Polaris Bank: A Comprehensive Overview of Events Leading to Board Changes
Polaris Bank, acquired by Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL) for N50 billion in 2022, has faced a tumultuous history marked by financial challenges and ownership transitions. This article provides a detailed timeline of significant events leading to the recent changes in its board.
Polaris Bank’s Evolution: A Historical Perspective
2005 – Skye Bank Emerges:
- Skye Bank originated from the merger of five legacy banks during the industry consolidation of 2005.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under Governor Charles Soludo increased the minimum capitalization requirements, triggering mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector.
2014 – Acquisition of Mainstreet Bank:
- Skye Bank successfully bid for a 100% stake in Mainstreet Bank Limited, a bridge bank formed from Afribank.
- The deal, valued at N126 billion, positioned Skye Bank as the official owner of Mainstreet Bank, bolstering its market share and expanding its reach.
2016 – CBN Intervention:
- Skye Bank faced financial troubles, leading to the Central Bank of Nigeria taking over and dissolving its board in July 2016.
- New board members were appointed to stabilize the bank and implement actions for recapitalization.
2018 – License Revocation:
- Despite financial injections and extensions, Skye Bank failed to recapitalize, resulting in the revocation of its operating license by the CBN in September 2018.
- AMCON took over the bank, injecting N786 billion into Polaris Bank Limited to ensure stability.
2020 – Leadership Change:
- Tokunbo Abiru retired as the CEO of Polaris Bank in August 2020 after completing his second two-year tenure.
- Merger talks between FBN Holdings subsidiaries and ongoing uncertainties were reported.
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2022 – Sale to SCIL:
- Reports surfaced in August 2022 about the potential sale of Polaris Bank to Auwal Lawan Abdullahi, later confirmed as Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL) for N50 billion.
- The House of Reps ordered a halt to the sale, ensuring an open, transparent, and competitive bid process.
- On October 21st, the CBN announced the completion of the sale to SCIL for N50 billion.
2024 – Recent Developments:
- In a bold move, the CBN sacked the board of Polaris Bank, citing non-compliance with regulatory provisions and corporate governance failures.
- This action underscores ongoing challenges and regulatory concerns in the bank’s operations.
Polaris Bank’s journey from its inception to the recent board changes reflects the complex landscape of the Nigerian banking industry. The ongoing developments highlight the need for robust regulatory oversight and measures to ensure the stability and compliance of financial institutions.