Reaping the Benefits of Banking Consolidation

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James Roland

One of the enduring legacies of the banking consolidation exercise of 2004/2005 is the emergence of very strong, well-capitalised and robust Nigerian banking industry, hitherto weak and undercapitalised. Twenty five healthy banks emerged from the exercise and there have been occasional mergers and acquisitions in the industry ever since. One of the major banks that emerged from the exercise was Skye Bank Plc, a modern and customer service-oriented bank with branches spread across the country.

Skye Bank Plc is one of Nigeria’s largest banks providing financial services, using cutting-edge technology, to meet the needs of customers in different segments. A top-tier Nigerian lender, Skye Bank recently rolled out the drums to celebrate its 10 years of existence, its customers and employees.

The bank is a product of the merger of five legacy banks as a result of the banking industry consolidation and recapitalisation exercise of 2005. The legacy banks were Prudent Bank Plc, EIB International Plc, Bond Bank Limited, Reliance Bank Limited and Co-operative Bank Plc.

Following the merger and the seamless integration of the disparate resources, personnel, IT infrastructure, culture and procedures, the bank has since grown into a formidable financial institution showing strong growth and profitability and providing unique financial solutions to a wide customer base both in Nigeria and in the three West African subsidiaries of Sierra Leone, Gambia and Guinea.

From a modest beginning in 2006, with total assets of N174.19 billion and shareholders’ funds of N26.08 billion, Skye Bank now has total assets in excess of N1.4 trillion and shareholders’ funds of over N140 billion. The bank has also grown from one with a couple of branches only in Nigeria, to one with over 400 branches and three banking subsidiaries in West Africa, located in Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Guinea in line with its strategy of seeking the most efficient avenues for creating value.

From a very lowly rank 23 out of 25 banks (in terms of size) at the time Nigerian commercial banks executed the consolidation exercise in 2006, Skye Bank has grown to become one of the eight strategically important banks in Nigeria with proven expertise in diverse segments of the economy, and a head-start in many profitable sectors of the economy, which clearly affirms its market leadership and brand awareness.

In 2014, in a quest to provide better customer experience, Skye Bank won the bid to acquire 100 per cent ownership stake of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in Mainstreet Bank Limited, a deal which made Skye Bank one of the top four banks in Nigeria with branch network of over 400 and close to 900 Automated Teller Machines spread across the country.
Speaking on the milestone, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Mr. Timothy Oguntayo, said the bank had in its decade of integration and existence, recorded notable achievements and received awards, accolades and recognition at home and abroad.

Specifically, Oguntayo enthused that the bank now boasts a robust and cutting edge technology and an electronic payment channel acclaimed as among the best in the industry. The bank, he said, had supported many start-ups and nurtured their growth from infancy to publicly quoted companies in addition to several companies it provides funding and facilities for.
Oguntayo noted that the expanded branch network would enable the bank to provide convenience and proximity banking to its retail, SME and commercial banking customers, areas where the bank wants to focus.

As a proof of its status as one of the top market leaders, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) named Skye Bank and seven others as the Eight Systemically Important Banks (SIBs) in the country. By this recognition, which came about on account of its considerable market share, Skye Bank has become one of the market leaders that cannot fail.

In demonstration of its continued commitment to offer its customers and stakeholders enhanced satisfaction in a more stable and secure environment, Skye Bank attained three International Standard Organisation (ISO) certifications by the British Standard Institution. The three integrated management systems certifications are the Information Security Management System ISO/IEC 27001:2013, IT Service Management System ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 and Business Continuity Management System, ISO 22301:2012.

ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is the most rigorous global security standard for information security. Ultimately ISO 27001 provides a high level of confidence and trust in organisations that are certified to it. It confirms that an organisation has put in place best practices for information security processes and has ensured data integrity, confidentiality and most of all customer asset safety. By obtaining certification to ISO 27001, Skye Bank gains a competitive advantage.

ISO 20000-1 puts in place controls to measure and maintain consistent levels of IT services, through the integration of people, processes and technology to support business and customer objectives. It acknowledges a high level of efficiency in IT service provision and an ability to continuously improve the delivery of IT services.

ISO 22301 allows organisations to identify potential threats and unexpected disruptions. With ISO 22301, organisations will not only significantly reduce the risks to their businesses, but will also help achieve operational resilience.
Skye Bank is quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with over 450,000 diverse shareholders with a shareholding structure that puts no more than 5 per cent in the control of any one individual or company.

In recognition of its excellent contribution to the economy and the communities in which it operates, Skye Bank has won several awards in several fields and activities. They include the ‘Best Merger and Acquisition Deal of the Year 2015’ from the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry on account the acquisition of Mainstreet Bank; The ‘Best Manufacturing Supporting Bank’ by BusinessDay Newspaper in 2013; ‘Best Mobile Money Activation Bank in conjunction with ChamsMobile.

Others are the prestigious ‘Industry Leadership Award’ from the Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM) as the “Most Customer-friendly Bank” in the financial services industry. Skye Bank’s consolidation of its operations in 2005 was also recognised by Vanguard Newspaper as the “Best Seamless Consolidation Bank” in the Nigerian banking industry while the process earned the THISDAY Newspaper awards as the “Best Bank in Mergers, Acquisitions and Consolidation.”

In early 2006, the bank was adjudged by M2 Magazine, a specialised marketing management publication, as having the “Most effective and efficient ATM” in the banking industry. The magazine hinged its decision on the reliance of SkyeBank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at various locations during the seven-day public holiday within the period. Additionally, Skye Bank won the prestigious Nigeria Telecoms Awards as the best bank in e-banking in 2007.

• Roland, a financial analyst writes from Lagos