Africa-Press – Ghana. Ghana’s biggest bank, Ecobank Ghana has declared an unprecedented pre-tax loss of GH¢27.21 million for 2022, a complete reversal of its GH¢893.73 million pre-tax profit in 2021.
The bank said this was due to net impairment charges of GHS1.7 billion arising from the debt restructuring by the government.
Board Chairman of the bank, Samuel Ashitey Adjei disclosed this to shareholders at the bank’s Annual General Meeting.
He however noted that net interest income grew year-on-year by 63% to ¢2.5 billion, while its balance sheet remain strong with 44.4% growth to GHS25.9 billion.
The pan-African bank recorded total revenues of 2.97 billion in 2022, 40.3% higher than the previous year, while innovative products drove customer deposits up 54.4% to GHS20.4 billion in 2022.
In spite of the 2022 pre-tax losses, outgoing Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, Dan Sackey remained confident about this year, indicating that the bank will recover and return to profitability by the end of 2023.
“Looking ahead, I am very optimistic about the future of the bank. I remain confident in our capacity to recover in 2023”.
“The bank will prioritise the rebuilding of its capital base and liquidity buffers. We aim to continue with the delivery of superior return on equity for our valued shareholders”, he said.
Meanwhile, the bank failed to declare any dividends for the year under review, saying it elected not to in the interest of sustaining the business in line with the central bank’s expectations.
Indeed, in recent time, quite a number of Ecobank customers have been targeted by fraudsters and some of them have actually fallen victim to digital fraud in which significant amounts were moved from customers’ accounts.
Mr. Sackey therefore used the occasion to entreat customers of the bank to be wary of fraudsters, saying that bank will continue to develop systems to safeguard customers’ data, but each customer also has a duty to stay alert.
“We would like to use this opportunity to educate our clients on the need to keep personal information safe. It is important for customers to keep their PIN and account details private at all times to prevent fraudsters from having access to these details”, he added.
Some of the recent cases, though, the fraud started as a SIM swap at MTN in particular, and ended as digital money transfers from customers’ Ecobank accounts.
Mr. Dan Sackey said so far no Ecobank staff has been found culpable in any of those incidents but the telcos whose customers’ SIM cards were swapped in the process as fully cooperating to resolve those specific issues.
“We also expect to make much progress on this, as the Telcos have all complied with the directives of the NCA by deactivating over 9 million unregistered SIMs,” he said.