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Withdrawal of Heritage Bank’s licence: Peter Obi seeks prompt payment to depositors

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Withdrawal of Heritage Bank's licence: Peter Obi seeks prompt payment to depositors

Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election has called for immediate action to protect customers who deposited funds in Heritage Bank, in order to maintain confidence in the banking system.

The former Anambra State governor was addressing the recent revocation of Heritage Bank’s operating license by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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.

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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.

Reacting to the development, Obi said, “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.

“Given the harsh economic realities in the country now, 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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

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