June 12, 2009

Bank PHB, Spring Bank merge

By Babajide Komolafe
Bank PHB and Spring Bank have commenced the process of merging into one institution that would be one of the top banks in the country.

It would be recalled that Bank PHB acquired Spring Bank last year following regulatory approval and thereafter appointed a new board and management to run the affairs of the bank.

The acquisition was part of Bank PHB’s bid to become one of the leading banks in the country.

Investigations revealed that the bank had quietly began the process of merging the two banks.

Vanguard reliably gathered that the process began with the redeployment of staff between the two banks at Head Department and senior management position levels.

This, it was gathered, is in a bid to facilitate integration of the processes and procedure of the two banks ahead of full integration.

Although an official insisted that the deployment of staff does not mean that the banks had commenced integration.

Vanguard investigations, however, revealed that the redeployed Bank PHB staff have been replacing the processes of Spring Bank with that of the bank, and staff of both banks have been attending courses together as well as running some operations together.

It was gathered that the banks’ decision to be quite about the integration process is to ensure that the process was free of distractions and other factors that might come to play and disturb the process or elongate it.

Also, it was gathered that the management of Bank PHB wanted the two banks to start running as one such that the merger announcement would be a mere formality.

The merger of the two banks is expected to reshape the top five bank configuration.

The merger would produce a bank with a branch network of over 500 and balance sheet well in excess of N1 trillion.

Bank PHB and Spring Bank were products of the banking consolidation.

While Spring Bank was formed from the merger of ACB International Bank Plc, Citizens International Bank Plc, Fountain Trust Bank Plc, Guardian Express Bank Plc, Omega Bank Plc, and Trans International Bank Plc, Bank PHB was formed by the merger of Platinum Bank and Habbib Bank.

However, shortly after the consolidation, a boardroom crisis engulfed Spring Bank which led to the sacking of its board by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the appointment of an interim board led by a former Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Malam Suleyman Ndanusa.