CBN spends N620b on troubled banks, plans acquisition, mergers



Not less than N620 billion has been spent on the 10 troubled banks through the Expanded Discount Window (EDW) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), even as its Governor, Dr. Lamido Sanusi, hinted yesterday at a meeting with a Senate Committee that some of the existing commercial banks and foreign banks have expressed interest in acquiring some of the troubled banks. He also affirmed that the Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB) has paid back N30 billion loan it took from the EDW.



Sanusi disclosed that Union Bank negatived shareholders fund to the tune of N146 billion. Others are Oceanic, N259 billion; Bank PHB, N64 billion; Afribank, N107 billion; Equatorial Bank, N56 billion; Finbank, N85 billion; Spring Bank, N80 billion, while Wema Bank was indebted to the tune of N50 billion.



But Sanusi said the fate of the troubled banks would be determined in the negotiations on the acquisition and merger of the ailing banks by the new partners and existing shareholders. The recapitalisation of the banks, he added, will soon commence. "We are already working on the merger for the 10 troubled banks. The banks will be acquired by local and foreign banks that we have found to have great efficiency in corporate governance," Sanusi said



On the injection of fresh funds, the governor said it had been addressed in the Asset Management Company (AMC) bill presently before the National Assembly. The banks, he disclosed, are to issue AMC shares in exchange for cash or bond to the apex bank adding that when the bill on AMC is passed into law, about N9 trillion of shareholders funds will be saved.



Among the banks slated for proposed merger according to the CBN governor are Intercontinental, Union Bank, Afribank, Bank PHB, Wema Bank, Oceanic Bank, Equatorial Trust Bank, Finbank and Spring Bank. Sanusi said the CBN will not be involved directly in the merger process as was being speculated.



In the proposed plan, the CBN said, the troubled banks have been given the options of either agreeing to sell or allow their assets to be handed over to Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation or face the option of being nationalised by the Federal Government.



But a member of the committee, Senator Mohammed Mohammed, cautioned: "We want to be careful if you tell a bank that if we give you this option, if you do not take it, we will handover to NDIC, it is not fair to our shareholders."



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