BoG clears path for First Atlantic, Energy Commercial to merge

The central bank has given the green light for First Atlantic and Energy Commercial banks to move on swiftly with their merger talks.

The two banks began the process two weeks ago after Energy Commercial Bank failed in its bid to raise GH¢340million via the stock market; and with the Bank of Ghana issuing a ‘No Objection’ to the talks, this means the two institutions can now proceed to conclude talks before the December 31 deadline.

“This no objection approval granted by the regulator will help the two banks to quicken up the process in meeting the new minimum capital requirement before the deadline of December 31, 2018,” the source added.

Analysts believe the deal can easily be pushed through, since they both undertake similar businesses with branches across the country.

First Atlantic Bank, earlier this year, secured a significant capital injection from Advanced Finance and Investment Group (AFIG) – a Mauritius-based investment bank with strategic focus on growth equity of profitable and growing companies in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly West and Central Africa.

Energy Bank Ghana Limited was incorporated in 2009 as a private limited liability company. It presently operates 12 branches in Ghana – five in Accra, three in Kumasi, and the rest in Tema, Takoradi and Tamale. First Atlantic Bank also started operations in 2011, and has 30 branches in Accra, Tema, Takoradi, Techiman, Tamale and Kumasi.

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With less than two weeks to the deadline of December 31, activities have reached a frenzy as the central bank has stressed that it will not be moving or changing the deadline to accommodate banks that are yet to meet it.

At its recent Monetary Policy Committee announcement, Governor of the central bank Dr. Ernest Addison said only 22 banks had met the capital requirement and the BoG is still waiting for the rest to comply or face its wrath – which includes forced mergers or downgrading of licences to finance houses or savings and loans companies.

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