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Ecobank Ghana Limited - Sustained Story   
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In June 2012, the first ever merger of two banks was completed in Ghana. Ecobank Ghana, the 2nd largest bank and The Trust bank, the 15th largest bank at that time successfully merged their businesses to become the largest bank in Ghana.

As with all merger stories, the apprehension as to whether the enlarged entity will tend to be as profitable as the separate entities had been was quite apparent, with investors, stakeholders, analysts and the media including us, keeping an eagle eye on the bank’s operations over the last 2 years.

Two years on, Ecobank Ghana Limited has become the epitome of how a successful merger looks like. The bank is currently not only the biggest bank in the country, but also by far the most profitable per published results for the 3rd quarter 2014.

With a growth of 47%, the banks total assets towered over that of its peers at GHS5.9 billion at the end of the review period. It is remarkable that Ecobank Ghana’s commitment to supporting large and small businesses as well as individuals in the country continues to be strong. This is evidenced by the 50% growth in its loan book to GHS2.6 billion from the September 2013 to September 2014.

It is apparent that customers have rewarded this commitment by their continued loyalty to the bank which is shown in their deposit base of GHS4.1 billion; a growth of 47% year on year and the largest in the industry so far. With total shareholder funds of GHS669.8 Million, the bank continues to be the most capitalized bank and the bank of choice for both large and small ticket transactions.

On the Income Statement front, the Bank’s total income grew by 47% on the bank of strong growth in Net interest income of 43%; fees and commission income of 27% and an impressive 91% increase in trading income. Operating expenses increased 32% from the prior year to GHS253.7 Million. The focus in driving efficiencies in their businesses continues to reflect in improvements in cost-income ratio (CIR).

The CIR improved to 40.76% in the first nine months of the year compared with 45.4% in the prior year period and also an improvement on the second and first quarters.

Even with such a large loan book, the bank’s asset quality remains good, with an NPL ratio of 5.2% compared to an industry average of 12.1%

Loan Impairment charges declined by 38% to GHS35 million in the first nine months of the year. Profit before tax from continuing operations increased by 90% to GHS332.8 million reflecting revenue growth and efficiency improvements and making Ecobank Ghana, the most profitable in the banking industry. The Bank achieved a return on average equity (ROE) of 48% in the first nine months of 2014 compared with 36.8% in the prior year and a return on average assets of 5.7%.

The Bank is committed to ensuring that it continues to grow its business with the ultimate aim of returning maximum returns to its shareholders. In the words of the Chief Finance Officer Edward Nartey Botchway “the success attained by the Bank has been achieved due largely to the Bank’s dedicated workforce and its sustained increases in customer service”.

The future indeed looks bright for Ecobank Ghana.
Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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