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Polaris Bank MD, Abiru, Retires

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Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Bank Limited, has announced his retirement from the service of Polaris Bank, effective August 31, 2020, having successfully completed his second two-year tenure at the helm of the Bank.

In an emotion-laden farewell message to the staff of the Bank, Mr. Abiru explained that having served meritoriously in the banking industry for nearly three decades, he had resolved to retire to enable him contribute his quota in other areas of the society.

Sharing his scorecard while serving as the CEO of the Bank, Mr. Abiru noted: “It gives me great pleasure to say that, with the support of the Board, Executive Management and all of you, we have delivered on the mandate given to us by the Central Bank of Nigeria upon assumption of office in 2016.”

Going down memory lane, he reminded staff of the Bank’s poor state before he assumed office in 2016 as the Group Managing Director of the erstwhile Skye Bank.

He noted that all prudential ratios were out of compliance with regulatory requirements, Capital was negative, the loan book was mostly delinquent, while liquidity faced deposit attrition. Furthermore, the IT infrastructure was dilapidated and employee morale was low, resulting in erosion of public confidence.

He praised the staff for working with him to reverse the trend and bring about an institution that has become a compelling case study in corporate turnaround within Nigeria’s financial services industry. In his words: “We have reversed almost all regulatory ratios for good and currently rank amongst the very best in the industry.

“There can be no better testament to the much-improved state of the Bank than the full year 2019 results in which the Bank posted Profit After Tax (PAT) of N27billion.  To buttress the fact that this is sustainable, the Bank’s first half 2020 result showed a PAT of over N18billion, despite the tremendous headwinds brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He went on to say: “We also commenced the refreshment of the Bank’s IT infrastructure, which had largely become outdated and dilapidated due to years of under-investment.

As a result of the successful completion of the first phase of the IT Refresh Program, which consisted mainly of upgrade of the infrastructure and digital platforms, and relocation of the Bank’s Data Centres to Tier III data locations as mandated by CBN regulations and in line with global best practices, the Bank’s customers are now experiencing significantly improved service delivery.

“In addition, by introducing and committing resources to the Agency Banking model, we have contributed in no small measure to deepening financial inclusion for the unbanked and under-banked throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria.”

He restated that today’s Polaris Bank has been successfully positioned as a bank of choice in Nigeria due to the work that has been put in by the various stakeholders including the loyal customers of the Bank.

On the issue of leadership succession, Mr. Abiru said, “During this period leading to my final disengagement, I will work closely with the CBN, the Board of Directors and Executive Management of our Bank to ensure a seamless transition and smooth handover to my successor.”

Tokunbo Abiru was appointed the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the then Skye Bank in July 2016.

Before his appointment, he had served in several capacities in some of the leading Banks in Nigeria’s banking industry, including at one time as an Executive Director in First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

He was at various times appointed as Non–Executive Director in some leading companies, including Econet (now Airtel) Mobile Networks Limited, and FBN Capital Limited (now FBN Merchant Bank Limited).

Mr Abiru has also had a brief stint in public service, having served from 2011 to 2013 as the Honorable Commissioner of Finance for Lagos State Government under the dynamic and transformational leadership of Governor Babatunde R. Fashola (SAN).

Following the establishment of Polaris Bank in September 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria affirmed the performance of the Bank’s Board of Directors, and reappointed Mr. Tokunbo Abiru to lead the new Bank; a position he held until opting for voluntary retirement from the Bank.

Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products for individuals and businesses.


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FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

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Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.

FG makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ‎ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

The notice issued by the government to that effect read, ‎“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.‎”

The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.

Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guidelin‎e was not for all Nigerians.

The government attributed the development to misinformation.

The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, ‎“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. ‎FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.

Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”


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Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.

“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.

“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.

“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.

“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.

“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”


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Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

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President Muhammadu  Buhari has approved the establishment of an   Infrastructure Company (Infraco) to be driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

This is coming  on the heels of the foreign reserves’ slump to $36 billion following a cocktail of monetary policy interventions by the apex bank to cushion the scathing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made these disclosures in Abuja at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with the theme: Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance.

According to him, Infraco would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.

“This entity would also be able to raise funds from the capital markets and mobilise long term finance to address some of our infrastructure needs, while providing reasonable returns to investors. “We believe this well-structured fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective.

“A well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country”, he explained.

On foreign reserves, Emefiele attributed its crash to the decline in foreign exchange earnings and subsequent adjustments in the value of the naira to the dollar.


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