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Heritage Bank: After weeks of shutdown, NDIC yet to commence refund to customers

BY OUR REPORTERS

The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, is yet to begin the payment of depositors in Heritage Bank.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria on June 3, 2024, revoked the licence of the Heritage Bank due to the bank’s failure to improve its financial performance, posing a threat to financial stability.

According to a statement signed by the Acting Director of Corporate Communication, Sidi Ali, the CBN said, “This action has become necessary due to the bank’s breach of Section 12 (1) of BOFIA, 2020. The board and management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial stability.

“This follows a period during which the CBN engaged with the bank and prescribed various supervisory steps intended to stem the decline. Regrettably, the bank has continued to suffer and has no reasonable prospects of recovery, thereby, making the revocation of the license the next necessary step.”

Meanwhile, in its capacity as the liquidator of the bank, NDIC issued a statement signed by the Director, Communication & Public Affairs, Bashir Nuhu, on June 4, 2024, where it revealed that depositors of the bank will get up to N5m.

“Depositors of the bank that have an alternate account within the industry will be paid up to the insured amount of N5m per depositor using their Bank Verification Number to locate their alternate account. Depositors with funds in excess of N5m will be paid liquidation dividends upon realisation of the bank’s assets and recovery of debts owed to the bank.

“Verification and Payment of Depositors Without Alternate Bank Account:  All depositors of the defunct bank without alternate bank account in the industry are advised to visit the nearest branch of the bank with proof of account ownership, verifiable means of identification such as driver’s license, permanent voter’s card, National Identity Card, together with their alternate account and Bank Verification Number for the verification of their deposits and subsequent payment of insured sums or file an online claim on the NDIC website,” part of the NDIC statement read.

However, customers of the bank are yet to receive refund as of the time of filing this report, as the NDIC has also kept mum on the issue.

Speaking with one of the bank’s customers who identified himself as Chukwudi Nwabueze, he lamented the NDIC’s delay in payment to customers.

He told Allnews that, “The situation is really pathetic. 

“We were asked to fill a form in the bank for our funds to be verified about three weeks ago, but we are yet to receive any update from the bank or NDIC.

“I believe the agency is just trying to buy time for itself with all these tactics because customers are being urged to exercise patience, meanwhile we need our money.

“Now, the question is for how long do we keep waiting?

“I have also sent several mails to the bank, but I keep getting the same response to exercise patience”

Also speaking with Moruf, another Heritage Bank customer who lamented the NDIC’s delay in payment, he described the situation as tiring.

He said, “We were instructed not to fill any form at the bank provided we have another bank account, that the funds will be automatically sent to the other account we have.

“I have an account with Stanbic, and Union Bank, I refresh my balance every minutes, but up till this moment, I haven’t received anything yet since about three weeks now.

Meanwhile, as of the time of filing this report, all efforts to reach the NDIC proved abortive. Numbers called were all unreachable.

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