Banking landscape poised for strong local presence – Finance Minister

Government is exploring ways of getting a formidable indigenous bank to compete favourably with other multinational banks in the country, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has confirmed.

His comments follow a recent Bank of Ghana (BoG) announcement that it has placed uniBank, an indigenous bank, under administration with KPMG as the official administrator for a period of six months to turn around its fortunes.

According to Mr. Ofori-Atta, the recent developments have sparked the calls for a strong, vibrant local bank in the banking landscape.

“I think the BoG will continue to show discipline and prudence in making sure the banking system is strengthened, but I think for us as a government there is also a need to ensure we have a strong indigenous banking sector; and so we are thinking through ways to make sure that the predominant presence in the banking landscape has a very strong Ghanaian representation,” he told B&FT in an interview at Parliament.

He also commended the BoG for the timely manner in which it handled things, indicating that it stepped in at the right time to make sure depositors’ money is safe – which he reckons is fundamental to strengthening any economy.

Simon Dornoo, who formerly headed the GCB Bank, has been appointed to lead the team of experts from accounting and auditing firm KPMG to revive and stabilise uniBank Ghana Limited.

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BoG acts to sanitise industry

The BoG in August 2017 announced that it had approved a Purchase and Assumption transaction that allowed all deposits and selected assets of two universal banks – UT Bank Ltd. and Capital Bank Ltd. – to be transferred to GCB Bank Ltd.

This action became necessary due to severe impairment of the two banks’ capital.

Additionally, the Finance Ministry commended the BoG for its new spirit of cleaning the banking system and new spirit of doing the right thing, as well as applauding the courage and professionalism it has shown so far in the face of present banking issues.

By December this year, all commercial banks are expected to meet the new BoG minimum capital requirement of GH₵400m, and failure to meet it could see some banks going under the water, some analysts have predicted.

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