weakened to its lowest level since November, driven by a wide interest rate gap between the US and China.

The PBOC’s decision to hold rates steady is seen as an effort to prevent further devaluation of the yuan, which remains a “powerful currency” according to financial authorities.

Sufficient market liquidity has also influenced the central bank’s decision to refrain from outright rate cuts.

This is evidenced by the declining borrowing costs of popular debt instruments, such as one-year AAA-rated negotiable certificates of deposits, which have dropped to around 2%, compared to the MLF’s 2.5%.

The influx of funds from savings to wealth management products and other higher-yielding assets has bolstered the financial system’s liquidity, allowing the PBOC to adopt a more conservative stance.

China’s economy has experienced a patchy recovery, with government bond sales accelerating to boost infrastructure spending amidst a prolonged property slump.

Despite these efforts, the central bank remains cautious, opting for stability over aggressive monetary easing.

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