Heritage Bank: NDIC Allays Fear, Vows To Recover N700Bn From Debtors

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has vowed to fully recover the sum of N700 billion from those indebted to the recently liquidated Heritage Bank.

Managing Director/Chief Executive, NDIC, Mr. Hassan Bello disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

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Mr. Bello announced that by virtue of Section 55 Sub-section 1 and 2 of the NDIC Act 2023, the NDIC has assumed the role of liquidator of the bank, adding that the bank has about 116 branches, and regional offices across the country.

The NDIC boss also disclosed that the Corporation has deployed close to 400 staff to all the locations so they could take charge of the assets and records of the bank.

He stated that preliminary assessment shows that the bank’s total deposits is N650 billion, while the loans are well above over N700billion, saying that the Corporation would recover the loans to engender confidence in the system.

“We believe, if we are able to recover these loans, no depositor is going to lose his or her money, even creditors I am sure they are going to be settled”, he added.

While reiterating the Corporation’s commitment to settlement of insured deposits, Mr. Bello disclosed that insured amount of N5 million would be paid per depositor using their Bank Verification Number (BVN) to locate their alternate account, while depositors with funds in excess of N5 million will be paid liquidation dividend upon realization of the bank’s assets and recovery of debts owed to the bank.

The MD disclosed the over 99 percent of the 2.3 million depositors who have N5 million and below in their accounts will be paid in full, while the about 4000 depositors who have above 5million in their accounts will be paid the maximum amount of N5million, until the bank’s assets are recovered and sold.

“All depositors or customers of the defunct bank without alternate bank account can visit the nearest branch of the bank to be verified by NDIC staff. If they are not able to do that, they can do it online by visiting the NDIC website, download and fill the claims forms and upload the required documentation.

“We going to pay the insured amount now. We are going to make this payment from the deposit insurance fund which was built over time, from premium they have been collecting from these insured institutions on an annual basis.

“Like I said, the maximum amount which has been reviewed this year is N5million per depositor, so if you have N10, we pay you N10, if you have N100, we pay you N100, and if you have N5million, we pay you N5million. However, if you have N10million, we pay you N5million now because that is the maximum insured amount.

“After this, the next process is for us to realise all the assets, both physical and the loans that the bank granted while in operation. When we realise those assets, we are going to declare liquidation dividend. That is what we are going to pay to uninsured portion of the deposits. When we finish with the depositors, we are hoping to move to creditors if there are surplus proceeds from the realisation of those assets”, he said.

On timeframe for recovery of the assets, he said, it would be difficult to give a particular timeframe considering that the banks’ assets would be advertised and sold.

However, he said, “I can assure you that the payment is going to commence this week with the insured amount, all those depositors with N2million. we will make sure we pay them; we will start the process of realising the assets so that we can also pay the liquidation dividend”.

He assured that this time around is going to be different, acknowledging that “before now, one of the greatest challenges NDIC faces is that of recovery because of insufficient legal framework that empowers the Corporation to be able to recover the loans that were granted by banks in liquidation.

“We must thank the Legislature for passing the NDIC Act 2023. It has sufficiently empowered the NDIC to be able to recover these debts that were granted by banks in liquidation. We are going to leverage the power to be able to recover as much as possible.

“We are starting this process as quick as possible because there is really no time to waste, because the depositors are waiting to realise their deposits. We believe by doing so will go a long way in engendering confidence in the system, thereby promoting stability”, he noted.

On the staff of the banks, he said, because the bank is in liquidation, they have lost their jobs.

He, however, noted that the liquidation of the bank was not politically motivated, but purely a regulatory action taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the NDIC.

While assuring the entire banking public of its commitment to the continued safety of depositors’ funds in all licensed banks, the Corporation urged the depositors to continue their banking businesses without fear as banks whose licenses have not been revoked remain safe and sound.

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