Skye Bank: What We Saw When We Visited New Polaris Bank
In 2005, Prudent Bank Plc, EIB International Plc, Bond Bank Limited, Reliance Bank Limited and Co-operative Bank Plc merged to become Skye Bank.
But on Friday, September 21, 2018, 13 years after, the sunset on Skye bank as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN revoked its operating licence.
By that move, Skye bank has completely ceased to exist and now operates under a new name, Polaris bank, which is a bridge bank created by the regulator, CBN to assume ownership.
The expected changes take effect from today, Wednesday 24th September.
Bounce news visited some of the defunct Skye bank branches in Ikeja to see how customers and workers are reacting to the change.
The most visible change noticed in the bank is the brand replacement that has started taking place.
For instance, at the Oregun branch of the bank, all the logos of the defunct Skye bank had been removed. From the sign at the gate to the imprints on the tellers, the Skye bank identifiers have been removed.
As a matter of fact, the bold sign which identified the bank had been removed such that it would be difficult to identify the bank unless one had known it before.
The withdrawal/deposit teller is now a printed form with the name, Polaris Bank.
Other changes already visible in the bank include the website. The Skye Bank URL now redirects to www.polarisbanklimited.com. All their social media handles have also changed to reflect the new identity.
Meanwhile, there was calm in the bank, as workers went about their regular routines. Customers who visited conducted their regular banking transactions and left.
Skye bank’s troubles were brought to the public domain by the CBN, which on 4th July 2016 took regulatory action on the bank.
This action led to the resignation of the Chairman, all Non-Executive Directors on the Board as well as the Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director, and the two longest-serving Executive Directors on the Management Team.
Analysts say the bank was a victim of bad debt resulting from the crash in the global oil prices.
They argue that most of the loans granted by the bank were insider loans which didn't pass through the minimum Risk Assessment and Acceptance Criteria and which of course eventually failed with the severe dip in oil prices around 2015.
The bank, he noted, had been dragging along near death for many years before the apex bank’s intervention came along.