The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Friday,September 21, revoked the operating licence of Skye Bank Plc with immediate effect.
The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this during a news conference in Lagos.
Emefiele said the decision had been reached following the inability of the owners of the bank to shore up the capital of the distressed bank which had earlier recieved a N350 billion intervention in July 2016.
“Skye Bank requires urgent recapitalization as it can no longer continue to live on borrowed times with indefinite liquidity support from the CBN.
“We have decided to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to asuume the assets and liabilities of Skye Bank.
“The strategy is for AMCON to capitalise the bridge bank and begin the process of sourcing investors to buy out AMCON.
“By this decision the licence of Skye Bank is hereby revoked,” he said.
Also the management of the distressed Skye Bank would be retained to continue to manage the newly licenced Polaris Bank. According to the CBN governor, given the good performance of the board and management, the CBN shall retain them.
Also, Emefiele said based on discussion with the Nigerian stock Exchnage, the shares of the distressed Skye Bank would be suspended from trading on the capital market until discussions are concluded.
The CBN governor said, the bank took a regulatory action on Skye Bank Nigeria Plc on July 4, 2016, Emefiele said specifically, the 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.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that with the takeover of the bank by the CBN and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) the bridge bank, Polaris Bank will be getting a single digit interest long term facility of N786 billion from the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
“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 banks permanent presence at the CBN Lending Window.
“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 banks performance has improved considerably compared to the pre-July 2016 era.
“The result of our examinations and forensic audit of the bank has, however, have revealed that the 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. He added that as a responsible and responsive regulator and in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation(NDIC), the apex bank decided to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye bank.
According to him, 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.
Also, the managing director and cchief executive of Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim said the option of a bridge bank was to ensure that the depositors of the bank are taken care of and deposits are not lost.
Ibrahim said that the bridge bank would also ensure that there would be no job losses as Polaris Bank would retain all staff of the distressed bank under a new contract.