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Customers, Shareholders Worry Over Skye Bank’s Financial Health

By The Witness

These are not the best of times for the Tokunbo Abiru-led Skye Bank Plc as the lender is said to be currently embroiled in a fresh crisis.

Investigation by THE WITNESS revealed that the struggling financial institution has again failed the statutory requirements to file its results and accounts for the period ended June 30, 2018 with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

A top management staff of the bank who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity lamented, “Of a truth, all is not well with the bank. It is really struggling to stay afloat and the new management is doing nothing about it. Though they met the problem on ground, one expects that by now things should have changed. People are resigning every day because of uncertainties showing up in every of its departments.”

Recall that on July 4, 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria intervened in the management of the bank by reconstituting the board of directors, shoring up the bank with N100bn capital injection, and accordingly, the apex bank gave the board a clear mandate to turn the institution around positively.

Ironically, two years after the CBN intervention into the affairs of the bank, the fortunes of the financial institution have continued to dwindle.

This, THE WITNESS gathered, is not unconnected with the poor results of the bank due to lack of trust customers now have with the lender triggered by the lack of administrative experience and expertise of the new management led by Mr Tokunbo Abiru. More so, weak asset quality, rising funding costs and increased customers’ wariness about the safety of their deposits have conspired to squeeze out the bank’s balance sheet and tear profit figures of the lender.

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The development became worrisome to shareholders and customers of the bank as the lender last filed its accounts to the NSE in 2014. In a statement to the NSE in March 2017, Skye Bank had attributed the failure to file its 2016 accounts to the CBN’s intervention. Consequently, the Exchange tagged the lender MFR (Missed Regulatory Fillings). This is in contravention of Rule 1.1.4 of The Exchange on Filing of Accounts and Treatment of Default Filing, Rulebook of The Exchange, which requires listed companies to file their AFS.

A visit to the lender’s headquarters located at 3, Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, will tell how its branches operate – in a low-key setting. The once-bubbling branches of the bank have now become a shadow of themselves as many depositors of the bank have started closing their accounts.

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It would be recalled that prior to the sack of the Ayeni-led board, Skye Bank used to visit the discount window frequently.

With the current situation, the few depositors left are beginning to wonder if it is not back to square one for them, as they insist that the bank would have filed its account if there were indeed no problems.

A document obtained from the NSE unveiled Skye Bank as one of the financial institutions likely to be penalized by the NSE along with other organisations.

According to the document from the NSE, such default is marked out by the Exchange as a corporate governance failure, which attracts monetary fines, “naming and shaming” tag, suspension of shares from trading and delisting in incurable cases of default.

A source further confirmed that the Exchange “would apply relevant rules” in dealing with the defaulters.

The NSE regulatory deadline was on July 30. Under the rules, a late submission attracts a fine of N100,000 daily for the first 90 calendar days of non-compliance, another N200,000 per day for the next 90 calendar days and a fine of N400,000 per day thereafter until the date of submission.

Though, the CBN recently extended the tenure of Skye Bank directors for an additional two-year term, customers of the bank, financial experts have called for the sack of the bank chief to be replaced by a more competent and experienced hand to manage the financial institution.

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A customer of the bank, one Mr Oguntade Charles, while speaking with our correspondent said: “I don’t know what exactly is happening to Skye Bank. I have been banking with them for the past 7 years and it has never been this bad. Most of their ATM machines are always out of service; even their USSD banking code *889# is nothing to write home about, the same service which I enjoy seamlessly on my accounts with other banks. Most times, when I try to transact with it, it always fails. It’s either it brings error or no response at all. I have been to their bank several times to complain but still, no way. Their services are now so poor,” he lamented.

A financial expert, Mr Adebayo Faleti who spoke to our correspondent argued that if no drastic steps are taken by the CBN concerning the bank, the worse may still come.

All efforts to reach the Corporate Affairs Manager of the bank, Mr Rasheed Bolarinwa, for the lender’s angle proved futile as calls and text messages placed to his mobile number were not responded to as at press time.

The Witness

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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