Accra traders complain about high interest rates charged by banks

Traders at the Kaneshie Market in Accra are complaining about the high interest rates charged by commercial banks in the country.

The women expressed their worries when spoke to a number of the traders last week.

Mrs. Lydia Thompson, a beef seller who has been in the business for the past 20 years said she started her business with an initial capital of GH¢1.30p.

“I started with a carton of beef,” she said. She raised this amount from her personal savings she told

Even though she used to take loans from the non-bank financial company, Pro-Credit, but not any more.

“I used to get loans from Pro-Credit. I would normally take a loan of GH¢500 but now the bank has changed its policy and would only give loans of up GH¢1000 with collateral, but because I don’t have collateral I am unable to access loans from them any more,” she said.

According to Mrs. Thompson business has been slow these days and so she has added sachet water to the beef business so she could make some additional income.

Mrs.Eunice Tabiri sells corn-dough. She told that she has been in the business for the past 15 years. According to her, she started the business with one sack of maize which she used to buy at GH¢6 but which now costs GH¢75.

She said even though her business has not been doing well like when she started, because her profit margin has narrowed, she is unable to go to the banks for financial assistance.

“I am not sure I would go to a bank for a loan, because the interest rates are just too high, and I fear I might not be able to pay back,” she said.

“The banks,” she said, “might even seize your property if you default in payment of loans. I can’t stand that,” she added.

Onion seller Mrs. Grace Duodu said she began trading with one sack of onion which cost GHp70 15 years ago, but now that sells at GH¢200.

She said her brother gave her the start-up capital to begin her business.

“But later in my trade, I have accessed some loan from the Women’s World Banking. But the interest rate was too high, I was unable to repay and my business nearly collapsed,” she said.

“As a result,” she said, “I do not go to the banks for help.”

Madam Yaa Mirekua, who sells yams, said she started the business in 1983 with a capital of GH¢6, but said these days one would require at least GH¢1000 to be able to start her kind of business.

Mad. Mirekua said, because the cost of yam has gone up in recent times, she has been compelled to access loans from the bank to sustain the business but the interest rates are a problem to her.

“I used to access loans from Sinapi but now I have applied for a loan from a finance company called Advans,” she added.

She said even though business is not that good, she is optimistic that during Christmas the business would pick up.

The Bank of Ghana’s policy rate is 13.5%. That is the rate at which it borrows to commercial banks.

However a recently released  Annual Percentage Rates (APR) and the Average Interest (AI) paid on deposits as at October 31, 2010 by the central bank gives a picture of what commercial banks pay their clients as interests and what they charge on loans.

The Trust Bank pays the lowest interest on deposits at 5.52%. The Bank of Baroda offers 11.33% and the Stanbic Bank has the highest interest rates for depositors at 15.17%. UT Bank charges the highest on borrowing. Borrowers pay   35.90% on loans, while the National Investment Bank charges  35% on loans.

Click here for a copy of the document from the Bank of Ghana detailing the rates.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi & Ekow Quandzie

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