Business News of Thursday, 3 January 2019
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has given final approval for the merger of an indigenous lender, Omni Bank, with Sahel Sahara Bank into one entity to be known as Omni-BSIC Bank Ghana Limited.
This is after five months of rigorous work between officers of the central bank and those from the two banks.
Graphic Online is reliably informed that the approval was granted this week, paving the way for proper integration of their operations, human resources and interfacing of their banking software to begin.
Graphic Online further understands that the new bank has three shareholders – the BSIC Group (which owns Sahel Sahara Bank), the Jospong Group (owners of Omni Bank) and the Ghana Amalgamated Trust (Limited), the special purpose vehicle that is investing in a solvent and well governed local banks.
Neither of the two banks nor the central bank responded to requests by Graphic Online for comments.
However, Graphic Online was briefed that the central bank’s approval, which is the final hurdle in the merger process, is subject to the satisfaction of some key conditions.
Although the two banks are technically one entity now, they still require time to complete the interfacing of their systems to allow customers to transact business from either of their branches.
The transaction is being overseen by Bora Capital Advisors, an indigenous financial advisory and investment company.
It is expected that the successful consummation of the deal will create a larger bank with almost 1,000 employees on its payroll.
It could also lead to a medium-size bank with 46 branches, servicing customers in seven regions nationwide.
Its total assets could also be in excess of GH¢1.3 billion, gauging from their respective balance sheets as of 2017.
The central bank’s approval now makes Omnic-BSIC Bank the first outcome of a consolidation exercise that was triggered by the steep increase in the minimum paid-up capital for banks.
The BoG directive more than tripled the minimum capital of banks from GH¢120 million to GH¢400 million and gave the banks 16 months to comply or have their licences withdrawn or at best downgraded to savings and loans companies.
The exercise ended on December 31, 2018, with the central bank now about to update the public on the status of banks.