The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued the Board of First Bank Ltd, one of Nigeria’s oldest banks a query for the removal of its CEO.
On Wednesday the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited revealed it had appointed Gbenga Shobo as its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The appointment was disclosed in a statement made by the bank’s Chairman, Ibukun Awosika.
Gbenga Shobo, The New Managing Director of First Bank
However, in an apparent leak, a letter from the central bank to First Bank revealed a query from the former to the latter expressing concern that the appointment of Shobo was done without the approval of the apex bank.
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to media reports that the Board of Directors has approved the removal of the current Managing Director of the bank, Dr. Sola Adeduntan, and appointed a successor to replace him. The CBN notes with concern that the action was taken without due consultation with the regulatory authorities, especially given the systemic importance of First Bank Ltd.”
The CBN also claimed that the tenure of Mr. Adedutan was yet to expire (bank MD’s have a maximum 10 years) and that they were also not aware of any misconduct of the former MD and as such there was no justification for his removal.
Former MD/CEO of Firstbank, Dr. Adeduntan
“Given that the tenure of Dr. Adeduntan is yet to expire and the CBN was not made aware of any report from the Board indicting the Managing Director of any wrong-doing or misconduct, there appears to be no apparent justification for the precipitate removal.”
However, Gistflash gathered that First Bank has a maximum of 6 years tenure for its MDs in line with its succession plans. They also claimed the CBN is meddling in its internal affairs as the removal of the MD is in line with its succession plans and also does not exceed CBNs maximum of 10 years.
“First Bank followed its corporate governance framework in its change of leadership and appointment of new executive directors. No Managing Director in the 127 years history of FirstBank has ever attempted a tenure extension. Why now?”
Another source who did not want to be mentioned as they were not authorized to do so lamented that “Adeduntan’s term formally ends in June this year after 2 terms of 3 years each. Leaving early is in line with the bank’s succession planning. When he was appointed 6 years ago and a DMD role was created, the erstwhile FirstBank Managing Director knew the DMD would succeed him and this is what has happened. This is corporate governance at its best.”
However, the apex bank in the leaked letter also suggested that it had provided First Bank with “regulatory forbearance” which can be interpreted as a bailout subliminally indicating that it has a say in the operations of the bank.
“We are particularly concerned because the action is coming at a time the CBN has provided various regulatory forbearances and liquidity support to reposition the bank which has enhanced its asset quality, capital adequacy and liquidity ratios amongst other prudential indicators. It is also curious to observe that the sudden removal of the MD/CEO was done about eight months to the expiry of his second tenure which is due on December 31, 2021. The removal of a sitting MD/CEO of a systemically important bank that has been under regulatory forbearance for 5 to 6 years without prior consultation and justifiable basis has dire implications for the bank and also portends significant risks to the stability of the financial system.”
Sources within the bank also allude without proof that the involvement of the central bank in this matter may also be due to First Bank’s support of Flutterwave which may have angered CBN.
“Is this payback for FirstBank for supporting and enabling Flutterwave and other tech companies? FirstBank MD-Designate, Gbenga Shobo created a revolution by partnering with Flutterwave and other tech companies. Is this payback? The CBN Governor must be called to order. This is not a banana economy. We need to preserve the FirstBank heritage with its seamless succession planning.”
It is unclear how this matter will end but stemming from experience, we will not be surprised if this matter ends in court in a few days. The Central Bank has often controversially delved into board-related issues such as appointments and even firing of all or some Board members for what it perceives as severe infractions.
And as expected, it ended its query to the bank with a threat to the board if the decision to remove Adeduntan is not reversed.
“In light of the foregoing, you are required to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against the Board for hastily removing the MD/CEO and failing to give prior notice to the CBN before announcing the management change in the media.”
Trading on NGX rebounds by N3bn
By Gistflash News
Sept 14, 2021
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) closed trading on Tuesday in green to halt the six-day consecutive bearish trend with a marginal growth of N3 billion.
The market upturn was due to investors’ renewed buying interest in the financial and industrial sectors.
Consequently, the market capitalisation inched higher by N3 billion or 0.01 per cent to close at N20.278 trillion from N20.275 trillion achieved on Monday.
Also, the All-Share Index grew by 4.88 points or 0.01 per cent to close at 38,920.50 against 38,915.62 on Monday.
The market positive performance was driven by price appreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks which are; UACN, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Africa Prudential, Oando and University Press.
Analysts at Afrinvest Limited said that “In the next trading session, we anticipate a negative performance as market remains short of a positive catalyst.”
However, the market breadth closed negative recording 21 losers as against 14 gainers.
UACN Property Development Company led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms by 9.93 per cent to close at N1.66 per share.
Academy Press followed with 8.33 per cent to close at 39k, while Courteville Business Solutions appreciated by 7.41 per cent to close at 29k per share.
Vitafoam went up by 3.88 per cent to close at N17.40, while Livestock Feeds appreciated by 2.88 per cent to close at N2.14 per share.
On the other hand, Sovereign Trust Insurance led the losers’ chart in percentage terms by 7.41 per cent to close at 25k per share.
University Press followed with 6.42 per cent to close at N1.02, while Regency Alliance Insurance shed 6.25 per cent to close at 45k per share.
UACN lost 4.85 per cent to close at N9.80, while Chams declined by 4.55 per cent to close at 21k per share.
Meanwhile, the total volume rose by 13.6 per cent to 228.48 million shares worth N1.88 billion traded in 3,376 deals.
This was in contrast with 201.10 million shares valued at N2.53 billion achieved in 3,340 deals on Monday.
Transactions in the shares of Wema Bank topped the activity chart with 46.76 million shares worth N35.97 million.
Access Bank followed with 28.24 million shares valued at N263.49 million, while United Bank of Africa sold 17.77 million shares worth N135.08 million.
Mutual Benefits Assurance traded 17.24 million shares valued at N4.88 million, while Fidelity Bank transacted 14.80 million shares worth N36.07 million.
Fidelity Bank grows PBT by 72.4% in 6 months
By Gistflash News
Sept 12, 2021
Fidelity Bank Plc has posted a profit before tax (PBT) of N20.6 billion for the six months ended June 30, 2021.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, disclosed this in the bank’s audited half-year (H1) results released to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Sunday in Lagos.
Onyeali-Ikpe said that the bank’s PBT represented a 72.4 per cent growth when compared to N12.0 billion recorded in the comparative period of 2020.
She added that profit after tax (PAT) rose to N19.31 billion from N11.30 billion recorded in the corresponding period.
She said the growth was on the Back of Increased customer transactions and improved operational efficiency.
“We sustained our impressive financial performance with double-digit growth in profit as increased customer transactions drove non-interest revenue while improved operational efficiency continued to moderate cost-to-serve,” she said.
Onyeali-Ikpe also said that the financial result for the period indicated that Gross Earnings increased by 6.2 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) to N112.3 billion on account of 27.8 per cent growth in Non-Interest Revenue (NIR) to N23.8 billion from N18.1 billion in H1 2020.
She added that the bank’s NIR was driven by strong growth in commission on banking services by 57.7 per cent, account maintenance charges by 50.6 per cent, digital banking income by 49.4 per cent and trade income by 33.7 per cent among others.
Total customer induced transactions across all distribution channels increased by 58.0 per cent YoY and 21.2 Per cent QoQ.
The bank showed a good appetite in funding the real sector with net loans and advances increasing by 15.8 per cent YTD to N1.53 billion from N1.32 billion in 2020FY.
However, the actual growth was 14.7 per cent while the impact of the currency adjustment (2020FY: N400.3/dollars-H1 2021: N410.6/dollars) accounted for a 1.1 per cent YTD growth in the loan book. Cost of risk came in at 0.3 per cent and the NPL ratio (stage 3 loans) dropped to 2.8 per cent from 3.8 per cent in 2020FY.
Other regulatory ratios remain well above the minimum requirement: capital adequacy ratio at 18.8 per cent from 18.2 per cent in 2020FY.
Total Deposits increased by 16.5 per cent YTD to N1.98 billion from N1.69 billion in 2020FY, driven by increased deposit mobilisation across all deposit types.
“Digital Banking gained further traction as we now have 55.1 per cent of our customers enrolled on the mobile/internet banking products and 89.3 per cent of customer-induced transactions were done on digital platforms.”
She also explained that the bank’s foreign currency deposits increased by 23.1 per cent YTD at 149 million dollars and now accounted for 18.5 per cent of total deposits from 17.5 per cent in 2020FY.
According to her, this is as the bank continues to harness the benefits of its renewed drive in the diaspora banking space.
“We look forward to sustaining the current momentum in H2 by optimising our balance sheet and lowering our cost–to–serve.
“This will translate to improved earnings while we remain committed to our medium to long-term strategic objectives,” Onyeali-Ikpe said.
Desist from Foreign Exchange malpractices, CBN warns commercial banks
By Gistflash News
Sept 11, 2021
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to always observe due diligence and desist from all forms of malpractices in foreign exchange (FX) transactions.
The apex bank gave the warning in a letter by Ozoemena Nnaji, Director of Trade and Exchange Department, addressed to the DMBs.
Nnaji urged the banks to, not only ensure to know their customers, but also to know their customers ‘ businesses.
She said the directive was necessitated by recent occurrences in the FX market.
“The CBN wishes to remind all banks that it is their responsibility to not only know their customers (KYC requirements) but also know their customers’ businesses (KYCB requirements).
“Given this responsibility , and in view of recent occurrences in the market, the CBN will like to remind banks to desist from all forms of FX malpractices.
“We wish to reiterate that FX operating licences of any bank or banks that are found culpable with ongoing investigations will be suspended for at least one year,” the director said.
She urged all the DMBs concerned to take note and ensure compliance. (
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