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23 Ghanaian banks meet new minimum capital requirement, central bank says

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23 Ghanaian banks meet new minimum capital requirement, central bank says

Ghana's central bank said Jan. 4 that 23 lenders met the country's minimum capital requirement of 400 million cedi by 2018-end.

The Bank of Ghana said 16 banks, including Zenith Bank (Ghana) Ltd., Ecobank Ghana Ltd., GCB Bank Ltd. and Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd., had met the threshold without having to enter into a merger, while three new banks were formed through such transactions. Several private pension funds in the country also injected capital into five lenders through Ghana Amalgamated Trust Ltd., a special purpose holding company formed by the finance ministry.

Among those that benefited from Ghana Amalgamated Trust were Agricultural Development Bank Ltd., National Investment Bank Ltd., Universal Merchant Bank Ltd., Prudential Bank Ltd. — and the merged entity of OmniBank Ghana Ltd. and Banque Sahélo-Saharienne Pour L'Investissement et Le Commerce (Ghana) Ltd. or Bank Sahel Sahara Ghana.

Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison noted that the cleanup has been "very expensive," as the government issued up to 12 billion cedis in bonds to rescue some banks, Bloomberg News reported.

The regulator has revoked the licenses of Premium Bank Ltd. and Heritage Bank Ltd., effective Jan. 4. Premium Bank's capital adequacy ratio reached negative 125.26% as of Nov. 30, 2018, while Heritage Bank failed to meet the new capital requirement. Some of the assets and liabilities of the lenders have been transferred to Consolidated Bank Ghana, which has received a 1.40 billion cedi bond from the state to cover the gap between the value of the good assets and liabilities.

The regulator established Consolidated Bank in 2018 to absorb selected assets and liabilities of troubled lenders, including five lenders that had their licences voided in August 2018.

GN Bank Ltd.The Bank of Ghana said it has approved a request from India's Bank of Baroda for the voluntary winding-up of Bank of Baroda (Ghana) Ltd., the deposits and selected loan assets of which will be assumed by Stanbic Bank Ghana.

GN Bank Ltd. also failed to meet the threshold by Dec. 31, 2018, which resulted in the downgrade of its license to that of a savings and loans company.

As of Jan. 4, US$1 was equivalent to 4.83 Ghanaian cedis.