AMCON hands over Keystone Bank to new investors

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PHILIP IKEAZOR, KEYSTONE BANK MD

…as fear of sack grips workers

 

 

Effective Friday 24th March 2017, the new investors took control of Keystone Bank and are set to reposition the bank on a growth path with immediate effect.

This follows the announcement by the Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) earlier in the week that the Sigma Golf-Riverbank consortium had acquired Keystone Bank Limited. The Completion Meeting according to a statement from Keystone Bank, was held on Thursday, 23rd March 2017 with representatives of Sigma Golf-Riverbank consortium (the Buyer), AMCON (the Seller), Board and Management of Keystone Bank, as well as the advisers to the Buyer (KPMG Professional Services, Boston Advisory Services, Giwa Osagie & Co., Pan-African Capital Limited) and the Seller (FBN Capital Limited, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Banwo & Ighodalo, CrosswrockLaw).

The Completion Meeting signified the effective hand-over of the Bank to the Buyer and the commencement of a transition process that will culminate in the reconstitution of the Board and Management of the Bank to reflect the new ownership.

But one nagging issue remains the fate of the workers who are now living in fears that they may be asked to go by the new owners.

Findings show that some of the workers are already on the lookout for another job. a member of staff of the bank who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that some of the employees who do not want to be without job suddenly have started to look for jobs since the announcement was made. “I have submitted my CV to a couple of banks and I hope to secure a job with any of them,” he disclosed.

Keystone Bank was taken over by AMCON in 2011 and has been managed by the AMCON appointed Board and Management that stabilized the bank over the years to make it attractive as a potential target for eventual acquisition by the new investors, who are said to have emerged as preferred bidders after a very transparent and competitive bidding process.

A statement from the bank said the emergence of the Sigma Golf-Riverbank consortium will bring a new lease of life with the expected injection of fresh capital that would position the bank to play competitively in the banking industry and actualize its full potentials. “In moving the bank forward as a major player in the industry, the new investors will be backed up by a pool of reputable professionals both currently within the bank and across the industry. Keystone Bank therefore assures all its stakeholders that the transition process will reposition the bank to serve its customers better, creating enhanced value for all stakeholders,” the statement said.

Controversies have trailed the sale of Keystone Bank, previously known as Bank PHB. The bank is the biggest of the three banks nationalised by the CBN in 2011, after failing a stress test conducted by the apex bank.

When the other two nationalized banks, Mainstreet Bank and Enterprise Bank were sold, Keystone Bank could not be sold following allegations that AMCON was believed to be acting in breach of extant takeover provisions. It was also alleged that AMCON, had then concluded plans to hand over Keystone Bank to a coalition of powerful Northern interests, while disregarding extant takeover provisions of AMCON in the process.

Last week, AMCON announced it has sold the Bank to some unknown local investors at undisclosed amount.

 

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