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AMCON to sell off Polaris Bank in two years

AMCON to sell off Polaris Bank in two years

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said it wants a quick sale of Polaris Bank, the bridge bank appointed to take over all the assets and liabilities of the defunct Skye Bank.

The Chief Executive Officer of AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, in an interview with Bloomberg in Lagos, said the “divestment must be quick” as the agency had met with the management of Polaris Bank and would sell the business in less than two years.

AMCON was set up by the Federal Government to buy bad debts following a banking crisis in 2009. The corporation already set a 2023 deadline for dissolving its operations even as it struggles to recover non-performing loans.

Last month, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked the operating license of Skye Bank for failing to meet capital and liquidity requirements and asked AMCON to capitalize Polaris Bank with N786 billion to bring its net asset value to zero so as to return it to the path of profitability.

According to Kuru, the Nigerian authorities intervened in the Skye Bank matter because of a lot of systemic issues, including saving more than 5,000 jobs and almost N1 trillion in deposits.

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“It’s a very big bank and if you allow anything to happen to it, it will affect some other financial institutions,” he said, adding that AMCON has no plans to establish another rescue package for the country’s banks.

Ripples Nigeria reports how some directors of the defunct bank and “powerful forces” in Lagos used their influence to take huge loans from the bank, resulting in increase in the bank’s non-performing loans which eventually strangulated the bank.

Kuru said AMCON would advertise for financial advisers for the sale of Polaris Bank after an investigation into the cause of its capital and liquidity challenges.

“We will prosecute individuals suspected to have contributed to the bank’s collapse with a view to recovering any bad loans linked to them.

“Because we have put a lot of money there, where we find out that something wrong has been done, I can assure you that people will be held responsible,” Kuru said.

 

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Olakoyenikan Oluwasegun