First Bank Plc too big to be owned by one person — CBN

Godwin Emefiele CBN Governor

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it would be guided by the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the ownership structure of FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank Plc.

First Bank majority stake recently became a subject of controversy among investors, following the announcement of a significant share acquisition by billionaire business mogul, Femi Otedola.

Commenting for the first time on the controversy,   the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while fielding questions at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, said that SEC, as the capital market regulator has the final decision on the ownership structure.

He said, “We have cleaned up the Balance Sheet of the bank. The NPL has dropped. People are now competing for the shares of First Bank.

Read Also:First bank names its new largest single shareholder

“Should I quarrel that people are now competing for the shares of First Bank which, six years ago was N2.00 and they were running away from it.   The last time I looked at it, last weekend, it was N 11. 55.

“I am happy that they are competing for the shares. But of course, we should all know that First bank is so big that no one person can say he owns First Bank.

“I have read the SEC clarifying the shareholding percentages and differences and indeed they are the people that are supposed to look at it.

“Our examiners were also opportune to look at it. I think we should take the SEC ‘s position because the SEC is the regulator of the capital market.

“We will take their position and they will give guidance on this subject.

“And of course as it affects the operation and the running of the bank we will ensure that the right things are done.”

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