Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) has appointed new board members for Union Bank, Keystone Bank, and Polaris Banks following the dissolution of previous board members yesterday. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) dissolved the board of directors of the three banks on Wednesday night, citing regulatory non-compliance and corporate governance failure. The apex bank also said they were involved in activities threatening their financial stability.

According to a CBN announcement, a CEO and an executive director have each been hired for the affected banks to oversee the frameworks of the three banks.

Yetunde Oni, a former CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Sierra Leone, is the new Union Bank CEO alongside Mannir Ubani Ringim, the bank’s new Executive Director. Oni replaces Mudassir Amray, the previous Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Union Bank.

Hassan Imam, an Executive Director of the North Directorate of Fidelity Bank, will head Keystone Bank as CEO. Chioma A. Mang will play the role of Keystone’s Executive Director. Imam replaces Olaniran Olayinka.

Lawal Mudathir Omokayode Akintola, a director at Sage Grey Finance Limited, will head Polaris Bank as CEO, and Chris Ofikulu will be its executive director. Before this surprise announcement, Akintola had barely settled into his role at Sage Grey Finance Limited 10 months ago.

Per the CBN, the appointment will take immediate effect. The dissolution and replacement of board members comes weeks after Jim Obazee’s investigation into the Central Bank under former Governor Godwin Emefiele’s alleged questionable bank acquisitions. Obazee’s report claims Emefiele used proxies to purchase these banks without documented payment.

The recent dissolution of commercial bank board members is not a first in the country. In 2016, the CBN sacked the board of directors at Skye Bank for a failure to meet the regulated capital adequacy ratio,  a measure of the bank’s capacity to handle financial risks. The Apex Bank revoked the bank’s licence in 2018, allowing Polaris Bank to take over the bank’s assets and liabilities. In 2021, the CBN also dissolved the board of First Bank of Nigeria after the board removed the managing director and chief executive officer without obtaining regulatory approval. 

The CBN has appears to be increasing scrutiny and tightening regulatory controls over commercial banks since the appointment of its current governor, Yemi Cardoso. This week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  reportedly summoned the heads of four Nigerian banks for questioning over potential irregularities in their foreign exchange transactions.

*Additional reporting by Joseph Olaoluwa 

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