Ghana’s banks to report higher profit after cleanup

Banks in Ghana will probably report higher earnings in 2019 after the country’s regulator embarked on a cleanup of the industry and economic growth accelerates, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Ghana’s central bank is seeking to bolster lenders by revoking the licenses of poorly governed companies and implementing stricter guidelines on capital buffers. Banks have until the end of this year to triple their paid-up capital levels, a move that has sparked a series of capital-raising efforts ranging from initial public offerings and rights issues and at least one merger.
“Profitability will stabilize this year because banks were focused on raising capital and the regulator was talking to banks to work on asset-quality issues,” Peter Mushangwe, a banking analyst at Moody’s, said by phone. “From next year we expect loan growth to rebound as the economy grows. Fee incomes should do well when confidence returns in the industry after capitalization is over.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration is betting the recapitalization drive will create stronger banks better able to support one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest expanding economies.
Lending growth could accelerate to 15 percent next year, Mushangwe said. Bank loans increased on average 3.4 percent in the first eight months of the year, according to data compiled by the central bank. The economy, which became a quarter bigger last year after a recalculation by the statistics agency, grew by 8.1 percent in 2017.
The industry’s average return on assets will probably remain at about 3.3 percent this year before improving to as high as 4 percent from next year, the Moody’s analyst said.
Non-performing loans are likely to improve in the wake of tougher directives implemented by the regulator, stronger economic growth and the adoption of technology by the lenders, he said. Moody’s expects some lenders to also willingly write-off some NPLs, Mushangwe said.

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