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Business News of Friday, 24 August 2018

Source: adomonline.com

Market confidence in UMB, CAL, Fidelity banks high

Three indigenous banks have assured the public that they have put in place strong corporate governance structures, efficient operating mechanisms and robust capital plans that will make them continue to serve their customers better.

As a result, they have asked Ghanaians to have confidence in them as they inch closer to raising their respective minimum capitals to GH¢400 million to enable them to continue to provide efficient services to the public.

The banks, Fidelity Bank, CAL Bank and the Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), also assured their numerous depositors and Ghanaians that indigenous banks had the capacity to stand tall in the competitive banking industry, in spite of the recent turmoil that had hit the sector.

Sources at these banks told the Daily Graphic that the three lenders were among the privately owned indigenous banks that would be able to meet the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG’s) new capital demand before the December 2018 deadline.

Ways of recapitalising

The Daily Graphic is reliably informed that the three banks were well placed to recapitalise to the GH¢400 million within the time frame.


Information available to industry players also indicates that the UMB is in the process of securing some financial support internally while it is set to receive GH¢300 million from an internationally recognised private equity fund.

Fidelity Bank and CAL Bank, on the other hand, are likely to achieve the BoG’s capital requirement after the declaration of profit for 2018. The banks intend to recapitalise using their retained earnings.

That, therefore, will put the three banks among the most prominent privately held indigenous banks in the country.



Best performing private banks

The three banks are also the best performing privately owned indigenous banks in the country currently.

For instance, for the first half of 2018, Fidelity Bank more than doubled its profit after tax from GH¢38 million to GH¢86.9 million, while CAL posted a profit after tax of GH¢72 million, up from GH¢71 million in the corresponding period in 2017.

UMB also recorded a 2018 half-year profit of GH¢58 million.

Background

In September 2017, the BoG ordered all universal banks to raise their minimum capital from GH¢120 million to GH¢400 million by December 2018.

According to the regulator, the increase in the minimum requirement would ensure a stronger banking sector that would be able to accommodate the growing risks, levels of sophistication and exposure banks were currently facing.

Among the Ghanaian indigenous banks, state-owned GCB Bank has already recapitalised to GH¢500 million, while the National Investment Bank (NIB) and the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) are to be assisted by the state to comply with the regulator’s requirement.

The BoG also announced the creation of the Consolidated Bank Gh. Ltd to acquire the following indigenous banks: The Beige Bank, Construction Bank, Royal Bank, Sovereign Bank and uniBank, which were facing liquidity challenges.

Have confidence

Recently, a banking consultant, Nana Otuo Acheampong, appealed to the public to continue to patronise the services of the banks in spite of the collapse of seven local banks over the last 12 months.

He told the Daily Graphic in Accra that although seven local banks had collapsed due to various irregularities, the remaining 13 local banks, out of the total 30 banks in the country, were not solvent and capable of serving the banking needs of the public.

Consequently, he advised the public not to lose confidence in the banks but continue to transact business with them, with the assurance that their deposits would continue to be in safe hands.

As of July last year, 20 out of the 36 banks were majority Ghanaian-owned.

The number has reduced to 13 following the collapse of the UT and Capital banks in August 2017 and the Sovereign, uniBank, BEIGE, Royal and Construction banks this month.