There is palpable fear in the Banking sector as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over flouting of orders revolving around the publication of their Financial statements as required by regulations. It was gathered that no fewer than eight Banks are under scrutiny.
The CBN had warned Chairmen of Banks who fail to publish their Financial reports as at when due will face sanctions, and even removal depending on how long the delay was found to be, baring other parameters. Some banks, it was gathered, have even delayed the publication of their for upwards of twelve months. At the last count, at least nine banks may have been under scrutiny by the apex bank . The list includes Diamond Bank, Union Bank, Sky Bank, Heritage bank, Keystone Bank, Providus and Suntrust Bank. The Banks and Other financial Institutions Act, BOFIA, have placed an April deadline for all Banks to have tidied up their Bank statements, a clear four months from the end of the last financial year. It was gathered that some banks were in default of the regulation for several months. Sky Bank, for example, defaulted by over two years.
Sky bank last posted audited accounts in 2016.
Sky Bank management claimed to have sent request to the CBN to agree to terms of extension of their guarantee for another year, citing the peculiarity of their own case. It is not clear the current position of the Apex Bank on the request, but it hs thrown doubts into the willingness of CBN to pursue the sanctions with vigor. The need to protect consumers and the backlash from the case of insolvency that resulted in the Bank management being sacked and a new management, instituted that was expected to do a turnaround. But it appears the turnaround is facing obstacles. Since the new Board took over, they have not published any statement.
Diamond Bank, on its own, has kept shifting the goal post, and were forced to go to the Floor of the sock exchange to make a promise that the account will be ready April 30, though they put the cause of the delay on the doorsteps of the CBN.. They did not keep the deadline. Both Diamond and Sky are publicly quoted banks.
Defaulting Banks may be barred from the meeting of Bankers’ committee. The rest have not published their full year audited statement for 2017.
Banks have been plying hide and seek with the CBN regulations. Some Banks were known to publish their accounts in Newspapers as required by law but deliberately make it too tiny for investors to read, and take their AGM to as far away as Zamfara state to minimize attendance. Sanctions may send panic into the market, so the CBN is being circumspect in view of the skepticisms that the financial sector is held. Already so many investors are divesting for fear of another Banking crisis, which pundits believe that the alleged non transparency in the sector may breed.