General News of Wednesday, 21 March 2018
The taken-over Unibank had been on liquidity life support for over a year, a Credit and Financial consultant has said.
Emmanuel Akrong, who is the author of Asset Quality Performance of Banks in Ghana, the book that predicted the collapse of at least eight banks, told Joy News the Bank of Ghana had for the past two years kept Unibank, afloat until Tuesday when it announced its takeover.
The Author said the collapse of three indigenous banks is just a tip of the iceberg.
“The Unibank situation was evident for the past one year,” he said, adding “Unibank was borrowing to finance its loans.”
Capital Bank and UT Bank had all gone under in a shocking takeover announced by the BoG late last year.
The state-owned bank, Ghana Commercial Bank was announced as the new owners of UT and Capital Banks, a measure the BoG believed will save the banking industry from collapse.
Even before a decision will be taken on what to do with the debts accrued on account of the insolvency of the two banks, the BoG has stepped in with yet another takeover.
This time it is KPMG which is taking over the administration of Unibank at least for the next six months after which the bank will revert to a private owner.
“UniBank’s problems are part of the legacy issues in the financial sector attributed to weak economic growth and poor corporate governance and risk management practices.
“It will be recalled that UniBank was one of nine banks identified after the asset quality review exercise undertaken in 2016, to be significantly undercapitalized with a CAR of 4.75%,” a statement from the Bank of Ghana said shortly after the official announcement.
The BoG also accused Unibank of concealing its liabilities on the balance sheets.
Interestingly, Unibank, had only weeks ago announced its takeover of majority shares in ADB, an announcement the BoG quickly came to repudiate.
The KMPG takeover has been greeted with mixed reaction. Independent economists, including Prof Peter Quartey think it was a good action taken by the Bank of Ghana.
But the Minority spokesperson on Finance Casiel Ato Forson accused the Bank of Ghana and government of collapsing Unibank.
He suspects the decision may have been informed by an IMF intervention.
But Emmanuel Akrong who predicted the collapse of Unibank together with eight other banks said the takeover was not surprising at all.
According to him Unibank at a point did not have enough money to pay its depositors if they had come to withdraw at the same time.
He said despite the precarious financial situation of the bank he was surprised about their access quality ratio and figures published by the bank.
He said some of the figures churned out by the bank and the situation on the ground did not add up.
He was therefore not surprised at the eventual takeover by the Bank of Ghana.
He called for better corporate governance and risk management processes at the banks.