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No need to panic over cedi depreciation — Barclays Ghana MD

BY: Charles Benoni Okine
Managing Director of Barclays Ghana, Ms Abena Osei-Poku
Managing Director of Barclays Ghana, Ms Abena Osei-Poku

Barclays Bank Ghana, has expressed confidence in the local currency saying, there is no need for the public and the investor community to panic about the depreciation of the Ghana cedi against some of the major foreign currencies, particularly the United States dollar in the system.

According to the bank, the present depreciation of the local currency against the dollar for instance was a result of some blips and not a situation that warrants panic and anxiety.

The Managing Director of the bank, Ms Abena Osei-Poku, gave the assurance in an interview last Thursday with a select number of media personnel in Accra.

She said the successful implementation of prudent economic policies that had now seen Ghana exiting from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme, the raising of the $3-billion Eurobond at a lower coupon rate, and the positive Fitch rating of Ghana should be enough to demonstrate that, the economy is on track to impact the strength of the Ghana cedi.

“In the last couple of weeks, the Bank of Ghana for instance, released a large chunk of dollars to players in the banking industry to meet our requirements.

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That was unprecedented and we feel that should the speculations stop, the Ghana cedi will stabilise the way we want it”, she said.

Financials

On the financials of the bank for the year 2018, she said Barclays achieved an increase in customer loans and advances by about 35 per cent and an increase in customer liabilities, demonstrating growth “in our underlying business with our clients and customers”.

For instance, according to the financials of the bank as published in the media, loans and advances to customers went up from GH¢2,593,012,000 in 2017 to GH¢3,204,859,000 in the year under review.
The phenomenon led to a net interest income rise from GH¢650,724,000 in 2018 from the 2017 figure of GH¢531,429,000. This represents a positive variance of 22 per cent.

The banks’ operating costs increased marginally to 14 per cent in 2018.

The cost to income ratio increased to 38.4 per cent from 36 per cent in 2017 primarily as a result of costs related to the bank’s separation from Barclays Plc.

Ms Osei-Poku said “after the injection of internally generated funds to meet Bank of Ghana’s new capital requirement, we achieved an impressive return on equity of 29 per cent, making us one of the best in the Ghanaian banking industry for the third year running”.

On the bank’s profit before tax, the published financials indicated a marginal rise from GH¢550,256,000 in 2017 to GH¢554,447,000 in 2018.

According to the Barclays Ghana MD, “these achievements in 2018 confirmed the bank’s resilience and accelerated progress towards becoming an aspirational and preferred partner for its customers, employees, suppliers, the government and communities within which the bank works.

She also noted that the positive results has provided the bank a firm foundation to transition seamlessly from Barclays to Absa, grow the business and cement a place as an established player in Ghana with a global reach.