TTB, Ecobank merger committee begins receiving memoranda

Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur - Bank of Ghana Governor

A three-member committee set up by the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, to look into the merger of The Trust Bank (TTB) with Ecobank and make recommendations had begun receiving memoranda from interested stakeholders.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic, Governor Amissah-Arthur said the establishment of the committee had been necessitated by the widespread opposition to the merger by some interested stakeholders.

“As a regulator, we are committed to ensuring that any merger does not limit competition, but inures to the national economy and the banking system,” he said.

So far, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, which is offloading its 6.11 per cent interest in The Trust Bank, has submitted a road map on the merger to the committee.

Concerns over potential job losses, branch closure and the lack of credit to the private sector especially small and medium-scale enterprises have been cited by some pressure groups as reasons for their opposition to the merger deal.

But the Governor assured the public that the Bank of Ghana would take a final decision on the proposed merger deal based on the recommendations of the committee.

“I will cancel the whole transaction if I find the whole process wrong or when I am not convinced that it will inure to the economy of Ghana,” Mr Amissah-Arthur said.

The committee, which is made up of a retired senior banker, a legal practitioner and a financial expert in mergers and acquisition, was inaugurated in a low-key ceremony, began sitting  last week at Cedi House in Accra with little support from those opposing the deal.

There has been widespread protests against the deal. Two pro-government groups, one called BRIDGE and the other, the Coalition for the Protection of Individual Liberties and Constitutional Rights (COPCOR), have called on the government to intervene and block the proposed sale.

The Progressive Road Contractors Association (PROCA) joined the fray, claiming that the sale of TTB to Ecobank would collapse the road construction industry. The group pointed  out that traditionally only TTB, the National Investment Bank and the former Amalgamated Bank had supported local road contractors.  Since Amalbank was acquired by Bank of Africa, this support has dwindled and PROCA’s members fear that the same would happen if TTB is swallowed up by Ecobank.

But the Governor insists that  intervention will be based on the findings and recommendations of the committee and so entreats all concerned to submit a memorandum.

Source: Daily Graphic

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