September 24, 2009

Michael Jackson vs. Britney Spears: Pop Go the Singles!

Michael Jackson, Britney Spears Get ready for two new singles from two—like it or not, Britney haters—pop icons: One whose recording career hasn't exactly been showing signs of life lately and the other whose, well, life hasn't exactly been showing signs of life lately.

That's right, just in case a feature-length documentary, unrelenting media coverage (you're welcome?) and a tribute milkshake weren't enough to slake the public's thirst for the King of Pop, Sony Music Entertainment today announced it will be releasing Michael Jackson's first posthumous single, "This Is It," Oct. 12.

We're guessing if sales go as hoped, this definitely won't be it...

Little is being revealed about the track, including when or where it was recorded, though Jackson had seemingly spent the last few years perpetually prepping for a comeback, with and Akon among his confirmed in-studio collaborators.

And as with all things Jackson, the new single will be a family affair.

Jackson's brothers provided the background vocals on the song, which will play over the closing credits of This Is It.

"This song only defines, once again, what the world already knows—that Michael is one of God's greatest gifts," said Jackson estate coexecutor (and longtime music exec) John McClain.

Clearly, the man has been taking promotional lessons from Papa Joe.

The single will also launch a new two-disc greatest-hits collection set for release this October. In addition to the track, the set will include one album of Jackson's greatest hits and another featuring unreleased versions of said hits. The second album will also feature a spoken-word poem from Jackson, "Planet Earth."

As for Brit-Brit, she's been keeping a relatively low profile lately, but expect that to change soon. Like, next week.

Next Tuesday, Spears is releasing "3," a brand-new single that will hopefully also help springboard her own greatest-hits album into the charts.

The Singles Collection, to be released Nov. 24, marks 10 years since the risqué pig-tailed schoolgirl wedged herself into our pop culture consciousness.

The album will be available in two editions, both standard and an ultimate fan box set. The bonus-packed latter will feature B-sides and remixes, additional artwork and a DVD of Britney's video career in chronological order. It also boasts 29 tracks compared to the standard set's 17.

Bank MD loots N97bn • Invests N12bn depositors’ funds in personal firm

Following the second round of banks’ audit exercise conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), officials of the apex bank found that a managing director (name withheld), whose shareholders have strong political influence in the current administration, allocated to himself share capital of N85 billion that is yet to be paid up.

Daily Sun source also revealed that the same MD allocated shares to a local airline to the tune of N18 billion as corporate investments. The airline, the source said, denied knowledge of the deal. The bank MD is also alleged to have invested N12 billion depositors’ funds in a supposed subsidiary of the bank.

The source said the company was found to be the MD’s private firm. The conclusion of the latest audit has already sparked fear in the financial sector. The CBN examiners were said to have concentrated on liquidity; loan verification such as loans to stockbrokers, petroleum products importers, performing and non performing loans; corporate governance issues; processes and resources spent on information technology.

The funding is contrary to CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido’s conclusion that the remaining banks were not as bad as the others.
According to him, he did not expect many surprises as the remaining 14 banks were not significantly different but latest development had proven him wrong.
It was gathered that the apex bank was yet to conduct what they described as forensic accounting investigation on any of the 24 banks in the country.

The managing director of at least one bank has reportedly visited the State Security Service (SSS), to deposit his passport. This is to prevent him from travelling abroad.
Bankers are of the view that two or three banks may be affected by the decision of Mallam Lamido not to allow family banks in the country anymore.
The CBN governor’s policy to end family owned banks, the bankers believed, may be partly responsible for the fate of Oceanic Bank and Intercontinental Bank, seen as being dominated by the personality of their managing directors.

Sanusi at a forum on Wednesday while briefing capital market operators warned that CBN would not allow banks to be run as a sole proprietorship but as institutions that would imbibe the tenets of good corporate governance, promising to treat shareholders of the affected banks fairly and also ensure that, henceforth, banks in the country were run as institutions rather than as sole proprietorships.

Sanusi also allayed fears of nationalizing the five troubled banks whose managing directors and executive directors were sacked following their gross misuse of shareholders’ funds and inability to meet up with other banking statutory obligations.

The governor said the results of the remaining banks would be made known in October 2009, but opined that their results would be better than those of the 10 banks examined earlier from which five were summarily sacked.
The CBN governor had on August 14 sacked the managing director of and executive directors of Afribank Plc, Finbank Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc. The examination was conducted by a joint team of CBN and NDIC officials.

According to the CBN audit the major findings on the five banks were excessive high-level non-performing loans, which led to poor corporate governance practices, lax credit administration processes and the absence or non-adherence to the bank’s credit risk management practices, leaving the percentage of non-performing loans from 19 per cent to 48 per cent. The five banks will, therefore, need to make additional provision of N539.09 billion.

The total loan portfolio of these five banks was N2, 801.92 billion. Margin loans amounted to N456.28 billion and exposure to oil and gas was N487.02 billion. Aggregate of non-performing loans were N1,143 billion representing 40.81 per cent. The five banks accounted for a disproportionate component of the total exposure to capital market and oil and gas, thus reflecting heavy concentration to high risk areas relative to other banks in the industry.

The five banks were either perennial net-takers of funds in the inter-bank market or enjoyed liquidity support from the CBN for long periods of time, a clear evidence of liquidity problem. In other words, these banks were unable to meet their maturing obligations as they fall due without resorting to the CBN or the inter-bank market.

Further checks revealed that the outstanding balance on the EDW of the five banks amounted to N127.85 billion by end July 2009, representing 89.81 per cent of the total industry exposure to the CBN on its discount window while their net guaranteed inter-bank takings stood at N253.30 billion as at August 2, 2009. Their liquidity ratios ranged from 17.65 per cent to 24 per cent as at May 31, 2009. The banking regulatory minimum is 25 per cent as spelt out by the apex bank.