The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has called for the establishment of banks with the necessary international connections to leverage on international capital to provide the needed funding for oil and gas activities.
Dr Henry Wampah, Governor of the Central Bank, who made the call at the launch of GN Bank yesterday in Accra, said there were no big banks that could ensure lumpy oil and infrastructure financing on their own without some regulatory intervention.
‘This does not bode well for the kind of rapid growth and economic transformation expected of a lower middle-income economy such as ours. While we concede that the operating environment has been challenging in recent times, this should not stop us from thinking globally and acting locally.’
The Central Bank Governor stated that in the wake of the financial tsunamis and hurricanes, ‘we must seek to grow our banks so that they will be responsive to our needs and be able to withstand the turbulence and vulnerabilities in the country’s banking landscape.’
He stated also that his outfit was in the process of finalizing a new Banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDI) Bill to address key weaknesses in the regulatory framework, as well as build a safety net for small savers through the introduction of a deposit insurance scheme.
The aforementioned legislation, which is expected to bolster the supervisory framework and build confidence in Ghana’s banking industry, would soon be laid before Parliament in due course for further debate before passage into law.
Commending the board and management of GN Bank Limited, a savings and loans company formerly called First National Bank, Dr Wampah said Ghana’s formal banking system had tend to ignore the low-end of the market which it perceived as risky and not viable, adding that that has prevented banks from making inroads into that segment of the market.
Patrick Anomel, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GN Bank, in a remark, said from May 2006 to end of 2008, the company was able to grow its branch network to 13.
Currently, it has 103 locations and offices across the country with staff strength of 2,130.
He said the bank was able to achieve the feat through the employment of point of sales devices and varied alternative delivery channels.
Charles Coffie, Chairman of GN Bank, expressed gratitude to the Bank of Ghana for providing a universal banking licence that helped First National to metamorphose into fully-fledged bank.
By Samuel Boadi
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