Banks in Ghana recorded after-taxes losses amounting to GH 6.6 billion in 2022, according to Dr. Ernest Addison, Govenor of the Bank of Ghana.
This was largely due to negative impact of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP). 23 banks operating in the country participated in the exercise.
Addressing the 112th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference in Accra on Monday, May 22, Dr. Addison said, “the 2022 audited financial statements of banks reflected the full impact of the DDEP and the challenging operating environment that prevailed in the year.”
Most banks reported significant losses on the back of the mark-to-market valuation losses on their respective holdings in Government of Ghana bonds following the implementation of the DDEP.
Other losses were due to higher impairments on loans and rising operating costs.
The industry posted before-tax losses of GH¢8.0 billion in 2022 compared with a profit of GH¢7.4 billion recorded in 2021.
After-tax loss was GH¢6.6 billion in 2022 relative to profit after-tax of GH¢4.8 billion in 2021.
The main profitability indicators, namely, return-on assets and return-on-equity all turned negative in 2022 because of the industry’s loss position.
The 2022 audited financial statements of banks also pointed to some impairments in capital levels, although most banks posted Capital Adequacy Ratios (CAR) above the 10 percent regulatory minimum at end-December 2022.
This was attributed to the effect of the roll-out of the temporary regulatory reliefs extended to the banks to cushion them against the impact of the DDEP as was done at the onset of the pandemic.
However, in the first four months of this year, prudential data show some turnaround in the banking sector’s performance following the conclusion of the DDEP, and following consensus reached among stakeholders on the treatment of losses arising from same.
Banks continue to rebalance their portfolios in response to the impact of the DDEP on their balance sheet shifting away from medium-to-long term investments to short term investments and increases in new loans.
In general, the banks returned to making profits in the first four months of 2023, broadly reflecting higher operating income.
Loan loss provisions also increased relative to a year ago, due to the pickup in credit growth and elevated credit risks.
These developments culminated in a 47.0 percent increase in profit-before-tax in April 2023 compared with 26.3 percent growth recorded during the same period a year ago.
Similarly, the industry’s net income or profit-after-tax increased to GH¢2.8 billion from GH¢1.9 billion, representing 45.8 percent increase in April 2023.
The industry’s return-on-assets increased to 5.5 percent from 4.7 percent, while return-on-equity rose to 36.3 percent from 22.3 percent.
Key financial soundness indicators remained strong on the back of the impact of the regulatory reliefs.
The industry’s Capital Adequacy Ratio, adjusted for the regulatory reliefs, was 14.8 percent in April 2023, higher than the revised prudential minimum of 10 percent, but lower than the 21.3 percent recorded in April 2022.
The decline in the ratio highlights the increase in risk-weighted assets of banks from the impact of exchange rate changes and some losses on mark-to-market investments.
The industry’s Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio deteriorated to 18.0 percent in April 2023 from 14.3 percent in April 2022, reflecting higher loan impairments and elevated credit risks.
The industry’s liquidity indicators have also improved following the
implementation of the revised Cash Reserve Requirement.
Performance of the banking sector broadly reflected the general macroeconomic operating environment as well as the impact of the DDEP as indicated in the 2022 audited financial statements.
However, prudential returns for the first four months of 2023 have shown signs of recovery in the profitability of banks and a gradual improvement in the solvency positions, supported by the regulatory reliefs issued to safeguard stability of the financial sector.