Mr. Bisi Onasanya, GMB, First Bank
By Goddy Egene
First Bank of Nigeria Plc will on September 24, seek the approval of its shareholders on the adoption of a holding company (HoldCo) structure in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s regulation that scrapped universal banking.
First Bank last week notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that it had received the appropriate regulatory approvals to create a holdco to be known as FBN Holdings, which will serve as the vehicle through which its shareholders will indirectly own its banking and non-banking businesses.
But the shareholders of the bank will have to give their final consent approval at a court-ordered meeting scheduled for Lagos on September 24. Apart from the endorsement by the shareholders, the NSE has, however, directed the First Bank to also seek the appropriate approvals from the exchange.
Before now, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had given its consent for the holdco structure.
The Chief Strategy Officer, First Bank, Mr. Onche Ugbabe, had recently said the bank would conclude the implementation of the process in the third quarter of this year.
Explaining how the holdco would work, the Group Managing Director of First Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, had said the holdco would be regulated by the CBN.
“First Bank will continue to focus on the core banking business and will retain FBN United Kingdom (UK), FBN Bureau de Change, First Pension Custodian and Banque Internationale de Credit as its subsidiaries. FBN Capital will be the primary vehicle of our investment banking and asset management business. First Registrars is in the process of being divested in compliance with the new regulation, while FBN Mortgages will divest its equity investments in real estate in accordance with CBN rules and the mortgage activities will be transferred to the bank,” he said.
According to him, shareholders would be exchanging First Bank shares for the same number of shares in the holdco, disclosing that the decision to form a Holdco had been part of plans by the bank, even before the CBN came up with the issue.