We never made formal request to buy 5 troubled banks – Republic Bank debunks ex-Dep BoG Governor’s claims

Former Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Johnson Asiama

Republic Financial Holdings Limited and its subsidiary Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited have said at no time did they commit to buying any of the five troubled banks as claimed by former Deputy Governor of the central bank.

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The company says Dr Johnson Asiama’s claims that prior to the 2016 election, they were interested in acquiring then troubled UT and Capital banks was both inaccurate and misleading.

“Republic Bank is committed to upholding the laws of the country and the regulations implemented by Ghana’s regulatory authorities – the Bank of Ghana and the Securities and Exchange Commission – and should the opportunity arise for any acquisition or expansion in the future this will be done in conformity with such laws and regulations,” the financial institution said in a press release on Thursday.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) in August 2018, announced that it is creating the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited to take over five struggling banks in the country.

Government also made available GH¢450m cedis available for the Consolidated Bank as starting capital and named Daniel Addo as its CEO.

Prior to that UT Bank and Capital Bank had also been liquidated with GCB Banks absorbing all the liabilities and selected assets of the two collapsed banks

In an exclusive interview with Joy Business in August 2019, Dr Asiama said, “…two or three months before the elections, we had a visit by officials of Republic Bank PLC, I think Republic Financial Holdings or so, their President came from Trinidad; a big delegation; they came to do a presentation to us where they told us that they were very big in all other continents and they wanted to expand on the African continent. And they had decided to use Ghana as a hub and so their idea was to purchase about five banks in Ghana and add these banks to HFC which they had bought at the time.”

Sovereign Bank, Royal Bank, The Beige Bank, Construction Bank and Unibank were the five financial institutions had run into liquidity challenges.

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He added, “so when they do that, more or less it becomes like an organic growth; already they are so big, it is a hub and then they can now launch into Nigeria and into Sierra Leone, into the Gambia etc., and so… I told the Governor this is the solution we were waiting for and so banks like Capital and these other people it was in my mind that worse case; we just give them to Republic Bank.

“In fact, at that meeting, they told us they wanted to start with two banks, that is, UT and Capital Bank and then after that, they add other 3 and so they said they wanted us to talk to Capital because when they acquired HFC bank, there was a lot of reputational issues.”

But the Republic Financial Holdings Limited and its subsidiary Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited has now come out to deny such claims.

They explained that “Since acquiring a majority shareholding in HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited in 2015, now rebranded Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited, the Bank and its parent company, Republic Financial Holdings Limited have demonstrated their willingness to growing Ghana’s economy and assist in revolutionising its banking sector to benefit the people of Ghana as well as other stakeholders.”