Expert tells Skye Bank: Battling ex-board members will set you back

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A former management staff of First Bank plc who recently retired from the leading bank has urged the management of Syke Bank led by Mr. Tokunbo Abiru to concentrate on the task of taking the bank to the next level rather than dissipating energy in battles against the former Board and management of the bank.

“Since Tokunbo Abiru’s assumption of office as the managing director of Skye Bank, he has embarked on a policy of total annihilation of the former management. He has embarked on avoidable battles with the former board and bank customers.
”Inadvertently, Abiru is de-marketing the bank with his combative policy. If you embark on a campaign against such critical stakeholders, you are indirectly demarketing your bank. The strategy has resulted in disastrous consequences for the fortunes of the bank. His actions have caused more harm to the bank. When you raise undue alarm with petitions and media trials, you are scaring away customers. The bank is the loser at the end of the day.”
He said further: “As a management staff of First Bank, from our books then, we knew how some executive directors used their positions to line their pockets, setting the bank back by millions of dollars and billions of naira.
“Although we did not hide our books from the regulatory authorities, we did not embark on petition writing to the Presidency or engage in media trials. We left the regulatory bodies to do their jobs. We couldn’t have engaged in such battles as the backlash would have had negative impact on our bank. I can only urge him to face the task of deploying strategic marketing initiatives to take the bank to the next level instead of this endless battle with the former management.”
Only last week, an online publication, THECAPITAL.NG published a detailed story of how the then Executive Director with First Bank and now Managing Director of Skye Bank, Tokunbo Abiru was unceremoniously sacked from First Bank due to his unprofessional and unethical conduct while he held sway at the First Bank.
The publication reported how Abiru allegedly granted a lot of nonperforming loans running into millions of dollars and billions of naira, aside from many infractions. The insinuation was strong that Mr Abiru benefitted enormously from the financial heist.
The former management staff of First Bank, while reacting to the story, retorted: “our own strategy at First Bank is in line with the Banking tradition globally: Take any infraction to the regulatory authority and not to the political authority or media trial. If we had embarked on such strategies in respect of the issues raised in the report, we would have ended up rubbishing our institution. The regulatory authorities are strong enough to take necessary actions without creating a crisis for the bank.”
“The present board under Abiru is adopting the worst crisis management technique in the history of Skye Bank and may not be able to take the bank out of the present problem, in spite of the unrestrained access to the low interest CBN largesse which is alleged being seriously misapplied.”
Reflecting further on appropriate measures to stabilize a bank facing challenges, he said: “first, my years in the management level of the biggest and oldest bank in the country has taught one that the class of customers you need to give all the support are those you have extended facilities to and have shown commitment to repayment. Don’t take hasty steps that will make payment difficult. It is neither in your interest nor in the interest of the customer.
“Second, the authorities should endeavor to constitute for banks, boards that are nonpolitical, boards that are not the lackeys of political god fathers but professional managers whose strategies are not influenced by partisan political considerations.”
On Skye Bank loans exposure, he quipped: “Banks are there to offer facilities. All banks including Skye offers facilities to customers that meet the requirements. Don’t forget the exposure you are talking even predated the birth of Skye. One of the legacy banks that eventually became Skye, Eko International Bank came to the merger with a debt overhang of over N8 billion in 2005. The exposure we are talking about did not happen in only two years of the immediate past Board. It took years to accumulate. What you need is to put right strategies in place to recover the loans, thereby increasing your capital adequacy.”

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