Out of the 36 commercial banks that operated in the country, only 23 remain in business as of today, following a recapitalization exercise embarked on by the Bank of Ghana.
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) on September 11, 2017 issued the Minimum Capital by which all universal banks were required to increase their minimum paid-up capital to GH¢400 million by 31st December 2018.
This directive was part of regulatory measures aimed at strengthening and making the banking sector more resilient to shocks as well as to help reposition the banks to better support the growing needs of the Ghanaian economy.
Following the recapitalisation exercise that ended at the close of business on 31st December 2018, there are now twenty-three (23) universal banks operating in Ghana.
Out of the 23 banks, 16 have met the new minimum paid-up capital requirement of GH¢400 million mainly through capitalisation of income surplus and a fresh capital injection.
The Bank of Ghana has also approved three applications for mergers. The three resulting banks out of these mergers have all met the new minimum capital requirement.
Again, some private pension funds in Ghana have injected fresh equity capital in five indigenous banks through a special purpose holding company named Ghana Amalgamated Trust Limited (GAT).
As part of the capitalization process, the central bank expects that shareholders of banks will exercise control over these institutions not for the benefit of themselves and related and connected parties, but primarily in the interest of depositors, creditors, employees, and other stakeholders.
Furthermore, the process will ensure risk management will be integrated in the strategic focus of the governance and management of the banks where compliance with regulatory requirements and ethical standards are embedded in overall risk management.
And ultimately, the capitalization will ensure that banks in the country will have the capacity to undertake big ticket transactions to help in the development of the nation.