Banking & Finance
Polaris Bank Negative Outlook Reveals Bank Stands Over Pilling Of Unpaid Staff Salaries
Polaris Bank has shown signs of a sinking brand over unpaid staff salaries amidst fraudulent sale controversies surrounding the Nigerian commercial bank.
BrandNewsDay reports that the crisis rocking Polaris Bank appears to be unending even as the controversy surrounding its controversial sale continues to generate fears among customers and investors
This online newspaper understands that many concerned citizens are already pressuring and calling on the incoming government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reverse the sale of Polaris Bank upon assuming office to reverse the fraudulent sale of the bank.
The controversial sale which is orchestrated in an alleged connivance with top echelons of the Central Bank of Nigeria is one that calls for proper questioning as analysts insist that indeed something is fishy.
The controversial sale of Polaris Bank, what you need to Know
In October 2022, the CBN sold Polaris Bank for a paltry N40 billion under controversial circumstances, after sinking over N1.2 trillion into it. Predictably, it triggered a wave of allegations: lawmakers, trade unions, and other opponents of the deal all cried foul. It was gathered that the apex bank sold the bank to Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL), said to be promoted by Auwal Lawan Abdullahi, a son-in-law of Ibrahim Babangida who holds the Sarkin Sudan Gombe traditional title from the north-eastern state, despite his limited credentials in banking and finance.
The sale meant that Nigerian taxpayers lost around 97 per cent of state investment in Polaris. As of December 2020, AMCON’s investment in the bank stood at N848 billion, per company filings, with insiders saying an additional N350 billion was poured in between January 2021 and July 2022.
As the crisis continues to bedevil the bank, some customers of the bank especially small and medium enterprises are reportedly taking their money out to safer banks over fear of imminent distress.
According to inside sources in the bank, lately the bank has lost some customers (depositors) who are edgy about their deposits and have lost trust in the bank because of huge job losses and unethical industrial practices currently going on in the bank.
Investigations by this newspaper revealed that for the second month, over 100 branch managers of the bank are placed on suspension without pay for having a non-performing loan ratio above 5%.
However, it was gathered that these loans were duly approved and interest earned by the bank. Some of the managers told our correspondent that they did not book most of the loans but the loans were referred and booked by other senior staff who are walking about freely.
According to Labour laws, suspension of a worker without pay should not exceed two weeks but the bank initially issued letters of suspension for 30 days. After the expiration, the suspension without pay continued for another two months without further advice to the staff.
Sources within the bank told this newspaper that management also insisted that staff on suspension must come to work daily and are drilled for a performance review on a daily basis with the managing director presiding over the weekly meetings which last late into the night.
Industry watchers insisted that the move by the management of the bank showed that all is not well within the system and the managers may have been victims of scapegoats due to imminent distress in the system.
It was further gathered that some aggrieved staff of the bank has sued the bank before the National Industrial Court in Lagos and Abuja. Some of the aggrieved staff have also declared a mass protest against the bank on Tuesday next week.
Our investigations revealed that because of the obvious signs of distress in the bank, a number of individuals and SMEs have closed their accounts with the bank and moved their deposits to safer banks.
As at the time of filing this report, some aggrieved staff of the bank numbering over a hundred, who are now determined to cripple nationwide activities of the bank from next week have brought it before the National Industrial Court in Lagos and Abuja. Some of the aggrieved staff have also declared a mass protest against the bank next week.
Polaris Bank’s Head of Corporate Communications Rasheed Bolarinwa did not respond when official reactions were sought for on Friday evening.