…Says depositors’ funds safe


By Uche Usim

For the umpteenth time, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured anxious depositors that their funds in various financial institutions are safe, cautioning against flooding the banks to make panic withdrawals.

It also denied plans to axe Fidelity, Polaris, Wema, and Unity Banks, saying the claims were symptoms of dangerous ignorance and a plot to unnecessarily overheat the polity.

The reassurance follows claims in certain quarters that the financial health of some banks was rapidly deteriorating and that the apex bank may descend on them like it did to Heritage Bank by revoking its licence.

According to the apex bank, the fact that Heritage Bank was recently axed does not mean other commercial banks were dying.

Spokesperson of the CBN, Mrs Hakama Sidi Ali, said contrary to raging fears of the vulnerability of the existing financial institutions, the financial system in Nigeria remains resilient.

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She also clarified that a circular issued by the Bank on January 10, 2024, notifying the public about the dissolution of the Boards of Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks, is currently being circulated as though it was issued on June 10, 2024.

Mrs. Sidi Ali emphasised that Heritage’s case was isolated, adding that allegations of further revocation of licences prior to the completion of the bank recapitalisation exercise were mere fabrications aimed at creating panic within the system.

She said customers, particularly those of Heritage Bank, need not worry about the safety of their deposits, adding that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had commenced payment to the bank’s insured depositors.

Mrs. Sidi Ali, therefore, urged the public to continue their regular banking activities without concern, dismissing any false reports regarding the health of specific Deposit Money Banks.

She confirmed that the CBN, with its robust regulatory framework, is proactively ensuring the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, thereby guaranteeing the safety of depositors’ funds in all Nigerian financial institutions.

While reiterating the assurances of the Governor (Olayemi Cardoso) that the recapitalisation of banks in Nigeria was intended to bolster the banking system and safeguard the sector against risks, she urged all stakeholders to cooperate in ensuring the success of the process, which she noted would be for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing recapitalisation process, I want to restate that the Nigerian banking industry remains resilient. Key financial soundness indicators remain within current regulatory thresholds.

“Customers are, therefore, encouraged to proceed with their transactions as usual, as the CBN is committed to ensuring the safety of the banking system,” she added.

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