Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mrs Elsie Awadzi has expressed optimism that many banks will meet the minimum capital requirement of ¢400 million by December this year.
She said apart from some banks announcing that they either have met, or about meeting the requirement, the Central Bank was convinced, on the basis of available evidence, that the amount would be realised before the deadline given by the regulator.
Mrs Awadzi said banks which are unable to meet the target should merge, striking an uncompromising note and probably signalling to local banks that they will not be treated differently.
Some of the local banks have appealed to President Nana Akufo-Addo intervene and keep the Central Bank at bay as far as the enforcement of the capital requirement is concerned.
They want the regulator to stagger the implementation of the new requirement up to 2022 when they believe they would have been in a better stead to meet the stated capital.
But speaking at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting Tuesday, Mrs Awadzi gave indication the BoG has not shifted from its position that all banks must meet the requirement by the deadline of 31st December 2018.
She said the option of merger is available and the banks are free, even encouraged to explore that.
According to her, experiences elsewhere have shown that mergers work and have created strong, stable and robust financial systems.
Contributing to the discussion, the Head, Corporate & Investment Banking at Stanbic Bank Ghana, Mr. Kwamina Asomaning, said the new capital requirement is good for the banking industry.
He said even though for emotional reasons, directors and shareholders of banks want to remain as they are, there is a raft of financial services that banks – if they lose their banking licenses for failing to meet the capital requirements – can divert into.
There is nothing wrong with banks, taking say, microfinance licenses to provide other services in the financial sector, he argued.
Mr Asomaning also advocated a change in behaviour by banks in order to remain viable.
Too many lapses, he said, led to the crises that hit the banking industry and led to the collapse of two local banks – UT and Capital – and a third, Unibank, being taken over by an administrator appointed by the Bank of Ghana.