From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi
The Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited, Alhassan Andani, has suggested that Ghanaian banks should consider a merger to operate as international banks.
He said an amalgamation of the local banks would make the banking industry strong and big locally.
“It is time banks come together and have a merger of banks to be strong and to be big locally,” he said at a meeting with journalists in Kumasi.
According to him, capital formation is most critical in the banking industry, hence, the need for Ghanaian banks to consider the merger to operate as international banks.
Mr. Andani, who doubles as the President of the Ghana Association of Bankers, referring to the South African banking industry, said the five major local banks, namely Standard Bank, Amalgamated Bank of South Africa (ABSA), FND, Ned Bank and Sasfin Bank, control 90 percent of the industry.
He said the Amalgamated Bank of South Africa, even though established as a local bank, has the pedigree of a global bank.
The Stanbic MD, who was not happy with attempts by some section of the Ghanaian population to discredit the banking industry as a result of the closure the Capital and UT banks, and subsequently, Unibank, said the banking industry is good when assets are safe.
He said the solution to collapsing banks could be found in unearthing bad practices that contribute to the collapse, and not attack the industry as a whole.
Mr. Andani noted that the Capital and UT banks did not control 5% of the total assets of the industry, but was quick to disclose that top 15 banks have 85% of assets of the industry.
He further explained that 85% of the assets of GH¢4 billion of Stanbic, which has a wholly Ghanaian staff, are safe.
According to him, the bank advanced loans to the tune of GH¢3.6 billion, and was fourth in loans advances to domestic enterprises.
He said the bank has GH¢2.3 billion in deposits, which, he said, is also absolutely safe, as the bank is regulated by the Bank of Ghana.
Explaining the bank’s strength, Mr. Andani said the bank has, since 2013, declared dividends once, and said it prefers to plough back profits into local industries to grow the businesses, resulting in the establishment of 39 branches in Ghana since 2006.
The Stanbic Bank boss indicated that with 122 employees in 2006, the bank now employs 1,600 plus staff, which explains that the bank has kept the profits and grown in order to create employment.
He said the step by the Bank of Ghana to increase of the minimum capital requirement of banks, from GHc120 million to GHc400 million, is to protect the banking industry and, therefore, protective.
The Stanbic Bank Managing Director also noted that efforts by the government to widen the tax net must be supported.
Mr. Andani, however, stressed the need for the government to shield the citizens from serious threats, but said it is wrong for the government to pay claims by DKM clients.