Home Economy SIB Bank Goes Bankrupt? …CBL Tight-Lipped

SIB Bank Goes Bankrupt? …CBL Tight-Lipped

by newsmanager

By Our Staff Writer

MONROVIA: Investigation conducted by The ‘Investigative’ INDEPENDENT Newspaper established that Sapelle International Bank Liberia Limited (SIBLL), formerly GN-Bank Liberia Limited (GNBLL), has sought rescue support from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), aimed at avoiding possible bankruptcy.

SIBLL is said to be faced with significant financial challenges that have severely impacted its operations, sources familiar with the bank’s operation said.

The challenges faced by SIBLL are believed to have originated from legacy loans and deposits it embraced from the defunct First International Bank Liberia Limited, under a Purchase & Assumption Agreement, signed by CBL and Groupe Ndoum.

In its plea with the CBL for rescue support, SIBLL allegedly disclosed that it assumed a loan of US$6.5 million and assets estimated at US$913,809.36, along with liabilities, amounting to US$402,950.

The bank, once valued at US$18.5 million, now faces a US$14.4 million liability in legacy deposits, pushing it towards insolvency.

Since 2024, highly placed sources said, the bank raised “substantial doubts” about its ability to continue operations due to declining service efficiency, including issues with e-banking.

Depositors of the bank have been allegedly complaining about transactions occurring without proper banking notifications.

Some customers confided into this paper that the SIBLL’s e-banking system has immensely declined to the level wherein e-banking notifications take more than a week in recent times, or can’t reach customers at all.

As part of its investigation of SIB Bank’s alleged financial crisis, The ‘Investigative’ INDEPENDENT newspaper contacted the Mr. Joe Amin, said to be the Managing Director of the bank via a mobile phone for comment regarding the bank’s alleged rescue support request it made to the CBL.

However, Mr. Amin did not respond to this paper on the matter up to press time yesterday.

For its part, CBL remains tight-lipped when contacted to respond to inquiry by this paper on the matter relating to the alleged bankruptcy issues involving SI Bank.

However, documents seen by this paper indicates that SIBLL approached the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), narrating that its current financial conditions threaten its operational viability and craves CBL’s timely intervention.

Highly placed and unimpeachable sources revealed that in a bid to rescue the SIBLL Bank, CBL Board of Governors crafted a Resolution, signed on May 17, 2024, by all five of the Board members including CBL Executive Governor, J. Aloysius Tarlue.

Among other things, the CBL Board of Governors Resolution noted that “Both the financial and non-financial costs of the bank’s failure and/or liquidation could be costly and enormous.”
SI Bank, originally known as First International Bank Limited, went bankrupt during the erstwhile administration of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

It was subsequently transformed into GN-Bank Liberia Limited before facing similar financial troubles.

Now, SIBLL is in a precarious situation. GNBLL/SIBLL is backed by West Africans investors.

The Bank of Ghana recently defended its decision to revoke GN Bank’s license in 2019, citing significant regulatory breaches.

The Bank of Ghana maintained that GN Bank failed to adhere to critical financial regulations and banking standards, jeopardizing its operational stability.
The Bank of Ghana’s decision followed demands by GN Bank’s management to restore its license.

By Referencing an August 2019 statement, the Central Bank of Liberia explained that GN Bank fell short of capital adequacy, liquidity, governance, and risk management requirements.

GN Bank consistently failed to meet minimum capital requirements, raising concerns about its ability to absorb losses and protect depositors.

It also struggled with liquidity management, affecting its capacity to meet withdrawal demands from customers, according to informed sources in the banking sectors of the two countries.

Further, deficiencies in GN Bank’s governance structure and risk management practices contributed to operational inefficiencies and heightened risk exposure.

For instance, GN Bank suspended operations at seventy branches, including its head office and temporarily suspended its entire management team without the Bank of Ghana’s approval, contrary to section 25 (2) of the Banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).
As a result, the Bank of Ghana revoked GN Bank’s license, deeming it a necessary step to safeguard the financial system and protect depositors.

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