• Shareholders say bank is healthy
Obinna Chima in Lagos and James Emejo in Abuja
The first full year results of Heritage Bank Plc since it commenced operation has shown that the bank recorded a profit before tax of N1.5 billion for the operating year ended 2015.
This was contained in the audited financial statement announced by the bank for 2015, which represents its first full operating year since its acquisition of former Enterprise Bank Plc in October 2014.
The financial statement showed that the bank recorded gross earnings of N24.2 billion in the year under review, while its net interest income stood at N12.2 billion and profit after tax of N1.1 billion.
During the year under review, Heritage Bank attracted N312 billion as deposit from customers.
Also, the bank’s loans and advances were N175 billion while its total assets stood at N483.4 billion in billion as at the end of 2015.
Commenting on the results, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, said: “This result is a testimony to the increased acceptability of Heritage Bank’s innovative products and services by the banking public. It is also a reward for the diligent commitment of the staff and management of the bank to our mission to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.
“In the 2016 operating year, our desire to reciprocate the patronage of our customers and goodwill from stakeholders has prompted us to introduce new and bespoke services driven by cutting edge technology designed to empower businesses and individuals with opportunities to achieve economic prosperity.
“The positive response to these efforts gives us assurance of improved financial performance in 2016 leading to enhanced returns to our investors.”
In October 2014, Heritage Bank acquired 100 per cent shareholding in Enterprise Bank Limited from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Heritage Investment Services Limited (HISL), the investment arm of Heritage Bank, was the winning bidder out of 24 Nigerian and international companies that competed for the acquisition of Enterprise Bank then.
Heritage Bank commenced operations in March 2013. The deposit money bank was formed from the defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria (SGBN) and was granted a regional banking licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
On commencement of business, its shareholding structure was 80 per cent core investor, nine per cent legacy bank, and 11 per cent of depositors’ fund.
Heritage Bank was recently selected by the CBN as its pilot partner to unveil, administer and manage the N3 billion Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP).
The programme is aimed at creating sustainable wealth and employment in the country with focus on dependable job creating sectors such as Agricultural Value Chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), Cottage Industry, Mining and Solid Minerals, Creative Industry (Tourism, Arts and Crafts), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Meanwhile, shareholders of the bank have debunked online media report that it could be distressed given that it is co-owned by the former Chairman of Skye Bank, Dr. Tunde Ayeni, and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Ayeni recently resigned from Skye Bank ahead of a CBN announcement replacing the management board over issues bordering on capital adequacy and non performing loans which had breached the prudential threshold.
However, the bank’s majority shareholders maintained that the financial institution was currently “one of the healthiest and fastest growing banks in the country” and frowned at the deliberate attempt by certain persons to use a section of the media to de-market the bank.
A leading shareholder of the bank, Alhaji Musa Ibrahim Misau ,said at the briefing in Abuja that investors were taken aback over the negative comments about the bank.
He said: “We are thoroughly miffed by the attempt by certain persons or groups, who do not mean well for the economy of our great country and indeed the economic agenda of our dear president, to negatively target Heritage Bank, a bank that the CBN and several local and internal rating agencies have ranked among the healthiest banks in Nigeria, as a struggling bank.
“This is most mischievous and totally out of order. It is a glaring case of de-marketing and we have since drawn the attention of the CBN to this very dangerous trend.”
He said the shareholder are particularly saddened by the deliberate falsehood being spread by the online news platform, that Heritage Bank is “co-owned” by Ayeni and Saraki.
According to him: “It is a lie that can only emanate from persons who do not wish the economy of Nigeria well. For your information, Ayeni has less than one per cent share in Heritage Bank and Bukola Saraki has no shares or any form of ownership stakes in Heritage Bank.”
He said: “It is not a secret that the owners and key shareholders in bank bought off the defunct Societe Generale Bank (SGBN) which was owned by the Saraki family. The Saraki family was out-rightly bought out. The family, including Saraki does not have a dime in Heritage Bank. We have in just a few years built this bank to a colossus that has become the envy of the sector and we are not going to sit by and allow ill-intentioned persons to de-market Heritage bank. No, it will not happen.”
Misau said: “It is so far from the truth. But you are all journalists and have access to the CBN; please go and get the facts, figures and data from the CBN. I cannot imagine how normal persons can conceive and concoct such evil. The fact that Ayeni is a very marginal shareholder in the bank does not at all mean that what happened at Skye Bank would necessarily happen at Heritage Bank.
“The two banks are not in any way related, the two banks do not have similar ownership structure or management model. Ayeni obviously has marginal shares in other healthy banks in Nigeria. Does that now mean that the CBN would sack the management and board of these banks as well? What is the basis of the claim by this online news medium that Heritage Bank is being targeted by CBN?”
However, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has already indicated that Heritage Bank may not be distressed after all when he noted that no other bank was presently known to be in the condition of Skye Bank, adding that all banks remained strong.
Heritage Bank, like any other bank, is learning to cope with the sudden decision of the federal government to domicile all public sector funds with the CBN under the Treasury Single Account (TSA) regime.
“Other than this sudden movement of all public sector funds to the CBN, Heritage Bank remains one of the healthiest and well managed banks in Nigeria. It’s internal mechanisms and control are so strong and we are not surprised that the bank has practically overcome the shock most banks suffered as result of the domiciliation of all public sectors funds with the CBN following the full implementation of the TSA regime by the Buhari administration,” a source at the CBN told THISDAY.