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Polaris Bank Denies Report on Its Sale by CBN.

Polaris Bank Denies Report on Its Sale by CBN.

The Polaris Bank management had on Friday dismissed a report stating that the bank was about to be sold to a private investor by the Central Bank of Nigeria -CBN.

Reports came out this week that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and the head of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria -AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, had offered to sell Polaris Bank to a farmer, Auwal Lawan Abdullahi, who is the son-in-law of former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida.

CBN took over Skye Bank in 2016 after accusing the bank’s chairman, Mr. Tunde Ayeni, and the managing director, Mr. Timothy Oguntayo, of money laundering.

Skye Bank had equally failed to meet the CBN’s recapitalization requirements in 2016, resulting in the revelation of money laundering and other financial-related crimes in the bank. The apex bank transformed the lender into Polaris Bank two years later.

Since the takeover, Polaris Bank has not been sold back to the private sector with both CBN and AMCON reportedly spending N1.2 trillion to finance the bank’s operation and keep it running.

In a statement on Friday, the management of Polaris Bank said that while the plan was to eventually allow a private investor to take over the bank, it would not be sold without its approval. Polaris Bank also added that the report on the planned sale was circulated by miscreants to cause panic.

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The statement released to the public read: “Our attention has been drawn to an online report on the purported sale of Polaris Bank Limited. This publication is speculative, deliberately intended to create panic, and should be disregarded by the banking public.

“Stakeholders may recall the regulatory intervention in the erstwhile Skye Bank by the CBN and the subsequent injection of capital via the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria -AMCON through a bridge bank process, which founded Polaris Bank in 2018. The bank has since stabilized its operations following the intervention; improving its balance sheet, customer base, and profitability.”

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