Ecobank to sustain support to agric
Ecobank Ghana plans to sustain its financing of the agricultural sector using the same criteria for advancing credit to the corporate clients.
The bank since last year has stepped up its support to the agricultural sector with a credit facility of GH¢152 million in 2014 to help the sector unlock its potential.
The pan-African bank has so far extended more than GH¢22 million in the last four months to smallholder farmers who are into the cultivation of soya, maize and rice and others in the value chain.
At the bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra, the Managing Director of the bank, Mr Samuel Ashitey Adjei, said the finance house would use the same rigorous process in extending its credit facilities to all the sectors.
The bank, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, declared a dividend of 0.79 pesewas per share.
The Board chairman, Mr Van Lare Dosoo, said the dividend represented an 83.7 per cent increase over the 43 pesewas declared in 2013.
This means that Ecobank Ghana’s share price has increased by 35.4 per cent over the last 12 months, from GH¢5.61 as at January 1 2014 to GH¢7.6 as at December 31, 2014.
This compares favourably to the growth in the Ghana stock exchange index of 5.4 per cent for the same period.
According to him, the bank delivered a growth of 45 per cent on total income to close at GH¢857.7 million in 2014 compared to GH¢589.6 million in 2013.
“Profit before tax after impairment charges of GH¢32 million at GH¢447 million was a 67 per cent increase from 2013 and is reflective of our consistent strategy which boasts of a business model with strong focus on growing revenue and managing costs in the face of a highly competitive business environment,” he said.
He said the total income distribution revealed that 65 per cent net interest income and 35 per cent non-interest income and net interest income grew by 43 per cent to GH¢555.7 million on the back of a loan book growth of 27 per cent.
“Non-funded income continues to be a key income source for our businesses and in 2014, our net fee and commission income saw a growth of 34 per cent with trading income showing an impressive increase of 74 per cent,” he said.
He noted that a strong recovery efforts coupled with a successful clean-up of the bank’s post-merger inherited loan loss provisions resulted in a 42 per cent decline in impairment charges from 2013.
“Consequently, our non-performing loans have seen significant decline to 1.78 per cent from 5.9 per cent in 2013,” he added.
He said the bank needed to take risks but balanced with return by ensuring that the bank had the right strategies and robust risk management systems in place to monitor and minimise these risks.
“Despite an inflation of 17 per cent and capital investments in our business, we efficiently managed our expenses to end 2014 with a cost income ratio of 44.2 per cent compared to 45.3 per cent 2013,” he said.
“Our return on average equity and return on asset ratios currently stand at 47 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively,” he said.
According to him, despite a moderate estimated economic growth of 4.2 per cent the bank’s balance sheet saw significant growth of 23 per cent to GH¢5.7 billion in 2014 compared to about GH¢4.7 billion recorded in 2013.
“Customer deposit, however, grew from 3.2 billion in 2013, to GH¢4.2 billion in 2014,” he added.
He said the total customer loans at year end of 2014 stood at GH¢2.7 billion, up 27 per cent from 2013. — GB