Ghana’s banking and financial sector is a vital component of its economy, comprising 32 private banks. The central monetary authority of Ghana is the Bank of Ghana, which was established in 1957. As the overseer of financial institutions and banks in Ghana, the Bank of Ghana plays a crucial role in monitoring monetary policies and providing advice to the government on their implementation.
However, the banking sector in Ghana has faced challenges in recent times. Moody’s Investors Service reiterated a negative outlook for banks in Ghana at the beginning of 2021. The country’s creditworthiness has been negatively impacted by its heavy reliance on foreign financial flows, a large debt load, and underwhelming revenue, all of which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top banks in Ghana, their history, services, and financial performance.
GCB Bank Limited
GCB Bank Limited, formerly known as Ghana Commercial Bank, is one of the prominent banks in Ghana. Established in 1953 as the Bank of the Gold Coast, GCB Bank provides a wide range of financial services and products to individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, parastatal organizations, and large corporations.
With its headquarters in Accra, GCB Bank operates 180 branches and 11 agencies across the country. It employs over 2,400 people and has been a key player in Ghana’s banking industry.
- Net income: GHS 445.4 million (2020)
- Total assets: GHS 16.39 billion (March 2021)
Zenith Bank of Ghana
Zenith Bank of Ghana is a division of Zenith Bank Plc, a renowned global financial services provider based in Nigeria. Since its establishment in 2005, Zenith Bank Ghana has been offering top-notch banking services to individuals and businesses throughout the nation.
The bank operates 34 commercial locations, including branches, agencies, and a network of POS terminals and ATMs from its headquarters in Accra. It is known for its real-time internet banking and mobile banking services.
- Net income: GHS 172.55 million (2017)
- Total assets: GHS 4.67 billion (2017)
Ecobank Ghana (EBG)
Ecobank Ghana, a member of the Ecobank Group operating in 36 African countries, was the first bank in Ghana to be granted a universal bank license by the central bank. It commenced operations in 1989 after Ecobank Transnational acquired The Trust Bank.
The bank offers a wide range of financial services, including options for the Hajj, payment and transfer services, cards and loans, bancassurance, e-products, microfinance, and investment opportunities. With 67 branches and over 1,700 employees, Ecobank Ghana has established itself as a significant player in the Ghanaian banking industry.
- Net income: GHS 549.9 million (2020)
- Total assets: GHS 15.97 billion (March 2021)
Absa Bank Ghana Limited
Absa Bank Ghana Limited, formerly known as Barclays Bank Ghana, has been serving consumers in Ghana since its foundation in 1917. The bank offers a range of personal banking products and services, as well as corporate and treasury solutions to enterprises and corporate clients.
With a network of over 70 service locations across the country, including branches, ATMs, agencies, Premier Suites, and Prestige Centers, Absa Bank Ghana has established itself as a trusted banking institution in Ghana.
- Net income: GHS 471.1 million (2020)
- Total assets: GHS 13.23 billion (March 2021)
Agricultural Development Bank
The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) was established in 1965 by an act of parliament to cater to the financial needs of Ghana’s agricultural industry. After obtaining full commercial banking authority, the bank changed its name from Agricultural Credit and Co-operative Bank in 1970.
As a government-owned development and commercial bank, ADB operates a nationwide network of 64 service locations, including branches, agency offices, and Farm Loan Offices. It is dedicated to supporting and financing Ghana’s agricultural sector.
- Net income: GHS 65.4 million (2020)
- Total assets: GHS 5.81 billion (March 2021)
Societe Generale Ghana Ltd
Societe Generale Ghana Ltd, formerly known as Societe Generale – Social Security Bank (SG-SSB), began operations in 1977. Originally incorporated as Security Guarantee Trust Limited in 1975, the bank became part of the Societe Generale banking group after Societe Generale acquired a controlling stake in 2004.
Headquartered in Accra, Societe Generale Ghana operates 42 branches across the country. It offers a wide range of banking services to individuals and businesses, contributing to the growth of Ghana’s economy.
- Net income: GHS 128.5 million (2019)
- Total assets: GHS 5.11 billion (September 2020)
Fidelity Bank of Ghana
Fidelity Bank of Ghana, formerly known as Fidelity Discount House, obtained its commercial banking license in 2006. The bank offers a wide range of retail, business, and personal banking products and services. Through its subsidiary, the Financial Inclusion Directorate, Fidelity Bank serves the unbanked and underbanked population in Ghana and has emerged as one of the fastest-growing indigenous banks in the country.
With its headquarters in Accra, Fidelity Bank operates more than 80 branches and 112 ATMs across Ghana.
- Revenue: GHS 522.97 million (2017)
- Net income: GHS 90.43 million (2017)
- Total assets: GHS 5.38 billion (2017)
Universal Merchant Bank Ghana Ltd
Universal Merchant Bank Ghana Ltd, established in 1972, is one of the largest merchant banks in Ghana. After obtaining its universal banking license in 2005, the bank expanded its services to include retail banking. It operates through various segments, including Personal, Private, Business, Corporate, and Internet Banking, with specialized sections for Treasury, Trade, and Credit.
With 31 branches, two UMB Centers for Businesses, and one UMB PPP Incubator Center, Universal Merchant Bank Ghana has developed a strong presence in the Ghanaian banking industry.
- Net income: GHS 23.01 million (2020)
- Total assets: GHS 3.26 billion (2020)
National Investment Bank
National Investment Bank (NIB) is Ghana’s universal bank, providing both development and commercial banking services. The bank plays a significant role in financing Ghana’s manufacturing, services, construction, and agricultural processing industries.
Founded by the Ghanaian government in 1963, NIB aims to foster and accelerate the industrialization of the local economy. With its headquarters in Accra, NIB operates 49 branches and three agencies nationwide.
- Revenue: GHS 348.83 million (2015)
- Net income: GHS 120.11 million (2015)
- Total assets: GHS 2.65 billion (2015)
Ghana’s banking sector is a critical component of its economy, providing financial services and products to individuals, businesses, and industries.
The top banks in Ghana, including GCB Bank, Zenith Bank Ghana, Ecobank Ghana, Absa Bank Ghana, Agricultural Development Bank, Societe Generale Ghana, Fidelity Bank Ghana, Universal Merchant Bank Ghana, and National Investment Bank, have played instrumental roles in the growth and development of the country.
These banks offer a wide range of services, including personal banking, business banking, investment options, loans, and digital banking solutions.
Despite the challenges faced by the banking sector in recent times, these banks continue to contribute significantly to Ghana’s economic progress.
As Ghana’s financial landscape evolves, these banks are expected to adapt and innovate to meet the changing needs of their customers and contribute to the overall development of the country.