The Bank of Ghana has assured customers of uniBank that their savings are safe, despite handing over management of the financial outfit to KPMG.
The Central Bank, as regulators, said the audit firm will manage uniBank for at least six months, because the bank’s “capital adequacy ratio (CAR) has fallen below 50% of the required minimum of 10% (i.e. below 5%).”
“Under section 108 of Act 930, the Official Administrator is authorized to exercise a variety of powers to rehabilitate and return the bank to regulatory compliance within a period of six months, at the end of which the bank will be returned to private ownership and management,” a statement from the BoG said.
“The appointment by the Bank of Ghana of the official administrator is aimed at saving
UniBank from imminent collapse. It will prevent potential losses to depositors and other creditors, and ensure that the financial condition of the bank does not create further risks for the entire financial system,” it added.
Announcing the takeover, the Governor of the BoG, Dr. Ernest Addison, served notice “nobody will lose money.”
“The bank will continue to run as usual, all depositors’ funds are safe. Nobody will lose money. We’ve proven that earlier and nobody will lose money in this exercise. All that the Bank has done is to put in a new team to manage the bank. We are trying to save the bank from imminent collapse. We are saving an indigenous Ghanaian-owned bank,” Dr. Addison stated.
Meanwhile, an economist Prof. John Gatsi believes the Bank of Ghana’s directive was “politically motivated.”
The development is coming on the heels of a recent botched agreement between the largest shareholders of adb, Belstar Capital, and uniBank.
Speaking on the latest directive from the Central, Prof. Gatsi who is also a Senior lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), said: “This is politically motivated because of the kind of things going on between the managers of uniBank Ghana Limited and the Minister of Finance.”
He added that: “I doubt if the bank can come to its feet after the six months period.”
Prof. Gatsi averred “the situation is not a good one”, especially when management of uniBank has not officially commented on it.
However, he noted that “most indigenous banks have been suffering and there’s the need to bring them up. It’s a matter of BoG ensuring that banks do not collapse unnecessarily.”
The Central Bank has given the assurance that uniBank will operate as usual and customers will not suffer any loss.
“KPMG as Official Administrator will assume control of the bank and all its branches and carry out the responsibilities of the shareholders, directors, and key management personnel of UniBank with effect from today. In line with its powers under Act 930, KPMG will ascertain the state of the bank’s assets and liabilities, and exercise a variety of powers under Act 930 to rehabilitate and return the bank to regulatory compliance and viability within a period of six months, at the end of which the bank will be returned to private ownership and management.
“During the period of official administration of UniBank, the bank will remain open for business under the management and control of KPMG overseen by the Bank of Ghana, and is not being closed and liquidated,” the statement added.