By Babajide Komolafe
Managing DirectorÂ of Oceanic Bank International Plc, Mr. John Aboh, has said that the bank would continue to lend and support the development of infrastructuralÂ projects across the country. He alsoÂ assured customers of the bank of the safety of their deposits, saying the bank is safe and sound.
In a press conference held in his office over the weekend, the new bank chief said that Oceanic Bank isÂ known for project finance and it would continue to do so.
â€œWe would continue to lend to customers that meet the bankâ€™s safe and security criteria. In fact, with the funds injected by the CBN, we are better placed to support projects more than before. The funds we received is to be used to run the bank and there is no restriction on the use.
â€œWe are not sent as undertakers to the bank. We sent to run and grow the bank. Our mandate is to run the bank in a safe and sound manner while observing the rules and regulations and nurture the bank to a higher level of viability.â€
He said the bank remains strong as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected a fresh fund of N100bn into it to shore up its liquidity level. The apex bankâ€™s intervention, according to him, was meant to address a noticed liquidity gap.
â€œThe new fund is to address the liquidity gap in the bank and also ensure that the bank meets all its financial obligations. The intervention is targeted at stabilizing the bank by easing the existing liquidity constraints, embark on aggressive loan recovery and grow the business.â€
With an assurance that the apex bank meant well for the financial institutions and the banking populace, Aboh said the new team in Oceanic Bank did not come in as an undertaker but to effectively grow the business.
Commenting on the proposed Annual General Meeting scheduled for August 20, Aboh said the issue will be discussed at the Board meeting, to be held on Tuesday.
While debunking claims that the entire board of the bank has been dissolved, he said new executive directors will be appointed by the apex bank to run the affairs of the bank anytime from now.
According to him; â€œthe Board of the bank is not dissolved, as all non-Executive Directors still remain in office. Therefore, there is no need to panicâ€ he further assured.
The CBN had effected a change of guard in the management of five of the banks after a meeting with the banksâ€™ Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers on the state of the industry.
Oceanic Bank, for the first six months of operations in the current financial year, posted gross earnings of N92.8bn, as against N66.5bn realized in the corresponding period of 2008. The bank recorded 40 per cent growth in the earnings portfolio.
While the bank made N16.6bn profit before tax, its profit after tax stood at N14.4bn.
It would be recalled that the bankâ€™s gross earnings for the year ended December 30, 2008, hit N188.22bn, a 152 per cent growth or N113.28bn over N74.94bn posted at the preceding full financial year. The bankâ€™s assets base also recorded tremendous growth to N1.26trn from N1.01trn of the preceding year.