Profit before tax of banks increased to GH¢1.1 billion in the first two months of 2021, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana’s latest report has revealed.
This is compared to GH¢1.0 billion recorded the same period last year.
According to the report, operating income rose by 8.7%, lower than the corresponding growth of 23.6%, but was supported by cost control measures which resulted in operating expenses declining by 0.3%. This is in contrast to the 18.6% increase for the same period in 2020.
Loan loss provisions, however, grew sharply by 62.2%, significantly higher than the 6.5% recorded a year ago. This reflected continued elevated credit risks
Financial soundness indicators
Also, financial soundness indicators remained positive underpinned by robust solvency, liquidity, and profitability indicators.
The industry’s Capital Adequacy Ratio was 20.2% at end of February 2021, well above the regulatory minimum threshold.
Core liquid assets to short-term liabilities was 26.5% in February 2021 compared with 31.3% a year ago. Net interest income for the first two months grew by 10.9% to GH¢2.0 billion compared to 25.9% a year ago.
Net fees and commissions grew by 13.7% to GH¢435.4 million, compared with 18.4% growth recorded during same period last year, reflecting the observed dip in growth in loans and trade finance-related businesses.
In summary, the Bank of Ghana said the performance of the banking sector remained strong through end-February 2021, with robust growth in total assets, deposits and investments.
Total assets increased by 18.5% on a year-on-year basis to GH¢152.0 billion, reflecting strong growth in investments in government securities by 45.9% to GH¢67.9 billion.
Also, total deposits recorded a year-on-year growth of 25.1% to GH¢104.0 billion, reflecting strong liquidity flows emanating from the COVID-19 fiscal stimulus, payments to contractors, SDI depositors, and clients of SEC-licensed fund managers.
Overall, the impact of the pandemic on the banking industry’s performance according to the MPC seems moderate as banks remained liquid, profitable and well-capitalized.