The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday, removed the Boards of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and the FBN Holdings Plc.
The apex bank also reappointed 14 out of the 21 directors affected by the sack into the new board of the two institutions.
The CBN also reinstated Mr Adesola Adeduntan as the Managing Director/Chief Executive of First Bank of Nigeria. Adeduntan was earlier sacked as MD by the former board of the bank.
Announcing the decision to sack the directors at a briefing in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele said the apex bank had to remove the directors for trying to remove Adeduntan as MD without consulting the regulators.
Announcing the reinstatement of Adeduntan as MD, Emefiele said the CBN was satisfied with the work of the MD and those trying to remove him were the ones not comfortable with his insistence on adherence to regulations.
He said: “We retained him because we have worked with them since 2016 till now. What we saw there was a complete breakdown of governance and insider abuse by shareholders and we felt we have to stamp our authority and then give them a chance to continue to be MD.”
Emefiele said: “The media has been awash with commentaries on the purported management changes at First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, FBN and the related regulatory inquiry by the CBN to the Board of First Bank of Nigeria Limited. It has, therefore, become necessary for me to address the public to clear any misconceptions.
“Ordinarily, the board is vested with the authority to make changes in the management team subject to CBN approval. However, the CBN considers itself a key stakeholder in management changes involving FBN due to the forbearances and close monitoring by the Bank over the last five years aimed at stemming the slide in the going concern status of the bank.
“It was, therefore, surprising for the CBN to learn through media reports that the Board of Directors of FBN, a systemically important bank under regulatory forbearance regime had effected sweeping changes in executive management without engagement and/or prior notice to the regulatory authorities.
“The action by the Board of FBN sends a negative signal to the market on the stability of leadership on the board and management and it is in light of the foregoing that the CBN queried the Board of Directors on the unfortunate developments at the bank.
“As you may be aware, FBN is one of the systemically important banks in the Nigerian banking sector given its historical significance, balance sheet size, large customer base and high level of interconnectedness with other financial service providers, amongst others.
“By our last assessment, FBN has over 31 million customers, with deposit base of N4.2 trillion, shareholders funds of N618 billion and NIBSS Instant Payment, NIP, processing capacity of 22 percent of the industry.
“To us at the CBN, not only is it imperative to protect the minority shareholders, that have no voice to air their views, also important, is the protection of the over 31 million customers of the bank who see FBN as a safe haven for their hard-earned savings.
“The bank maintained healthy operations up until 2016 financial year when the CBN’s target examination revealed that the bank was in grave financial condition with its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) and non-performing loans ratio (NPL) substantially breaching acceptable prudential standards.
“The problems at the bank were attributed to bad credit decisions, significant and non-performing insider loans and poor corporate governance practices. The shareholders of the bank and FBN Holding Plc also lacked the capacity to recapitalize the bank to minimum requirements. These conclusions arose from various entreaties by the CBN to them to recapitalize.”
“Following further review of the situation and in order to preserve stability of the bank, so as to protect minority shareholders and depositors, the Management of the CBN in line with its powers under BOFIA 2020 has approved and hereby directs:
“Immediate removal of the all directors of FBN Ltd and FBN Holdings Plc;
“The appointment of the following persons as directors in FBN Ltd and FBN Holdings Plc;
The new directors of FBN Holdings Pls are: Chairman – Remi Babalola; Dr. Fatade Abiodun Oluwole; Kofo Dosekun; Remi Lasaki; Dr Alimi Abdulrasaq; Ahmed Modibbo; Khalifa Imam; Sir Peter Aliogo; UK Eke – Managing Director
The new directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited are: Chairman – Tunde Hassan-Odukale; Sola Adeduntan – Managing Director; Tokunbo Martins; Uche Nwokedi; Adekunle Sonola; Isioma Ogodazi; Ebenezer Olufowose Ishaya; Elijah B. Dodo; Gbenga Shobo – Deputy Managing Director; Remi Oni – Executive Director; Abdullahi Ibrahim – Executive Director.