First Rand awaits BoG clearance to start operations this year

South Africa’s biggest bank in terms of profits, First Rand, has confirmed its entry into Ghana in the coming months.

First Rand however says it is awaiting Bank of Ghana’s approval before it starts operations.

First Rand disclosed this in a respond to an email sent to the bank’s headquarters in South Africa by Joy Business.

According to the head of corporate communications at First National Bank Virginia Magapatona, “There are still some regulatory requirements that are being met and we are well positioned to start business soon after the final formalities have been satisfied.”

She also adds that, they will be offering full banking services when they start operations “We have applied for a full commercial bank licence and will be addressing all banking segments. We shall be bringing the full width of our product suite into Ghana. As a Greenfield business start-up, these products will be phased into the market as and when appropriate.”

First Rand last year secured provisional license from the Bank of Ghana to begin operations in the Ghana.

First Rand has already secured their office premises for their operations which is located around the ridge area in Accra. Joy Business has also gathered that the Bank already has some crack   personnel in place who are expected to kick start the bank’s operations.

But many are still wondering if First Rand would be able to penetrate the market and make some good returns looking at number of banks operating in the country. Banking analysts however believe there is still  space for First Rand , looking at the returns new entrants like  Royal Bank  are already making  in the country.

First Rand is currently financing a lot of huge infrastructure projects, office structures by real estate companies and power projects by GRIDCO, so even if they should concentrate on these areas, then they could be making some good returns when they start their operations.

According to the Chief Executive of First Rand, Sizwe Nzasana the bank will be doing everything as a commercial bank when they start operations in Ghana. First Rand is setting aside some billions of dollars for their entry into Ghana and other West African countries.

First Rand in 2013 failed in their attempt to acquire Merchant Bank now UMB. But the bank has told Joy Business the plan now is to come in and grow the firm from the scratch.  

First Rand’s entry will increase the number of banks in the country to 29.

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