Shareholders of the GCB Bank Limited have voted to transfer GH¢400 million from its income surplus to stated capital in order to meet the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) requirement for commercial banks.
The transfer will enable the GCB Bank to meet ahead of time, the BoG’s requirement for all commercial banks in the country to increase their minimum stated capital from the current GH¢120 million to GH¢400 million by 31st December, 2018.
The transfer will bring the GCB Bank’s total stated capital to GH¢500 million, which is a GH¢100 million above the minimum requirement.
The transfer was approved at the Bank’s 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Accra on Friday.
Mr Jude Kofi Arthur, Chairman of the Board of GCB Bank, said the Bank had sufficient resources to meet the deadline ahead of schedule.
He noted that the Board and Management of the Bank would hold further deliberations to decide whether or not the Bank will issue bonus shares to its shareholders with the transfer.
The Bank, following the purchase and assumption of UT Bank Limited and Capital Bank Limited in the 2017 financial year, posted a decline in the earnings, with profit before tax dropping by 29 percent from GH¢467 million in 2016 to GH¢332 million in 2017.
It however made some gains in its total deposits and assets as well as forex trading income and commissions and fees.
Mr Arthur said the Bank, in light of increasing competition, particularly from the Mobile Money sector, will be investing in a digitalisation drive in order to enhance its strengths.
He explained that the business logic in the banking sector was changing at a ‘relentless pace’ and combined with new customer behaviour, was impacting competitive landscapes, cost levels and required competencies.
‘It is our view that in the long-term all these will lead to automated systems on digital platforms, backed by artificial intelligence. These systems may incorporate sophisticated bio-metric-identification and state of the art executional systems,’ he stated.
Mr Socrates Afram, Deputy Managing Director Finance of GCB, said the Bank will also diversify and build up its income from non-funded sources in light of the decline in interest rates of government Treasury Bills, which was the Bank’s main investment portfolio.
He said the Bank will expand the base of its transactions and increase its customer base in order to increase its incomes. It will also expand its trading in bonds and forex and introduce new products to increase fees and commissions.
The Bank, he noted, was also at the tail end of setting up its investment banking department to provide advisory services to government and other stakeholders, to reduce reliance on funded income.