AT ITS 24th Annual General Meeting, held in Accra on Tuesday, March 30, 2004, the Social Security Bank (SSB), a leading retail bank in Ghana, whose 51 per cent issued capital was acquired last year by the Societe-Generale Group, has been re-christened 'SG-SSB'.
Mr Gerald Lacaze, the company's new Board Chairman, who chaired the meeting, made the announcement, amidst thunderous cheers from the numerous shareholders.
Presenting the operational results of the company in a review, the managing director, Mr Pierre Andre Taulet, noted that the bank made a profit, before tax of ¢2.5 billion (2 per cent) from the 2002 position of ¢117.0 billion. This was due to increases in operating expenses and charge for bad and doubtful debts. Profit after tax, however, showed a 23 per cent increase to ¢87.9 billion from the 2002 position of ¢71.4 billion. Shareholders' Funds increased by ¢117.1 billion (26) per cent) from ¢259.2 billion in 2002 to ¢326.4 billion.
In spite of the fall in interest rates, income from investments increased by 70 per cent from ¢94.6 billion in 2002, to ¢160.8 billion in 2003, due to an increase in the bank's operations. Total Assets grew by 22 per cent from the 2002 position of ¢1,712.6 billion, to ¢2,089.8 billion in 2003.
This was largely influenced by increases in investments which increased by ¢151.5 billion, i.e., from ¢456.4 billion in 2002 to ¢607.9 billion in 2003. Loans and Advances also increased from ¢577.8 billion to ¢746.3 billion in 2003. During the year under review, a lot of effort was put in deposit mobilisation, resulting in t he increase in deposits from ¢1,021.6 billion in 2002 to ¢1,263.2 billion in 2003, an increase of 24 per cent. This increase was mainly in the area of demand and savings deposits which grew by 32 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.
In his review of the bank's operations, Mr Taulet stated that adequate provisions were made for bad and doubtful debts, as well as other potential losses to ensure the future financial strength of the bank.
As a result, the charge for Bad and Doubtful Debts increased from ¢37.1 billion in 2002 to ¢55.6 billion, an increase of 50 per cent.
On new products and services, the MD mentioned that the company's management is overwhelmed by the response of its clientele to Sikatext, which was launched in 2003.
He hinted that 15 Automated Teller Machines have, so far, been installed, and would soon be operationalised to help ease the congestion in SG-SSB's banking halls, adding that, the Bank of Ghana (BoG), has given approval to SG-SSB to open a new branch at the Premier Tower Building in the Ministries area, Accra.
“The organisation's share price was very bullish in 2003, and was adjudged the second best performing stock. The bank started the year at ¢3,966 per share and closed at ¢21,000 per share, up by 429.5 per cent”, the chairman observed in his closing remarks, adding, “the Board is recommending a dividend of ¢700 per share, which represents 46 per cent increase over the dividend paid last year.
The ¢700 dividend will be payable on April 30, 2004, to shareholders on the company's register, after close of business on March 22, 2004. Professionalism, team spirit and Innovation are key goals in the company's new mission statement.