CBN: BANKING SECTOR REFORM
Category :PUBLIC AFFAIRS
In 2009, the Central Bank of Nigeria, acting on the report of the joint committee established by it and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation to examine the operations of the 24 banks, suspended the board and management of the eight indicted banks, and appointed new management teams to man them until they were fully recapitalised. Managers and owners of the banks, who saw the CBN action as high-handed, illegal and insensitive, challenged the decision in courts of law as well as courts of public opinion. These people not only attacked the policy but also the person of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the CBN Governor. Employees, shareholders and other key stakeholders felt confused, at risk and abandoned in light of the sackings and the subsequent misinformation campaign by the accused parties to win public support.
C&F Porter Novelli’s task was to inform the major stakeholders of the real situation in these banks and the danger it portended for the banking sub-sector in the country; counter inaccurate information; set the record straight; and explain the wider implications of the recapitalisation process. Finally, provide ground intelligence to help nip issues in the bud before they become full-blown.
We engaged the relevant stakeholder groups, sought and got their perceptions of the recapitalisation process as well as the governor. C&F Porter Novelli then educated these stakeholders of the realities on ground and what these realities meant for the banking sector in particular and the economy in general if not for the CBN’s intervention. Armed with the right information, these stakeholders were able to look beyond the misinformation peddled by the former managers of these banks to become advocates of the CBN intervention. Their advocacy complemented the CBN’s efforts in selling the recapitalisation programme.
On the media front, we engaged editors and business editors of all the national and business newspapers to promote understanding of the issues and assist with third-party advocacy. Periodic meets and constant flow of information ensured that they were up-to-date with the fast changing events as they unfolded. C&F Porter Novelli facilitated the editors’ access to relevant economic and financial experts that shed light on the benefits of the recapitalisation process.
CBN succeeded in garnering enough support from the critical stakeholder groups that made the recapitalisation programme a success. We changed the media perception and reportage from all negatives to more positive and almost all-positive with four and six weeks of campaign respectively. Our stakeholder management approach that turned the stakeholders to advocates did the magic of convincing the initially hostile groups (employee associations and shareholders) into supporting and ratifying the mergers.