Peter Obi urges prompt payment to Heritage Bank depositors

Addressing the recent revocation of Heritage Bank’s operating license by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the 2023 Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, called for immediate action to protect depositors and maintain confidence in the banking system.


In a statement via X on Monday, Obi acknowledged the regulators’ affirmation that the revocation was necessary to enhance financial stability but emphasised the far-reaching impact it will have on Heritage Bank’s depositors.


“The latest CBN’s revocation order on Heritage Bank’s operating license and subsequent appointment of NDIC as liquidator of its assets though affirmed by the regulators as necessary at this point to enhance financial stability, has a far-reaching impact on the bank’s depositors,” he stated.


Citing the harsh economic realities facing the country, Obi urged the Federal Government, through the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, to ensure the immediate payment of all depositors in full.


“I will urge the federal government via NDIC to ensure immediate payment of all depositors in Heritage Bank in full to help alleviate the prevailing hardship the people are going through in the country,” he said.


Obi highlighted the plight of individual savers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who are already grappling with severe economic hardships and depend on their savings in the now-liquidated bank for survival.


“Many individual savers and SMEs are already groaning under severe negative effects of the economy and already living in abject poverty. These depositors depend on the savings they have in the now-liquidated bank to survive,” he added.


Obi warned that any attempt to deny or delay payment to these depositors could worsen their economic woes and lead to a crisis of confidence in the banking system.


 “Any attempt to deny or delay payment to these depositors would worsen their economic woes and could lead to a crisis of confidence in the banking system,” he cautioned.


Emphasising the state of the nation’s economy, Obi stressed the importance of maintaining public trust in the financial system.


“Anything short of immediate and full payment can create panic in the banking sector which our already fragile economy cannot afford. On no account should the actions of government through the CBN destabilize the financial system or shake public confidence in the integrity of the system,” he asserted.


On Monday, the CBN revoked the banking licence of Heritage Bank Plc, effective immediately.


This decision was made due to the bank’s failure to improve its financial performance, posing a threat to financial stability. The apex bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communication Department, Sidi Ali, disclosed this in a statement.


Consequently, the NDIC said it has commenced the liquidation of Heritage Bank Plc.


NDIC assured all that it would pay depositors of the failed bank N5 million insured deposits.


The corporation’s Director of Communication and Public Affairs, Bashir Nuhu in a statement on Monday, said the liquidation is in accordance with Section 55 Sub-sections 1 & 2 of the NDIC Act 2023.

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