Home » Bank led by Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola recovers $305-million loan from failed bank

Bank led by Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola recovers $305-million loan from failed bank

by Timilehin Adejumobi
Femi Otedola

Key Points:

  • First Bank of Nigeria recovers $305 million loan from Heritage Bank before its license was revoked, preventing potential impairment charges.
  • CBN revokes Heritage Bank’s license amid financial distress, NDIC initiates liquidation, denies plans for further bank license revocations.
  • FBN Holdings, led by Femi Otedola, reports a 315.8% profit increase in Q1 2024, strengthening its position in Nigeria’s financial sector.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, the banking arm of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBN Holdings), a leading financial service group led by Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola, has successfully recovered a N456 billion ($305 million) loan from Heritage Bank just before the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked the license of the failed bank

Sources within First Bank confirmed that the CBN credited the tier-one bank prior to revoking Heritage Bank’s license. This preemptive action averted potential impairment charges for First Bank, which had been supporting Heritage Bank in clearing transactions for the past seven years.

First Bank’s financial statements for the first quarter ending March 2024 show balances with other banks at N688 billion ($460 million), down from N735 billion ($490 million) in December 2023. The recovered loan is expected to further strengthen this position.

CBN revokes Heritage Bank’s license, confirms system stability

Heritage Bank’s financial troubles began in 2019, prompting the CBN to intervene to prevent its collapse. Despite regulatory support, the bank’s financial health continued to decline, leading to the CBN’s decision to revoke its banking license on Monday, citing “continued financial distress and lack of recovery prospects.”

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has initiated the liquidation process, ensuring depositors with claims up to N5 million ($3,345) are protected. In response to recent rumors, the CBN has denied plans to revoke the licenses of three additional banks following its action against Heritage Bank. The apex bank assured the public that the Nigerian financial system remains strong and resilient.

FBN Holdings posts major profit jump

FBN Holdings, the parent company of First Bank, is chaired by Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola, who holds a significant stake in the financial services group. Since becoming a majority shareholder in October 2021, Otedola has played a key role in enhancing the group’s financial performance and valuation. The group operates across ten countries.

The loan recovery is expected to further bolster FBN Holdings’ financial position, with the group posting a profit of N208.2 billion ($149.7 million) in the first quarter of 2024, a significant increase of 315.8 percent compared to the N50.1 billion ($36 million) profit in Q1 2023.

Otedola’s leadership is solidifying FBN Holdings’ position in Nigeria’s financial sector. Total assets rose to N21.58 trillion ($15.51 billion) by March 31, 2024, from N16.94 trillion ($12.17 billion) on December 31, 2023, while retained earnings increased from N588.9 billion ($423.37 million) to N794.4 billion ($571.1 million).

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