Business News of Tue, 19 Jun 20181

Economist downplays negative effect of bank mergers on financial inclusion

Economist, Dr Lord Mensah has downplayed concerns that Ghana’s drive towards financial inclusion may be affected if banks merge with or acquire each other in a bid to meet the GH¢400 million minimum capital requirement by December 2018.

Speaking to JoyBusiness, Dr Mensah described this potential challenge as one that can be surmounted using technology or taking advantage of the digital age within the banking landscape.

He described banking today as one that has moved beyond the physical banking halls or what some call brick and mortar banking to one that leverages on digital technology to deliver services.

He said, “Banking has gone beyond just physical presence.”

Dr Mensah described the current Ghanaian banking landscape as one that is employing the use of digital technology to facilitate banking transactions.

He stated, “I would say that with the interface of telecommunication and all those you don’t necessarily have to be at a place to transact.”

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He again added that such use of technology had reduced the need to visit banking halls to undertake transactions when you can use your phone or other devices to transact.

He was reacting to findings in the second edition of the Ghana Business Development Review on the effects of bank branch closures on financial inclusion if banks in the country undergo a wave of mergers and acquisitions.

The review was put together by the University of Ghana Business School. It was launched in Accra by the Minister of Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal.

The Ghana Business Development Review

The report stated that an increase in the minimum capital requirements to GH¢400 Million is expected to lead to the consolidation of the banking sector as more mergers and acquisitions are projected in 2018. However, there are concerns that if these mergers and acquisitions lead to the closure of some bank branches, financial inclusion could be affected negatively.

The 18 chapter review, is a buildup on the first edition which chronicles a plethora of sectors in the Ghanaian business landscape from the hospitality & tourism, pharmaceutical business among others on their performance, contribution to the economy, challenges, policy recommendations as well as the outlook of the various sectors.

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