Heritage Bank, led by Akinola George-Taylor, a prominent Nigerian lending institution, finds itself in the midst of a severe crisis that threatens its very existence. Reports suggest that the bank is facing numerous challenges, including a boardroom crisis and dissatisfied customers due to poor services. Additionally, the bank’s compliance with capital adequacy and liquidity ratios is a concern. Recent developments indicate that the former Managing Director, Ifie Sekibo, and his loyalists have been marginalized by the current leadership, and allegations have emerged regarding the Head of IT, Rilwan Dabiri, diverting N49 billion into separate accounts.

Boardroom Crisis and Marginalization of Ifie Sekibo’s Loyalists

After Ifie Sekibo’s departure as the Managing Director, Akinola George-Taylor assumed leadership at Heritage Bank. However, it seems that the transition has been marred by internal conflicts. Reports suggest that George-Taylor, in collaboration with certain board members, has sought to sideline individuals perceived as loyal to Sekibo. Numerous internal crises have ensued, leading to the dismissal of several employees, including Rilwan Dabiri, the Head of IT. The motives behind these actions appear to be George-Taylor’s desire to consolidate power and surround himself with his own team.

Fraudulent Activities of the Head of IT

Upon Rilwan Dabiri’s exit from Heritage Bank, he handed over the responsibilities of the IT department to his successor, Akin. However, it has come to light that Akin engaged in serious insider fraud. Taking advantage of his sole access to the Finacle Financial Solution platform, which facilitates online fund transfers, he initiated unauthorized transfers of approximately N49 billion into six separate accounts across various commercial banks in Nigeria.

The fraudulent activities were exposed during an internal audit prompted by George-Taylor. It was revealed that Akin had operated these private accounts secretly, without the knowledge of the bank’s management. When confronted, Akin managed to disclose details of only one of the six accounts before disappearing and switching off his phones. The bank’s management is hesitant to involve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for fear of further damaging the bank’s reputation.

Challenges Faced by Heritage Bank

In addition to the boardroom crisis and fraudulent activities, Heritage Bank grapples with various challenges that jeopardize its survival. Poor customer service has become a recurring complaint among customers, leading some to consider closing their accounts. Long waiting times and unsatisfactory interactions with bank staff have become commonplace. These issues undermine the bank’s reputation and customer loyalty.

Furthermore, the bank’s compliance with regulatory requirements, specifically the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Liquidity Ratio (LR), is a growing concern. Failing to meet these ratios may result in penalties from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and further exacerbate the bank’s financial instability.

Heritage Bank, under the leadership of Akinola George-Taylor, finds itself embroiled in a deepening crisis. Internal conflicts and the marginalization of loyalists to the former Managing Director have created a turbulent boardroom environment. Additionally, the fraudulent actions of the Head of IT, who diverted N49 billion into private accounts, further undermine the bank’s stability.

The challenges faced by Heritage Bank extend beyond internal conflicts. Dissatisfied customers, due to poor service, threaten the bank’s customer base, and non-compliance with regulatory ratios adds to its financial woes. The management’s reluctance to involve law enforcement agencies has raised concerns about accountability and potential consequences for the bank.

It remains to be seen how Heritage Bank, under Akinola George-Taylor’s leadership, will navigate these troubled waters. However, urgent measures are required to restore customer trust, address internal conflicts, ensure regulatory compliance, and hold individuals accountable for fraudulent activities.