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Ecobank Shuts Down 74 Branches

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Ecobank Nigeria

Ecobank Nigeria has shut down about 74 of its 479 branches.

The bank says it will deploy staff from the merged branches to other projects but failed to touch on reports that the bank had terminated the appointment of about 50 top personnel staff.

A statement by the bank reaffirmed its commitment to digital transformation, which would enable customers carry out banking activities online, thereby reducing the need to visit physical locations.

Charles Kie, the managing director, said the bank hopes to shift its activities to digital channels and improve customers’ experience at reduced cost.

This, he said, also supports the bank’s financial inclusion strategy and the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Kie said the bank has enhanced its retail internet banking platform with the Ecobank mobile app that enables customers to do instant payments; open accounts, as well as do instant transfers across 33 countries in Africa.

“After a detailed analysis of the physical network of branches needed to serve our customers, the decision was made by the Ecobank Nigeria board, and approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria, to optimise 74 out of its 479 branches,” Kie said.

The statement failed to touch on Thursday’s reports that the bank had terminated the appointment of about 50 top personnel staff.

“We are deploying staff and other resources from the merged branches to other ongoing projects, while also strengthening the existing branches to make them more resourceful and up to speed in their daily activities,” he added.

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JUST IN: Access Bank Seeks To Buy Zambian Bank

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Access Bank Plc has commenced an exclusive discussion towards full acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited, a Zambia-based financial institution.

Access Bank is seeking to consummate the acquisition through its Zambian subsidiary, Access Bank Zambia Limited.

In a regulatory filing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Access Bank stated that it has entered discussions to acquire 100 per cent equity stake in Cavmont Bank Limited from Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia Plc, the sole owner of Cavmont Bank.

While the discussions on the merger have reached advanced stage, Access Bank stated that there is no certainty yet on agreement or terms of the transaction, urging investors to exercise caution when dealing on its shares.

According to the bank, the completion of the transaction is subject to formal regulatory approvals.

“Access Bank will update the market as appropriate and in accordance with its disclosure obligations,” Access Bank stated.

Access Bank had last year acquired Diamond Bank Plc in a merger that leapfrogged the first-tier commercial bank atop the retail banking segment.

The business combination with Diamond Bank nudged Access Bank’s rating as a leading Tier 1 Nigerian bank into the largest bank in Africa by number of customers, spanning three continents, 12 countries, 3,100 Automated Teller Machine (ATM), more than 33,000 Point of Sales (PoS) terminals, 27 million clients and more than 10 million mobile customers.

Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Dr Herbert Wigwe, has said the bank’s strategic plan is to become the most important bank and gateway to Africa.

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Fidelity Bank Appoints Mustafa Chike-Obi Chairman, As Ebi Retires

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Fidelity Bank Plc has announced that two of its Board members: Mr. Ernest Ebi (MFR) who has been serving as Chairman, Board of Directors and Mr. Seni Adetu who has been serving as an Independent Non-Executive Director, having successfully completed their tenure in accordance with the Bank’s internal governance policy, will be stepping down from the Board.

Under the Chairmanship of Mr. Ernest Ebi, the Bank recorded significant growth across key financial metrics with both Messrs. Ebi and Adetu playing significant roles, complementing management effort in the delivery of these milestones; in service of the long term vision of the Bank. The Bank’s market share position has also been materially strengthened over this period.

The Board is also pleased to announce that the retiring Chairman will be succeeded by Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi who is currently the Executive Vice Chairman at Alpha African Advisory.

He has over 40 years of experience in investment banking and the financial services sector, working with reputable global investment banking and asset management firms. He provides overall leadership at Alpha African Advisory and has direct oversight over the capital raising division.

Prior to joining Alpha African Advisory, he was the inaugural CEO, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), a Federal Government backed institution, established to resolve the problem of non-performing loan assets of Nigerian Banks after the 2008 global financial crisis.

Mr Chike-Obi was Founding President at Madison Advisors, a financial services advisory and consulting firm in New Jersey, specializing in hedge funds and private equity investment advice. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Lagos (First Class Honors) and an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Mr. Ebi will however continue in the role until the in-coming Chairman assumes office, as part of the process of ensuring a smooth and successful transition. The changes being announced further attest to Fidelity Bank’s high governance standards and best practices in compliance with internal succession policies.

The outgoing Chairman expressed pride in the results that the Bank achieved during his time as Chairman. ‘I feel that the management team has consolidated on our plans to become one of the fastest-growing Banks in the country strongly rooted in technology only comparable with the best in the world.

I am confident that my successor will continue on that path to take the Bank to its next stage of growth and advancement. I wish my successor, the management team, and the entire staff of Fidelity Bank the very best for continued success”, he said.

Adetu, the outgoing Independent Non-Executive Director, said, “It has been an honor to be part of the Board over the last few years. Throughout this time, I have been humbled by the commitment and hard work of the Board and Management, and their passion for creating a truly global bank.

I am very grateful to them, as I am to Fidelity Bank’s many other stakeholders, with whom we have worked to build a long-term, sustainable business”.

The Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi John Okonkwo, commended the contributions of the outgoing Board members, saying that the Board and indeed the bank has benefited immensely from their experiences and looks forward to continuing the Bank’s upward growth trajectory with the incoming Chairman Designate.

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N240bn Debt: AMCON Takes Over Oil Magnate Festus Fadeyi’s Pan Ocean Assets

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The Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, on Thursday, July 2, took possession of Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, and its affiliate companies owned by billionaire oil mogul, Festus Fadeyi, over an unpaid N240 billion loan debt.

Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had on June 22, granted an ex-parte application by counsel to AMCON, Kunle Ogunba SAN, to take interim possession of the assets of Pan Ocean over the unpaid loan. The court also granted the application by AMCON to take over several oil mining and oil prospecting licenses exemplified by OML 147, 152 and 98 respectively owned by the company. Properties in Victoria Island, Lagos among several others were also included for possession.

“An order of this honourable court granting interim judicial protection to AMCON, the receiver/manager (and its duly appointed nominee; Mr. Kunle Ogunba SAN) appointed herein over the assets/businesses of the defendants by virtue of its deed of appointment dated March 5, 2020, in furtherance of the mutually binding covenants of the parties in the various facility/offer letters pending the determination of this suit is granted.” Justice Liman had ruled

However, Pan Ocean through its counsel, Oluwemimo Ogunde (SAN), had filed an application before the court asking it to stay the execution of the takeover order pending the determination of a suit marked, FHC/L/CS/552/2020, which is also a subject of an appeal before the Court of Appeal in Lagos. Ogunde described AMCON’s ex parte application leading to the takeover order as an abuse of court process, which he said the court rules frown upon.

A statement from AMCON announcing the takeover of the company’s assets reads:

“Hon. Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court, presiding over the suit between the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) vs Everest Nominees Limited and Dr. Bolaji Ogundare a subsidiary of Pan Ocean Group has ordered AMCON and its assignee to take over all the assets of the companies.

Pan Ocean Group is promoted by Dr. Festus Fadeyi, a flamboyant Lagos oil and Gas businessman whose total indebtedness to AMCON is over N240 billion.

“The court had also granted an order appointing AMCON as a Receiver Manager (in accordance with its 2019 Act as amended) and its designated human nominees (Mr. Kunle Ogunba Esq. SAN) its privies and assigns over the assets of Pan Ocean, their corporate guarantors, cronies and cohorts to take over a number of prime assets of Pan Ocean over some irreconcilable huge debt owed AMCON by both Everest Nominees Limited, Pan Ocean Group and their promoters as well as directors.

The court in suit No. FHC/L/CS/722/20 ordered AMCON and its assigned designate to take over several oil mining and oil prospecting licenses that are exemplified by OML 147 (formerly OPL 275), OML 152 and OML 98 respectively. The order also mandated AMCON to took over the property lying and situate at No. 33b, Adebayo Doherty Street, off Admiralty Way Lekki Phase One in Lagos State as well as the property lying and being specifically known as FF Towers, Plot 13/14 Ligali Ayorinde Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Others include another property lying and specifically known as No. 8, Modupe Alakija Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos; the property lying and specifically known as No. 10/12, Modupe Alakija Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos christened and identified as Grand Villa; No. 14, Modupe Alakija Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos; another property lying and known as Ark Towers situate at No. 17, Ligalli Ayorinde Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos as well as Plot 5 and Plot 822, Samuel Manuwa Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Aside these prime assets of the obligors, Justice Liman also ordered AMCON to take over any other assets, businesses, affairs, undertakings, interests etc belonging to the defendants wherever same may be found. He also directed the Inspector-General of Police and his commissioners to assist AMCON and its designates as well as the Court Bailiffs in taking over the assets on behalf of the Corporation.”

Meanwhile, the management of Pan Ocean Oil group has expressed dismay at what it described as an attempted illegal takeover of its properties by AMCON. In a statement released, the firm said on July 2nd, 2020, a team led by Kunle Ogunba, disrupted work activities at two of its facilities under the guise of executing a court order. The firm noted that the action was taken despite a pending lawsuit marked FHC/L/CS/552/2020 which is before the Court of Appeal in Lagos. The statement in part reads

“Our lawyer, Mr. Oluwemimo Ogunde (SAN) had notified Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos, about the pending suit and prayed His Lordship to stay execution of a court order around Pan Ocean’s assets. The attempted takeover of our assets by AMCON and its lawyer is therefore condemnable.

Pan Ocean accessed funding from the banking system to facilitate expansion plans which were based on sound investment advice and projections. The funds were invested in assets which are verifiable and within Nigeria. We remain committed to working with our financial partners to resolve all outstanding issues.”

We are committed to the rule of law and due process and will continue to rely on legal due process to resolve this issues despite the provocation and lawlessness of the party. We call on the leadership of the judiciary and all lovers of democracy and the rule of law to call the erring parties to order.”

 

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AMCON Takes Over Pan Ocean Assets Over N240 Billion Debt

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