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Harsh economic environment impacts banks profitability
John Awuah — CEO, Ghana Association of Bankers

Harsh economic environment impacts banks profitability

The difficult economic environment has negatively impacted the profitability in the banking sector which recorded a decline last year.

The unfortunate phenomenon was driven by the mark-to-market losses on investments, higher impairments on loans, and rising operating costs.

For instance, profit-after-tax was GH¢3.9 billion at the end of December 2022, representing 18.9 per cent contraction year-on-year, as against 12.3 per cent annual growth recorded in 2021.

Net interest income grew by 23.0 per cent to GH¢15.8 billion, higher than the growth of 14.5 per cent in 2021 according to the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana report released in Accra on January 30.

Net fees and commissions also went up by 27.4 per cent to GH¢3.7 billion, from the growth of 24.8 per cent recorded in 2021.

Accordingly, operating income increased by 30.9 per cent, compared with 14.6 per cent recorded a year earlier.

The strong outturn in operating income was however moderated by increased operating expenses and provisioning during the year.

Operating expenses of banks were heavily impacted as it rose sharply by 32.2 per cent in December 2022, compared with 14.2 per cent growth in 2021.

Provisions also increased sharply by 184.0 per cent in December 2022 relative to a contraction of 4.7 per cent a year earlier, due to the strong uptick in credit growth, elevated credit risks, and impairments on investments.

As a result, profit before tax declined by 13.5 per cent to GH¢6.4 billion in December 2022, compared with an annual growth of 22.1 per cent a year earlier.

New loans and advances in 2022 increased to GH¢53.7 billion, reflecting an annual growth of 47.5 per cent, as against the growth of 6.8 per cent in 2021.

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