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Ghana settles banking cleanup as most lenders meet demands

*Governor Ernest Addison of the Bank of Ghana.

*West African nation has 23 ‘well-capitalized’ lenders
*Exercise cost state at least 12 billion cedis: central bank

05 January 2019, Accra — Ghana completed a cleanup of its banking industry in which lenders were required to raise their capital and improve governance, with two-thirds of them meeting the new requirements, Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison said.

The West African nation has “23 well-capitalized” banks, compared with 34 previously, which raised their holdings to at least 400 million cedis ($81.1 million), Addison told reporters Friday in the capital, Accra.

Reforms announced in September 2017 triggered a series of capital-raising efforts by banks ranging from initial public offerings to rights offers and mergers, while the regulator revoked the licenses of at least seven lenders.

Ghana issued a total of about 12 billion cedis in bonds to save some banks, Addison said. “It’s been a very expensive cleanup,” he said.

Key Insights:

  • The Bank of Ghana withdrew the licenses of Heritage Bank and Premium Bank, with the government issuing a 1.4 billion-cedi bond to Consolidated Bank Ghana Ltd. to take over the assets and liabilities of the failed lenders. CBG was formed in August through the merger of the assets of five failed lenders.
  • Smaller lenders Omni Bank Ltd. and Sahel-Sahara Bank will merge, while a unit of South Africa’s FirstRand Ltd. will take over GHL Bank Ltd.
  • The license GN Bank Ltd. was downgraded after failing to meet the new capital requirement. GN will continue to operate as a savings and loan company.
  • Pension funds injected fresh capital into five local banks through a special purpose company called Ghana Amalgamated Trust Ltd.
  • State-owned National Investment Bank Ltd. and Agricultural Development Bank of Ghana Ltd. will also benefit from contributions from Ghana Amalgamated Trust.
  • The local unit of Bank of Baroda voluntarily wound up its operations and transferred its deposits and selected loan assets to Standard Bank Group Ltd.

*Ekow Dontoh – Bloomberg

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