The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revealed that 37 percent of licensed Micro Finance Institutions that entered 2018 are distressed or have collapsed.
This has contributed to the GHȼ740.5 million which is owed to an estimated 705,396 depositors in distressed or folded up Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) among others.
The BoG governor in a statement warned that the problems in the financial sector are not restricted to just banking, following the insolvency of uniBank and the 2017 collapse of UT Bank and Capital Bank.
According to the BoG, the distress in this sub-sector has been characterized by “severely impaired capital; inability to meet regulatory capital adequacy requirement; generally low asset quality; and liquidity crises.”
“These have culminated in threats to depositors’ funds thus eroding public confidence and undermining efforts to promote financial inclusion,” the statement added.
Using figures to highlight the precarious situation in the financial sector, the BoG said of the total number of 566 licensed Micro Finance Institutions in 2018, 211 are active but distressed or have folded up.
Also, out of the total number of 141 rural and community banks, 37 are active but distressed or folded up.
“In total, it is estimated that 272 out of the 707 institutions in the sub-sector, representing 38.5% are at risk. This indicates that approximately GHȼ740.5 million is owed to an estimated 705,396 depositors of the distressed or folded up MFIs and RCBs. In terms of significance, the deposits under distress form 8.81% and 52.49% of industry total deposits of RCBs and MFIs respectively.”
Sanitising Microfinance sub-sector
Earlier in March, the BoG said it was to outline new reforms to sanitize Ghana’s microfinance industry.
The reforms are expected to among other things provide a comprehensive plan by the central bank to improve activities in the microfinance industry.
It also comes on the back of reports of customers losing their investments to some microfinance institutions when their operations have been suspended over inefficiencies.
In a publication, the BoG said there were 319 microfinance institutions.
A further breakdown showed that there were 40 money lending institutions, six Financial NGOs as well as two hundred and seventy-three (273) microfinance institutions.
The central bank has said it will not issue any license this year for microfinance institutions.