Banks likely to give more loans if Ghana card policy takes effect – Bankers
The Ghana Association of Bankers, says it is confident banks will be willing to give out more loans after the Ghana Card becomes the only card accepted for all financial transactions. The Bank of Ghana has directed all licensed and regulated financial institutions under the central bank, to accept only the Ghana Card for transactions from July 1, 2022. Data from the bank of Ghana shows that growth in gross loans and advances remained subdued for most parts of 2021, reflecting sluggish credit demand and supply conditions and the increased appetite of banks for government securities due to the elevated credit risks due to the pandemic. Gross loans and advances recorded a year-on-year increase of 8.7 percent to GH¢48.9 billion as at end-August 2021, lower than the 15.7 percent growth recorded in the previous year. Following a similar trend, net loans and advances (gross loans adjusted for provisions and interest in suspense) also recorded a modest growth of 8.5 percent to GH¢42.3 billion, compared with a 14.5 percent growth in August 2020. In terms of sector classification, the services sector held the largest share of 30.2 percent in total credit as at August 2021. This was followed by the commerce and finance sector and the manufacturing sectors with respective shares of 20.8 percent and 11.1 percent In an interview with Citi Business News, CEO of the Association, John Awuah noted that apart from improving the quantum and quantity of loans given out, the Ghana card policy should help reduce the level of non-performing loans in the financial ecosystem. “Particularly for personal loans, this policy should help in tracing and tracking defaulters. In the past, people take loans and then jump from one job to the next job and end up not paying for loans taken. The new Ghana card system has your SSNIT number integrated, the card is linked to your tax ID, your passport and also pins you to a location.” “Now access to loans should also improve given that now we have better ways of knowing the persons we are dealing with. We believe that if the card is properly embedded into our sanctions structure, it should help speed up loan approvals and ultimately help reduce the lending rates of banks,” he noted.