Few days after the bank was barred from participating in the Forex market, First Bank has issued a statement clarifying its position on the CBN ban.
Further to the media reports of the suspension of FirstBank — a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, among other banks, from foreign exchange transactions by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the non-remittance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) US$469 million, we wish to categorically state that there has been no concealment or unwillingness to remit funds as has been construed by media reports. All balances were duly reported and fully disclosed to the CBN.
‘FirstBank has been a major banker to the NNPC for many years, with deep relationships spanning the NNPC’s local and foreign currency businesses. The Bank has consistently met demands of its customers including NNPC at all times. The Bank has been engaging the NNPC and the CBN prior to this announcement on the need to retain the said balances domestically as part of measures to ameliorate challenges due to unavailability of foreign currency, customers’ inability to source foreign currency to fund trade finance obligations and ultimately to promote economic growth in the current difficult macroeconomic environment’.
‘FirstBank is currently in engagement with the CBN and this development will have no direct impact on customers’ relationship with the Bank, as we believe that normal foreign currency activities will be uninterrupted with the expectation of a formal CBN communication confirming resolution imminently. The Bank wishes to reassure all its stakeholders of its commitments, and remain confident in its ability to honour all obligations as and when due’.
‘The Bank continues to maintain a net positive balance with the CBN and hopeful of a quick and amicable resolution’.