Business News of 2014-02-05

Stanbic poised to create more loans

STANBIC Bank Ghana says it is poised to deepen its consumer and corporate banking activities in the country, having used the last six years to expand its reach across the country.

Consequently, Stanbic Bank, a member of the Standard Bank Group of South Africa, expects to work closely with its corporate customers with the view to granting more loans while encouraging consumer clients to step out for various personal loans such as car, education, mortgage and other personal loans banking.

The Managing Director of the bank, Mr Alhassan Andani, said the bank had spent the last few years to build branches, augment its human resource and strengthen its interface with customers through cutting-edge technology and processes, which had made the bank ready to deepen its offering to the public.

SME Lending

Mr Andani said the bank, like many other universal banks in the country, had loanable funds and would deepen lending to small and medium scale enterprise sector.

However, enterprises must have basic good governance structures and also the bank was ready to work closely with those it identified in need of it for them to comply.

Agriculture

“We have a focused approach to agriculture and this year, we’d like to double our portfolio on agriculture,” Mr Andani said.

Last year, the bank dedicated about GH¢56 million into financing various agricultural activities.

Mr Andani maintained that the bank would like to be part of the government’s efforts to revive the poultry industry, as well as other agricultural initiatives.

The 2014 budget presented to Parliament in November outlined plans to revive the ailing poultry industry, which still holds the potential to create jobs, offer market to grains/poultry meal producers and improve food security.

In 2013, Stanbic Bank Ghana channelled financing into large scale soya production in the northern part of the country, maize production and also supported cashew nut processing.

The bank is also one of the financiers of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with $25 million credit component across the AGRA operational countries. A couple of years ago, Stanbic Ghana signed a $3 million credit agreement with the Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA) to channel medium-term financing into agric and agribusiness.

Outlook

Stanbic Ghana believes that since it has built a critical mass of depositors, it is now time to also offer them value-added services to meet their needs.

In the bank’s estimation, the challenges in the economy present silver lining opportunities for businesses to take advantage of and Stanbic was ready to support such bankable projects.

On the larger economy, the bank believes that once the effects of the recent increases in petroleum prices and utilities permeate the economy, banks will be in a position to revise their interest rates over which Mr Andani expressed the belief that it could either stay the same or ease moderately.

In a research report, African Markets Revealed, Standard Bank also predicts that the cedi can shed up to 15 per cent by the close of the year. When this happens, a dollar will exchange for GH¢2.7 by December 2014.

The cedi's depreciation is weighing on the current account position which is also in deficit of 14.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Standard Bank forecasts that the current account position will continue to reduce, though at a slower pace of 12.8 per cent of GDP, than it did last fiscal year.

Source: graphic.com
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