Banks vie for Accra’s skyline…with multimillion dollar office complexes

No bank wants to be left behind; it is as if the height of the building is a statement in itself, and so the competition for the tallest head office complex in Accra is becoming keener and keener by the minute.

Whilst some have long been operating from ultra-modern head office complexes, several other banks, both local and foreign, are at various stages of completing their own high-rise buildings in Accra.

The multi-storey structures by the banks are gradually adding to a growing list of high rise buildings that are reshaping the capitals skyline.

With a minimum of ten storeys high, the new structures that are in various forms and shapes are just a sight to behold.

Analysts see the move, especially by the foreign banks, as a sign of confidence in the economy by a very vibrant financial sector.

Despite the sluggishness in the economy in the last few years, which has affected the balance sheet of the banks, there is growing optimism in the sector that the corner is being turned for good and regular growth is bouncing back.

The ultra-modern head office complexes, strategically located in areas like Ridge, Airport City, Abelenkpe and Tesano, are therefore seen as platforms that the banks will use in serving their growing clientele base.

Ecobank, CAL Bank, Zenith Bank, EXIM Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank, are at various stages of completing their multi-storey head office buildings, while Societe Generale and Stanbic Bank, a couple of years ago, completed their head offices and are operating from them.

Local giant, Fidelity Bank, after its acquisition of ProCredit Savings and Loans, has taken over the latters seven-storey property at Tesana, and has turned it into a head office annex.

Other banks, including Sahel Sahara Bank, OmniBank and Fidelity Bank, have made clear, of their intentions to construct their own head offices in a couple of years to conveniently serve their growing customers.

Industry data profile

The country’s banking and the financial services sector, in general, has been growing at an exponential rate, with the number of banks now pegged at 35.

The latest Bank of Ghana Banking Sector Report, published in May, 2017, noted that the balance sheet size of the banking sector continued to expand as at end-April 2017.

Total assets recorded an annual growth of 31.1percent to GH¢84.49billion, compared to GH¢64.44billion, a 16.7percent year-on-year growth from April 2016.

Of the total, foreign assets recorded the higher growth compared with domestic assets, although domestic assets constituted the greater proportion of banks total assets (91.3percent share as at April 2017).

Banks foreign assets increased to GH¢7.39billion in April 2017, by 48.4 percent year-on-year, from GH¢4.98 billion in April 2016.

Credit continued to pick up in April 2017 shown by the 14.5percent year-on-year growth to GH¢30.99billion in net loans and advances from GH¢27.07billion in April 2016.

Gross advances also recorded a year-on-year growth to 16.7percent in April 2017, from 11.9 percent in April 2016.

Banks investment portfolio, bills and securities, also continued to increase, recording a 57.3percent year on year growth to GH¢24.80billion, from GH¢15.77billion over the same comparative periods.

In terms of the banking industrys funding structure, deposits, which is the main source of funding for the industry, stood at GH¢52.83billion, a 28.4percent year-on-year growth as at April 2017 compared with GH¢41.14 billion.

Borrowing, the second major source of funding for the banking industry, grew by 47percent to GH¢14.56billion in April 2017 from GH¢9.9billion in April 2016.

The pickup in the banks borrowing largely came from the sharp increase in banks foreign borrowing after contracting in the corresponding period last year.

Growth in short term borrowing also picked up significantly during the review period.

The minimum paid-up capital of the banking industry grew by 29.5percent to GH¢4.14billion in April 2017 from GH¢3.20billion in April 2016.

Shareholders funds also grew in year-on-year terms by 21.2percent to GH¢11.56billion in April 2017, from GH¢9.54billion in April 2016, pointing to an increase in the industry’s reserves over the period under review.