The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied what it called “malicious rumors and unfounded speculations” that some banks in the country are in distress or may be in the process of doing so.
“Neither Skye Bank nor any other bank in the industry is in distress,” it said in a statement signed by Isaac Okorafor, its Acting Director, Corporate Communications.
The statement followed stories in the media, including SaharaReporters, over this week’s sudden mass resignation of the board of Skye Bank.
“The CBN wishes to reiterate in the strongest terms that these rumors and speculations are untrue and do not reflect the actual health of the individual banks and indeed, the entire banking industry,” the statement said.
The CBN described the infusion of a new Board and Management for Skye BankPLC as “a proactive regulatory action meant to ensure that the bank does not continue to fail in its relevant prudential ratios,” adding that the reports are the handiwork of mischief-makers who do not mean well for the Nigerian banking system and its economy.
“There is, therefore, no need for panic withdrawals from any bank,” the statement continued. “Going by both the CBN's Examination Reports as well as analysis from market watchers, International Credit Rating Agencies, and Development Finance Institutions, the Nigerian banking industry remains strong in spite of the global economic challenges emanating from the collapse of global commodity prices.”
Two days ago, we provided background information on the chaos at Skye Bank, stating that the so-called voluntary resignation of the bank’s top management arose from bad loans and insider malpractices by board members.
Bank chairman Tunde Ayeni, for instance, owed the bank at least N102 billion, a debt burden he had failed to service for several years.
While Mr. Ayeni was one of those who resigned on Monday, neither CBN nor Skye Bank, which also sought to refute our story yesterday, has said one word about the bank’s terrible debt profile.
In its statement today, CBN urged the banking public not to panic, saying it is “important that we do not create problems when none exists.”
Again, we stand by our story.