Months after BUSINESS GUIDE broke the news that US top bank CITI Bank has set up an office in Ghana to start banking business mostly in investment, another top US bank is set to establish its presence in the country.
The second biggest bank in the US and one of the top 10 in the world, JP Morgan, which is into private, commercial, securities among other banking operations, is considering setting up an operation in Ghana, specifically in the area of investment banking. The bank is expected to provide credit to smaller banks in the country.
Reports indicate that the bank, which the former deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Van Lare Dorsoo, worked for some time ago, would establish a permanent office in Accra by the first quarter of 2012.
J P Morgan, with its headquarters in New York, is worth over $2.135 trillion in assets alone and it is currently operating in African countries such as Nigeria and South Africa.
Marc Hussey, Managing Director of Sub-Saharan Africa, said the bank had decided to operate in Ghana because of its impressive economic growth over the years.
“We have plans to open an office in Ghana by the end of this year or early next year, depending on the logistics in securing an office space. We hope to become more relevant to business and government in Ghana. We were attracted by the growth prospects in the country and I think the GDP growth is accelerating very strongly,” he stated.
“We like the business dynamics in the country, we think we can do business with existing domestic banks and to satisfy the international clients in the firm doing business in Ghana,” Mr Hussey added.
Industry watchers have observed that the opportunity of reaping from underwriting huge oil financing mostly influenced the bank to set up an office in Ghana to roll out its business subsequently.
It is however unclear whether the management of JP Morgan has applied to the banking supervision of the Bank of Ghana, regulator of the banking and financial industry, for a provisional license.
Obtaining an Approval-In-Principle will enable the bank to acquire a corporate office, recruit staff and meet the mandatory minimum capital requirement among others.
JP Morgan’s presence will add up to 28 the number of banks operating in the country. However, the acquisition of The Trust Bank by Ecobank will reduce the number of banks to 27. Presently, there are 27 banks in Ghana, with seven of them originating from Nigeria while 12 of them are indigenous banks.
It would further intensify the already tough market where scramble for customers continue unabated, and also intensify efforts of mergers and acquisitions by banks.
With operations in more than 60 countries and capabilities ranging from origination to risk management, JP Morgan said on its website that it was uniquely positioned to develop comprehensive solutions to its clients.
By Charles Nixon Yeboah