Ecobank Ghana says it has adopted measures to reduce the potential impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the quality of its loan book and the subsequent effect on its Non-Performing Loans.
Mr Daniel Sackey, the Managing Director of the Bank, said in this direction, the Bank had granted a six-month moratorium on loans to customers in all the vulnerable sectors, effective April 2020 to September 2020.
Speaking during a media interaction after the Bank held its virtual annual general meeting in Accra, Mr Sackey said the Bank was currently in bilateral talks with the affected customers to assess individual borrowers’ capacity to repay after the moratorium period.
“We do acknowledge that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is diverse and not uniform therefore our approach will be multi-faceted. Going forward we will continue to support our clients, as they resuscitate their businesses and engage them directly to determine those who may require further payment holidays or restructuring so we can support them appropriately,” he said.
The bank during the period under review earned a record total revenue of GH¢1.58 billion and profit before tax of GH¢642.4 million, marking a growth of 21 percent and 27 percent respectively over the prior-year figures.
Operating expenses were well controlled within inflationary levels with a resultant reduction in cost-to-income ratio from 51.5 percent in 2018 to 45.8 percent in 2019.
Mr Sackey said the remarkable performance is reflective of the Bank’s consistent strategy of building a diversified business model with a focus on growing revenue and managing costs and risks, even in the face of a highly competitive environment.
Ecobank also posted strong performance on all key balance sheet items, providing its shareholders with a return on equity of 25 percent.
The Bank, he said continued to be well capitalized with a total equity of GH¢1.78 billion, one of the highest in the industry and a capital adequacy ratio of 18.58 percent, well above the regulatory requirement of 13 percent.
Mr Sackey said given the Bank’s stellar performance, the Board proposed a dividend payout of 30 pesewas per share, which was unanimously approved by shareholders.
Addressing a shareholders’ meeting, Mr. Terence Darko, Board Chairman of Ecobank said the last two years were marked by significant changes in the Ghanaian banking sector, largely underscored by the Central Bank’s clean-up activities across the industry.
This he said had reduced the number of banks in Ghana from 34 to 23, and led to a stronger and more efficient banking system.
Touching on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Mr. Darko indicated that Ecobank was committed to building strong communities.