Ecobank Ghana Limited has assured that no employee of The Trust Bank (TTB) will be laid-off following its acquisition of the bank.
Mr. Sam Adjei, MD of Ecobank who gave the assurance at a media interaction, explained that the decision not to lay-off any staff of TTB is purely a business one.
ï¿½Before the acquisition, we took a business decision not to lay-off any staff of TTB, and decided that in a situation where there is duplicity of duties we shall create different roles ï¿½ which will mean that everybody will play a part in the enlarged business.
ï¿½We decided every single member of staff, from the top to the bottom, will be maintained. We shall ensure that we put people in the right positions.ï¿½
He explained that there is a human-resource committee comprising staff of the two banks, working together to address concerns of every member of staff. ï¿½We have received fantastic cooperation from the two institutions. We are extremely pleased with the level of support we have received from the TTB staff.ï¿½
On possible closure of TTBï¿½s branches, he said: ï¿½We may re-locate branches, but not close them.ï¿½ With regard to the integration process, he said ï¿½we have been able to link the systems of the two banks, such that clients of both banks can transact business with any of them.ï¿½
In December last year, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of Ecobank Ghana, acquired a 100% share in TTB in a deal estimated at about US$135million. The merger promised to make the enlarged business Ghanaï¿½s biggest bank in terms of assets and profitability.
When the news of the acquisition broke out, concerns were raised over possible lay-offs of the 470 permanent staff of TTB by the new owners. Ecobank Ghana already boasts a staff-strength of 985.
Mr. Adjei said by June this year, the integration process will be completed, and TTB will have been liquidated so that the enlarged business will properly take shape.
Explaining the rationale for the acquisition, Mr. Adjei said: ï¿½In all the 33 countries where Ecobank operates, our aim is to remain among the top-three banks in all the measurements and in all the ratios -- so after we had achieved that in Ghana after 15 years of operations, we then decided to focus on becoming the first, both in assets and in profitability.
ï¿½We realised to achieve that, we needed to grow organically by extending our reach with more branches ï¿½ or acquiring a bank that could provide the necessary synergies. We therefore decided to acquire a bank, and TTB became the natural choice because of its special positioning in the market.
ï¿½We were very strong in corporate and retail banking, but we were not strong in the SMEs and the local corporate segment of the market. It became obvious to us that TTB would be the best to fit into that gap because it is performing strongly in the SMEs and the local corporate segment.ï¿½
Ecobank Ghana for the past five years has achieved a cumulative average growth rate of 31 percent in its profit before tax, while its total assets have been growing by 29 percent ï¿½ with customer loans and deposits growing by 25 and 27 percent respectively.
Instructively, by the end of the third quarter of last year, Ecobank had total assets of GHï¿½2.2billion, emerging as the second-biggest bank after Ghana Commercial Bank. It also posted a profit before tax of GHï¿½79million, becoming the second-most profitable bank after Standard Chartered Bank Ghana.
In terms of synergies, he said the acquisition will potentially position Ecobank to become the biggest in terms of assets and the most profitable bank in the country. He said: ï¿½We shall have synergies in the value chain. We shall see a massive deployment of loans. Our loan to deposit ratio will increase dramatically.ï¿½
Before the acquisition, interest income contributed 58 percent, while non-interest income provided 42 percent of Ecobankï¿½s net income. However, Mr. Adjei noted that the ideal situation should have been 50:50.
The combined capital of the two banks will now total US$ 225million; hitherto Ecobank had US$160million while TTB had US$65million. The enlarged business will now have the highest single obligor limit in the industry, which allows for increased lending.
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