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Heritage Bank shutdown: Banking system, depositors’ funds are safe, says CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the banking system and depositors’ funds are safe.

Sidi Ali Hakama, the bank’s acting director of corporate communications, said this on Monday during a chat with journalists in Abuja.

This comes amid concerns about the stability of some banks following the licence revocation of Heritage Bank Plc.

Hakama dismissed claims that the CBN was planning to revoke the operating licences of Fidelity Bank, Polaris Bank, Wema Bank, and Unity Bank.

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The director assured customers, especially those of Heritage Bank, that their deposits were safe, adding that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had commenced payment to the bank’s insured depositors.

Ali said the CBN’s strong regulatory framework is actively maintaining the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, ensuring the safety of depositors’ funds across all Nigerian financial institutions.

“Key financial soundness indicators remain within current regulatory thresholds,” Hakama said.

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

The director said a circular issued by the bank on January 10, informing the public about the dissolution of the boards of Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks, is being circulated as if it were issued on June 10.

She said Heritage Bank’s situation was isolated and that claims of additional licence revocations before completing the bank recapitalisation process were fabrications intended to incite panic.

The director reaffirmed the assurances made by Olayemi Cardoso, the CBN’s governor, regarding the purpose of the recapitalisation of Nigerian banks, which is to strengthen the banking system and protect the sector from risks.

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Hakama urged all stakeholders to collaborate to ensure the success of the process, adding that it is for the overall growth of the economy.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing recapitalisation process, I want to restate that the Nigerian banking industry remains resilient,” she said.

Hakama urged the public to continue their regular banking activities without concern, disregarding any false reports concerning the stability of specific deposit money banks.

On June 3, CBN announced the revocation of Heritage Bank’s licence with immediate effect. 

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The regulator said the decision followed the bank’s inability to improve its financial performance.

Following the revocation, online reports claimed the apex bank would terminate the licences of Unity, Polaris, and Keystone banks.

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However, on June 4, the bank said the content was not authentic, adding that it has no plans to revoke the licences of the three banks.

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