Business & Economy - News - April 30, 2021

First Bank concedes to CBN on sack of its boards; pledges full cooperation

The management of FBN Holdings PLC, the parent company of First Bank Nigeria Limited, on Friday conceded to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decision to sack its Board of directors and appoint a new one after upturning its previous decision on Wednesday on the matter.
The holding company through a corporate disclosure to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in reaction to the apex banking sector’s regulator to sack its Board and that of banking affiliate, FBN, pledged to cooperate with the CBN in the implementation of its directives.
The statement to the NSE was signed by the company secretary, Seye Kosoko.
On Wednesday, FBN announced the reconstitution of its management with the appointment of Gbenga Shobo as its new managing director/chief executive officer.
Shobo, who until his appointment, the bank’s deputy managing director, was primed to succeed the outgoing occupier of the office, Adesola Adeduntan, who is proceeding on retirement.
Adeduntan has been in the position since 2016.
The bank also announced the appointments of Abdullahi Ibrahim as deputy managing director and Ini Ebong, Seyi Oyefeso, Bashirat Odunewu and Segun Alebiosu as executive directors subject to regulatory approvals.
However, in a dramatic twist of events, the CBN, the apex regularory authority of the country’s banking sector, responsible for granting approvals for such appointments, stepped in to upturn the appointments and announce the sack of the directors of the affiliates.
Clarifying the apex bank’s decision, its governor, Godwin Emefiele, accused FBN management of acting without the involvement of the apex regulator as  a key stakeholder.
Emefiele said due to the forbearance issues affecting  FBN and the close monitoring of its activities over the last five years to stem further slide in its status as a going concern, it was necessary for the CBN to be carried along in the process.
He expressed concern over the bank’s health condition, saying although FBN maintained healthy operations till 2016 financial year, the CBN’s target examination of its operations revealed grave financial condition, as a result of capital adequacy ratio (CAR) issues and non-performing loans ratio (NPL) substantially  breaching acceptable  prudential standards.  
The CBN governor said the problems were traced to bad credit decisions, significant and non-performing insider loans and poor corporate governance practices, as FBN and FBN Holding Plc  shareholders lacked the capacity to recapitalize the bank to minimum requirements despite pressures from CBN.
With over 31million customers, and deposit base of over N4.2trillion, shareholders funds of N618billion  and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS)  instant payment processing capacity of 22 percent of the country’s banking industry, FBN occupies an elite position as one of Nigeria’s biggest banks. 
In upturning the previous changes, the CBN governor announced the sack of the incumbent boards of the two affiliates and appointment of their successors “to strengthen the bank and position it as a banking industry giant.”
Reacting to the decision on Friday, FBN pledged its full cooperation with the regulatory authorities, to ensure its operations were not hampered.
See FBN’s full reaction below:

STATEMENT TO THE NGX ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN FBN HOLDINGS PLC AND FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA LIMITED

“In accordance with the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) Rule Book, we hereby notify the NGX and the investing public of recent developments in FBN Holdings Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Limited.
“Further to the press Conference held by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele on Thursday, 29 April 2021, the Boards of FBN Holdings Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Limited were dissolved and new Boards reconstituted, pursuant to the powers vested in the Central Bank of Nigeria as the primary regulator of both companies.
“The Board of Directors of FBN Holdings Plc is now comprised as follows:
1. Mr. Remi Babalola – Chairman
2. Dr. Abiodun Oluwole Fatade
3. Mrs. Kofo Dosekun
4. Mr. Remi Lasaki
5. Dr. Alimi Abdulrasaq
6. Mr. Ahmed Modibbo
7. Mr. Khalifa Imam
8. Sir Peter Aliogo
9. UK Eke, MFR – Managing Director
“The Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited is now comprised as follows:
1. Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale – Chairman
2. Mrs. Tokunbo Martins
3. Mr. Uche Nwokedi
4. Mr. Adekunle Sonola
5. Ms. Isioma Ogodazi
6. Mr. Ebenezer Olufowose
7. Mr. Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo
8. Dr. Sola Adeduntan – Managing Director
9. Mr. Gbenga Shobo – Deputy Managing Director
10. Mr. Remi Oni – Executive Director
11. Mr. Abdullahi Ibrahim – Executive Director
“We wish to confirm that the Bank and the Holding Company are both cooperating with the Central Bank of Nigeria and other regulators while the operations of the Bank and the HOLDco are not hampered or hindered and are in fact running smoothly.
“We wish to reassure the investing public, our esteemed customers and other stakeholders in the words with which the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria concluded his press conference on 29 April 2021: “The CBN hereby reassures the depositors, creditors and other stakeholders of the bank of its commitment to ensuring the stability of the financial system. There is therefore no cause for panic amongst the banking public, given that the actions being taken are meant to strengthen the bank and position it as a banking industry giant.”
“In closing, we wish to advise investors that, we are aware of our responsibilities to our shareholders and will work to discharge those responsibilities in the manner expected of a company listed on the Premium Board of NGX Exchange Limited.
For: FBN HOLDINGS PLC,
Seye Kosoko
Company Secretary

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