Planned Sale Of Polaris Bank Speculative – Management

The management of Polaris Bank has described reports that the financial institution is set to be sold to a commercial farmer and the Sarkin Sudan of Gombe State, Auwal Lawan Abdullahi, as speculative.

In a statement by the bank spokesperson, it said the report was meant to cause panic, and should be disregarded by stakeholders and the banking sector.

It was alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), allegedly plan to offload Polaris to Abdullahi for N40 billion, seven years after the apex bank took over Skye Bank, during which about N1.1 trillion was reportedly disbursed to rejuvenate the company.

Polaris Bank was previously known as Skye Bank. In 2016, the CBN clampdown on the firm for failing to meet recapitalisation requirements, while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuted top executives at the creditors in 2018.

Skye Bank Chairman, Tunde Ayeni; and the Managing Director, Timothy Oguntayo, were prosecuted for money laundering, in a N25.4 billion lawsuit. They later settled out of court in 2022, forfeiting cash and assets valued at N15 billion.

Polaris Bank management admitted that the plan is to sell the lender to private investors, however, before that is done formal notification must be sent to all relevant stakeholders, with regulatory approvals.

The statement reads, “Our attention has been drawn to an online report on the purported sale of Polaris Bank Limited. This publication is speculative, deliberately intended to create panic and should be disregarded by the banking public.

“Stakeholders may recall the regulatory intervention in the erstwhile Skye Bank by the CBN and the subsequent injection of capital via the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) through a bridge bank process, which birthed Polaris Bank in 2018. The bank has since stabilised its operations following the intervention; improving its balance sheet, customer base and profitability.

“Whilst the intention has always been to return the bank to private ownership, such a sale would occur following regulatory approvals with formal notification to all relevant stakeholders. The Bank is committed to ensuring timely communication to the public in such an event.

“The Board and Management hereby reassure its customers, staff and the general public that Polaris Bank remains a stable, strong and credible financial institution, positioned to deliver sustainable value to all its stakeholders.” The management’s statement reads.

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