The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has wielded its regulatory big stick on First Bank of Nigeria, by removing all directors of FBN Limited and FBN Holdings Plc. The apex bank also announced the reinstatement of Sola Adeduntan who was sacked by the bank’s board and replaced with Gbenga Shobo.
The CBN revealed the sweeping changes at a press conference addressed by its Governor, Godwin Emefiele on Thursday. He stated that the bank has been afflicted by “bad credit decisions, significant and non-performing insider loans and poor corporate governance practices” over the years.
On why it reinstated Adeduntan, Emefiele said although the board had the power to make changes to the management team, it must be subject to CBN approval. This First Bank did not do.
“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 5 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.”
The CBN governor further explained that “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.”
In line with this, the CBN sacked the board of directors of the bank which include Ibukun Awosika and Oba Otudeko, announced an interim board to run its affairs in order to stabilise it, and reinstated Adeduntan because due process was not followed in his removal
The CBN afterward appointed the following persons as directors in FBN Ltd and FBN Holdings Plc to sanitise and stabilise the tier-1 lender.
1. Chairman – Remi Babalola
2. Dr. Fatade Abiodun Oluwole
3. Kofo Dosekun
4. Remi Lasaki
5. Dr Alimi Abdulrasaq
6. Ahmed Modibbo
7. Khalifa Imam
8. Sir Peter Aliogo
9. UK Eke – Managing Director
1. Chairman – Tunde Hassan-Odukale
2. Tokunbo Martins
3. Uche Nwokedi
4. Adekunle Sonola
5. Isioma Ogodazi
6. Ebenezer Olufowose
7. Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo
8. Sola Adeduntan – Managing Director
9. Gbenga Shobo – Deputy Managing Director
10. Remi Oni – Executive Director
11. Abdullahi Ibrahim – Executive Director
First Bank is the strongest and oldest bank in Nigeria. It was founded in 1894. It has over 31m customers, with a deposit base of N4.2trn, shareholders’ funds of N618bn, and NIBSS instant payment (NIP) processing capacity of 22% of the industry.
Unsurprisingly, the shares of the bank declined 6.7% to N6.90 on Thursday.