News of the Bank of Ghana’s decision to merge five indigenous banks has generated mixed reactions from the general public.
On Wednesday, the Bank of Ghana announced that The Royal Bank, Sovereign Bank, The Construction Bank and Beige Bank have been merged to form The Consolidated Bank of Ghana Limited.
According to the Central Bank, the five banks were merged in order to “ensure that the banking sector maintains a strong indigenous presence”.
Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Ernest Addison, has also explained that the newly established Consolidated Bank “will act as a bridge bank pursuant to section 127 (11) of Act 930, to assume some of the assets and liabilities of the five banks.”
The five banks were collapsed as a result of issues ranging from acquisition of licences through the use of non-existent capital and capital deficit.
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While many things have been said about the collapse and subsequent merger of these banks, it raises questions about the much heralded Ghana Banking Awards (GBA).
Why? The GBA has since its inception in 2002 rewarded the 'best performing banks' in the country.
Interestingly, some of the banks affected by this problem have been winning awards left, right, and centre and one wonders how these same banks with such huge problems were winning those awards.
Set up in 1997, Unibank, for instance, has been winning big at the GBA since the awards scheme started.
The bank has received awards in almost all the 16 categories the GBA has on offer.
The Royal Bank, on the other hand, has also chalked some successes at the GBA with 2015 probably being their best year.
The remaining three are relatively new banks and have not featured at the GBA but looking at how things are, it would not have been surprising to see any them sweeping awards that next edition of the awards.
So the question is, does the Ghana Banking Awards really reflect what is really happening in the banking sector? The obvious answer is a big 'NO'.
If banks which have been touted to be among the best per the awards could just collapse without any real economic crisis, then organisers should have a rethink of how they go about the awards.
For many ordinary citizens, the awards would have been an avenue to measure the best banks in the country and decide on where to bank and it may have woefully been deceived.
The deception could be compared to the Miss Ghana pageant which has literally been described by 2017 winner, Margaret Dery, as a sham.
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