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5 Ghanaian banks still in breach of minimum capital requirement, Fitch says

Five Ghanaian banks are still in breach of the Bank of Ghana's 400 million cedis minimum paid-up capital requirement after failing to secure capital from private pension funds, according to Fitch Ratings.

The rating agency did not name the banks but said it believes the government could encourage mergers between the lenders or inject capital into the lenders, in a bid to preserve a reasonable presence by locally owned banks to foreign-owned ones.

Fitch said, however, that the banking sector is better positioned to withstand losses following the purge of weakest banks driven by the increase in capital requirements, which it said has created a more stable banking system comprising fewer but stronger lenders with better franchises and loss absorption capacity.

The increased capital requirements led to increased merger activity in 2018 and removed several undercapitalized, illiquid and poorly governed banks, the agency said. Fitch said further consolidation could happen in the sector, given that the number of banks relative to population remains high compared to other African countries.

Of the country's 10 largest banks by assets, Access Bank (Ghana) PLC, Fidelity Bank Ghana Ltd. and United Bank for Africa (Ghana) Ltd. failed to meet the regulator's capital requirements as of June 30, 2018, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data published October 2018.

As of Aug. 8, US$1 was equivalent to 5.39 Ghanaian cedis.