Shareholders have expressed their disappointment over the statement by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, that the apex bank will not hesitate to withdraw the license of any operating bank found guilty of having errant shareholders.
Emefiele who made this statement during the 290th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting which held in Abuja recently, noted that the interest of depositors would be prioritised over that of shareholders should the commercial banks be taken over by the CBN.
This is even as he further accused the shareholders of abusing the privilege of the banking license granted them by the CBN stressing that they will rather dispense with the shareholders and make sure that depositors do not lose their deposit.
However, the decision did not sit well with many shareholders. According to the National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Boniface Okezie, the apex bank had continued to dish out harmful policies and decisions which had led to the fall of some banks of which shareholders were made to bear the brunt.
“Why would CBN want to take over a bank in the first place at the expense of the shareholders, without shareholders, there would be no company.” He lamented that such insensitive decisions by the regulatory body would only deter shareholders and would gradually lead to the fall of many banks. According to him, the interest of the shareholders should equally be protected by the CBN and other regulatory bodies.
He noted that a similar action by the CBN was what led to the fall of some banks in the past pointing out selfish personal interests and that the regulatory body was not being transparent enough in its dealings with the public.
He described the financial regulatory authorities in Nigeria as the major challenge bedeviling the banking industry even as he attributed it to poor leadership positions that do not checkmate their excesses.
Okezie further refuted Emefiele’s claim that depositor’s funds in the banks were more than that of the investors stating that shareholders’ funds were fixed but that of depositors could be withdrawn at any given time by the customers. He noted that there were already guidelines laid down to ensure that depositors do not lose their money and that it was not necessary for the CBN to wade into certain issues.
“The money used by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to ensure every depositor is paid in a case where the bank collapses is obtained from the shareholders’ funds. Investors’ interests are already protected.”
Okezie also faulted the naira redesign policy adding that the worst of it was yet to be seen stressing that it would pose an adverse effect on banks performance this year. “What CBN has done is going to affect banks performance this year. It is crippling the economy and frustrating the bankers. Meanwhile, you still have a large chunk of the commercial bank’s money in your vault, gradually killing the industry.”