Welcome to Polaris Bank Limited, a security man at a branch on Admiralty way, Lekki Phase One tells me on Monday morning.
To explain further, he echoes what is already in the news -- that Skye Bank has had its name changed Polaris Bank Limited by the Central Bank of Nigeria. “Oga, every other thing na same, na just the name change,” he says in pidgin English to drive home his point.
Here are few things I noticed:
At Lekki Phase One
- The bank has a new logo, colour with the inscription, Polaris Bank Limited.
- Usual activities continue in the banking hall
- The bank's deposit slip still carries the old name – Skye Bank Plc - without any alteration.
- The ATMs still carry Skye Bank Plc
An elderly man walks in and asks the customer care representative about the revoking of the bank's licence. “Madam, a gbo npe e salo (I hear your bank is running away), what about our money?” he says. The bank's desk help replies, “No, we are still working, we only changed the name.”
At an Oniru branch close to Victoria Island, the bank still has the same logo and carries Skye Bank as its name.
- At the entrance, there is no sign or notification indicating the name change.
- The only clue is that there is a change going on at the bank on the alteration of the deposit slip, a pen scratch across the ‘Skye Bank’ logo.
CBN revokes Skye Bank Plc’s licence
Last Friday, Nigeria's central bank revoked the operating licence of ailing Skye Bank Plc and announced the takeover of the assets and liabilities of the bank by a bridge bank known as 'Polaris Bank Limited'.
The decision, CBN said, was the result of examinations and forensic audit of the bank which revealed that Skye Bank requires urgent recapitalisation as it can no longer continue to live on borrowed time with indefinite liquidity support.
In the meantime, the bank will operate through a bridge bank.
What is a bridge bank - Polaris Bank?
A bridge bank is an institution created by a national regulator or central bank to operate a failed bank until a buyer can be found for its operations.
The task of the bridge bank is to ensure seamless continuity of banking operations.
The CBN has injected N786 billion into the operations of the new bank.
Recall that in 2011, the Central Bank of Nigeria also revoked the licences of three banks – Afribank, Spring Bank and Bank PHB and established Mainstreet Bank Limited, Keystone Bank Limited and Enterprise Bank Limited as bridge banks in their place.